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This is BMW’s new 1-series – and it’ll be front-wheel-drive.

The automaker has taken the significant step of going upfront to improve cabin space (the 302bhp M135i range topper gets all-wheel drive).

To retain the sporty drive of the previous model the performance control system is standard, as is a multi-link rear axle.

From launch there will be the 118i (138bhp) 1.5-litre 3cyl petrol, 116d, 118d and 120d xDrive diesels (114bhp to 188bhp).

There are three suspension systems: standard, M Sport version and an adaptive variant.

At 4.319m long, it is 5mm shorter than before with the 2,670mm wheelbase down by 20mm. But at 1.799m it is 34mm wider.

BMW claim 33mm extra knee room and 19mm more rear headroom.

The cabin has an 8.8in touchscreen as standard while the top models get two 10.25in displays.

It’s effectively on sale this week but deliveries are not due until September.

Pricing is expected to be from €33,205 OTR.

* Nissan is to use its dealer network as electric-car education centres.

It has organised a series of information and educational events to give car buyers and local businesses all they need to know to make the switch to zero emissions EV driving.

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