2023 BMW M135i facelift spied

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We’ve captured spy pics of the upcoming BMW M135i facelift. Meanwhile, the updated BMW 1 Series could gain some hybrid powertrains.

The facelifted version of the third-generation BMW 1 Series is in development and these latest images give us our best look yet at the revised premium hatch. We can also see a hot M135i update is on the way to rival the likes of the new Honda Civic Type R and Audi S3.

In its mid-life update, BMW’s premium hatch will receive a suite of interior and exterior tweaks. Our latest batch of spy imagery reveals more on the former, showing the M135i hot hatch will get new quad exhausts, a wider grille more inline with the new 2 Series and new bumpers front and back.

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The larger air intakes at the front could mean the M135i requires additional cooling for its turbocharging system – potentially as a result of more power being squeezed out of it’s 225kW, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The drivetrain will remain the same, with power sent to all four wheels.

We’ve also caught the standard 1 Series facelift testing as well. A new front grille will be the biggest design change, as well the combination of new bumpers all around and a tweaked headlight and rear light signature.

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Inside the new 1 Series we can already see alterations from the current car’s technology. We’re almost certainly going to get the same 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and 10.25-inch touchscreen taken from the new 2 Series. The iDrive rotary controller will be removed in favour of a touch-only screen as BMW plans to reserve the feature for its larger models. The gear lever has also been shrunk from the usual stick shape to a small nub.

The current BMW 1 Series sits on the same UKL2 platform as the second-generation X1 SUV – recently replaced by a new third-generation X1. We won’t see a fully-electric 1 Series just yet, with BMW positioning the upcoming iX1 as the car maker’s smallest EV.

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It’s certainly possible that the 1 Series facelift will feature some form of hybrid technology for the first time, however. The 1 Series range could expand to include a plug-in hybrid engine option based on the 10kWh battery supported setup in the outgoing X1. This would likely deliver more than the old X1’s 50km of electric-only range thanks to the smaller proportions and better aerodynamic efficiency of the 1 Series.

These hybrid options would complement a number of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in the new 1 Series engine range when the car goes on sale sometime in 2023.

Alastair Crooks

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