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Spied: 2019 BMW 1 Series hatchback

Spies have caught the new compact in hot hatch guise.

The new BMW 1 Series was caught testing near BMW's German headquarters , showing off its production bodywork under only a thin layer of camouflage.

BMW's new front-wheel-drive based compact has been in development for some time, and this is our first good look at what appears to be one of the more exciting variants of the new lineup.

Sporting blue brakes, a dual exhaust system and what appears to be a lowered suspension, we can surmise that this mule is the much-anticipated M140i model, which should feature BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system and compete with the premium end of the hot hatch segment.

Effectively, that should make this a competitor for the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS and Subaru WRX STI. Whether this will slot just above those cars and go head-to-head with the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 has still yet to be made clear, as it's possible BMW could produce an M-badged 1 Series above this one, a la the M240i and the M2. The M1 moniker, however, is already taken.

Farther down the range, we expect the new 1 Series to be made available Stateside with turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines. The platform supports electrification, so a hybrid or battery-electric variant is not off the table either.

Photos by Chris Doane Automotive.

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