Set to be released at the upcoming Geneva Show in March, BMW’s new entry-level model, the 1 Series, has been snapped while testing.

Set to be released at the upcoming Geneva Show in March, BMW’s new entry-level model, the 1 Series, has been snapped while testing.

Expected to have the Volkswagen Golf V as its main competitor, the 1 Series will initially be launched as a five-door hatchback. A three-door hatchback will follow later, and a four-door saloon is also in the pipeline.

The new car shares more than 40 per cent of its components with the upcoming 3 Series, including its MacPherson strut (front) and trapezoidal link (rear) suspension, as well as its axle assemblies, braking system and wiring harness.

Power comes from two different versions of the familiar 1,8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Theoretically, the engine would produce 78 kW in 116i and 89 kW in 118i guise.

Also planned are two versions of a two-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine. BMW sources say it will produce 86 kW in the 118d and 112 kW in the 120d. And during mid-2005, a sporty 120i model fitted with a 160 kW four-cylinder turbo will join the line-up.

All models get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the Sequential Manual Gearbox nudge-shift and a six-speed auto will be optional.

Last year, BMW SA spokesman Clynton Yon told CARtoday.com that the 1 Series would be launched in South Africa “around the end of 2004”.

Original article from Car