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BMW's new front-wheel drive 1 Series undergoes final testing

2019-03-27 13:10
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Image: Supplied

Camouflaged pre-series vehicles of the third-generation BMW 1 Series are currently still undergoing extensive test drives at proving grounds in Miramas, France.

The big departure for the next-generation hatchback is a move from rear-wheel drive layout to front-wheel drive. The facility’s diverse handling tracks offer the optimal conditions for refining agility and dynamics of the new BMW 1 Series. This was preceded by five years of intensive development work and the change to the modern front-wheel drive architecture.  

First ever front-wheel drive 1 Series

The automaker says the new 1 Series will set new standards in the premium compact class in terms of driving dynamics, whilst also offering significantly more space inside (thanks to moving away from rear wheel drive).

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                                                          Image: Supplied

With a newly-designed suspension set-up, innovative technologies and the integration of all driving dynamics-related components and control systems, BMW says the 1 Series achieves greater agility both with the new front-wheel drive and xDrive intelligent four-wheel drive.

"Our customers will directly feel the fast and precise responsiveness that provides for an optimised driving experience. 1 Series will be a genuine BMW with an individual character," says Peter Langen, head of Driving Dynamics at the automaker.

Transfer of technology from the BMW i3

On the new BMW 1 Series, BMW has utilised all of the experience gained over recent years with BMW Group front-wheel drive models. A crucial element for the car’s exceptionally high agility is ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) known from the BMW i3s, which is now celebrating its debut in a vehicle with a combustion engine. This transfer of technology from the BMW i brand to the core brand BMW improves traction decisively, while facilitating significantly more sensitive and faster control.

ARB technology, which is standard on the 1 Series, features a slip control system positioned directly in the engine control unit instead of in the control unit for the DSC function (Dynamic Stability Control).

Without long signal paths, information is passed on three times faster, with the regulation speed perceived by the driver actually being up to ten times faster. In close coordination with the DSC function, actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation significantly reduces the power understeer usually experienced with front-wheel drive vehicles, but without control intervention to stabilise lateral dynamics.

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Image: Supplied

BMW Performance Control (yaw moment distribution) also comes as standard and additionally increases agility of the 1 Series through dynamic brake intervention. Moreover, torsional stiffness of the body structure is enhanced by the targeted use of additional struts such as a standard rear-end 'boomerang strut'.

"Through this extensive integration of all driving dynamics-related aspects as well as the new, innovative traction control feature, we are creating a completely novel driving experience," says Holger Stauch, project manager for the 1 Series.

The most powerful four-cyinder engine for the new top-of-the-range model

A newly developed four-cylinder engine stands out prominently within the drive portfolio of the new 1 Series. TheM135i xDrive (combined fuel consumption: 7,1-6,8 litre/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 162-155 g/km)* features the most powerful four-cylinder engine from the BMW Group with a two-litre capacity and TwinPower Turbo technology.

The power unit delivers 225kW, ensuring extremely dynamic handling properties through individual technical solutions such as a reinforced crank drive, new pistons and cod rods, a larger exhaust turbocharger as well as optimised fuel injection valves.

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Image: Supplied

More interior space

BMW says the new car has taken a major leap forward in terms of interior spaciousness. Thanks to the new front-wheel drive architecture with transverse engines and a low centre tunnel, noticeably more space is now available than in the predecessor model, especially on the back seats. For example, legroom for rear-seat passengers has increased by 33mm and headroom at the back by 19mm.

Access to the rear compartment is now easier and luggage compartment capacity has increased by 20 litres to 380 litres.

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