Last week, BMW broke down and revealed many details about its next-generation 1-Series, slated to hit U.S. dealerships in 2012. Following leaked photos of the new coupe and hatchback, the automaker decided to hand out the rest of the details about its redesigned upscale small car, including powertrain information and interior and exterior specifications.

In a press release, BMW writes that the new 1-Series will include a choice between a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas-powered engine that makes either 136 or 170 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 184, 143 or 116 horsepower, depending on the model. The automaker also says interior fit and finish have been improved and interior space has been expanded, addressing the concerns reviewers voiced about the previous models. “The changes benefit both interior and cargo space, two aspects where the outgoing model fell short,” writes Autoblog.

The information BMW released only applies to European models, so we won’t know for a while if any or all of these new features will make their way across the Atlantic to U.S.-spec BMWs.

But the engine options aren’t what the auto press is most excited about. What’s really getting journalists going is the 1-Series’ restyled exterior, which most writers agree looks more attractive than the outgoing model, which was conceived during a controversial period in BMW styling history. “Although the new 7-Series and 5-Series are relatively predictable, the new 1-Series is markedly more aggressive and will certainly turn heads,” writes Left Lane News. Though European buyers will be able to get their hands on a 1-Series hatchback, Inside Line predicts that model won’t be available for U.S. shoppers. However, Americans should be able to purchase the four-door 1-Series in 2012, while coupe and convertible models will likely be available in 2013.

The outgoing 1-Series starts at $30,950, so shoppers should expect the new model to fit somewhere between about $31,000 and $28,000, which is the Audi A3’s starting price. If you can wait until 2012 for a new upscale small car, you should check out the incoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Few details have been released about the A-Class, but reviewers are excited to get their hands on pre-production models for test drives. If you don’t want to wait, you should check out the Audi A3 or the Lexus CT200h. Both are small, entry-level luxury cars and cost about $30,000. The A3 starts at $27,270, making it the least expensive in the class for now.

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