The second generation of BMW’s smallest model (for now), the 1 Series hatchback, has just been revealed.The second generation of the popular premium hatchback retains its rear-wheel drive configuration and is slightly bigger but is said to be sportier and more fuel-efficient than before. While the shoe-like design remains in place, the new 1 Series shows off styling that is similar to that of the X1 crossover and, more recently, the all-new 5 Series sedan and 6 Series coupe and convertible models with its shapelier light clusters and a more upright kidney grille. BIGGER... BUT BETTER?It’s bigger too, having grown by 85mm from the previous generation. The wheelbase is 30mm longer, while the front and rear track are wider, too, by 51 and 72mm, respectively. This translates to a cabin that is marginally more spacious and the rear legroom has increased by a not-so-massive 21mm.However, the luggage space has expanded from 330 to 360 litres with the seats up and with the rear bench’s split rear back folded forward, this swells to 1200 litres. The three-door 1 Series has ostensibly been binned although the five-door model is now available in either Sport or Urban lines, depending on one’s preference of features and equipment. TWINPOWER GOODNESSThe good news for power fiends is that all the One’s engines come standard with BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. The 1.6-litre now puts out 100kW in the entry-level 116i, while the 118i generates 125kw. The redesigned two-litre turbodiesel engines produce 85kW in the 116d, 105kW in the 118d and 135kW in the range-topping 120d. A soon-to-be-released 116d Efficient Dynamics version with added fuel-saving gadgets will keep, BMW promises, CO2 emissions down to only 99g/km. The new 1 Series will also be the first in its segment to have the option of an eight-speed auto transmission and an automatic start/stop function for both manuals and autos. The BMW standard of rear-wheel drive and in-line engines continues. So does its 50/50 weight distribution, helped by an advanced suspension system that uses a cross-strut front axle and multilink rear axle. Variable sports steering, with driving stability control (DSC) and traction control with an electronically locking rear differential are options. The passive safety equipment list is comprehensive too, with front, side and head airbags. COMING TO SAThe cabin is said to have high-quality materials and finishes, the perfect place then for the optional iDrive system and BMW’s Connected Drive with its wide range of optional driver aids. These include high-beam assist, adaptive headlights, parking assistance, cruise control with brake function, reversing camera and internet activity with increased smartphone and music player integration. The all-new BMW 1 Series will be launched in South Africa in the last quarter of 2011.