BMW introduces new naming strategy with updated 1-Series

  • BMW revealed a new 1-Series
  • The refreshed compact car kicks off a new naming strategy at BMW
  • Gas-powered BMWs will no longer have the lower-case “i” in their model names

BMW has introduced a new naming strategy aimed at simplifying its model designations as the number of electric vehicles in the lineup continues to grow.

The new strategy, which starts with the updated version of the 1-Series hatchback revealed on Wednesday, removes the lower-case “i” from individual model designations for gas-powered models. So the updated version of the 120i and M135i grades are now referred to as the 120 and M135, respectively.

The i was originally introduced in the late 1960s on BMW’s 2000 tii, to signify fuel injection. Now the letter is reserved for BMW’s electric vehicles. The updated 1-Series doesn’t have an electric grade, but under the new strategy, a model designation like the i5 eDrive40 electric grade of the 5-Series will become simply an i540.

Diesel grades continue to feature a lower-case “d” in their model designations, for instance, a 120d in the case of the updated 1-Series. Plug-in hybrids will likely continue to use a lower-case “e,” though the updated 1-Series doesn’t have a plug-in hybrid grade at present.

2025 BMW 1-Series (M135) hatchback

2025 BMW 1-Series (M135) hatchback

The updated 1-Series arrives 20 years after the original hatch was launched. It features new styling, inside and out, plus an enhanced range of 3- and 4-cylinder engines. All engines are paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and come with either front- or all-wheel drive. A manual transmission is no longer available.

The most powerful option is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 found in the M135. It’s rated at 296 hp and is mated as standard to an all-wheel-drive system. This grade also comes with aerodynamic and chassis upgrades, and is claimed by BMW to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds.

Inside, the designers have gone with a similar setup to what’s found in the related 2-Series Active Tourer sold overseas. There are new digital screens measuring 10.3 inches for the gauge cluster and 10.7 inches for the infotainment system, plus a revised center console with new controls, including the small nub instead of the more upright shift lever.

2025 BMW 1-Series (M135) hatchback

2025 BMW 1-Series (M135) hatchback

BMW also added the latest version of its iDrive interface, version 9.0. The latest version is powered by Google’s Android operating system (former systems used Linux), and is much easier to use thanks to direct access to popular functions rather than having to go through a submenu. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported.

While BMW doesn’t have any plans to introduce its updated 1-Series hatch in the U.S., many of the changes made to the vehicle, including the new naming strategy, should appear on an updated version of the related 2-Series Gran Coupe expected for the 2025 model year.

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