There’s been a lot of talk about the next-generation BMW 1 Series moving to front-wheel drive, but we have yet to see the current model in its facelifted guise out in the open. We’ve already seen camouflaged versions of both the 1 Series hatch and the M135i, but those weren’t too telling. The exterior modifications are not much of a mystery, but there’s a brand-new piece to the 1 Series puzzle that will require some extra patience as we await the official details.

We’re talking about the 1 Series Sedan, which won’t arrive as part of the upcoming facelift, but as the very first 1 Series to ride on the company’s UKL platform and feature front-wheel drive. While such a configuration will ruin the 1 Series for some BMW enthusiasts, it will enable the sedan to compete against the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Audi A3 Sedan, two vehicles offered with front-wheel drive as standard. Read on to find out what we know so far about the 1 Series Sedan.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 1 Series Sedan

Spy Shots

Spy Shots: 2016 BMW 1 Series Sedan Begins Testing Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW 1 Series Sedan Begins Testing Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW 1 Series Sedan Begins Testing Exterior Spyshots
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There’s way too much camouflage between our eyes and the car’s metal for us to make out the details, but a few minor touches are visible. The first thing that catches the eye are the headlamps. Although obscured by swirly wrap, they look different than those seen on the facelifted 1 Series hatch and appear to be production units, not just prototype lamps. The sedan also comes with a twin-tailpipe configuration and a large, panoramic sunroof. Every panel hidden under camo should look similar to the facelifted 1 Series, but feature some styling cues from the 2 Series as well. Frankly, we expect the upcoming 1 Series sedan to look like a shrunken 3 Series.

Under the hood, BMW will install both the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder and 2.0-liter, four-pot engines. Different outputs will be available, with power ranging from around 140 ponies to about 300 horses at the top of the lineup. It’s not yet official, but a beefed-up version carrying an "M" badge is also likely. In the latter, the Germans might drop a 3.0-liter six-banger that’s good for nearly 400 horsepower.

Rumored to break cover in 2016, the 1 Series Sedan will be followed by its three-door and five-door hatchback siblings. The next-generation 2 Series could also take the FWD route, a major blow to one of the last Bimmers to mirror the company’s true heritage.

Why it matters

If you were still hoping BMW will change its mind about moving the 1 Series onto the front-wheel-drive UKL platform, then it’s about time you realize it’s a fact. Also, if you were planning on getting a 1 Series anytime soon, it’s about time you do it if you fancy rear-wheel-drive hatchbacks.

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