New model to be given more rakish styling and extra cabin space; small estate and baby roadster too

BMW’s next 1-series has been spied in public, revealing that the firm’s bread-and-butter model is to be given more rakish styling and extra cabin space.

The current 1-series has long been criticised for cramped, almost supermini-esque packaging and oddball styling. These were factors influenced by the fact that its understructure from the bulkhead rearwards was developed for the stillborn Rover R30 at the end of the 1990s.

See spy pics of the BMW 1-series

With a blank sheet of paper, BMW’s engineers have been working on improving interior space.

This is likely to result in a longer wheelbase that can cope with both this car and the front-wheel-drive model that will follow in 2013. This three-door test car (the rear door line is a fake) reveals that longer wheelbase.

It’s a telltale sign that the 1-series shares much of its platform with the X1, the first model to use a new line of 1-series/3-series components. The test hack also shows a steeply raked windscreen and a roof line that tails off to avoid the blunt tail of the current car.

Read Autocar's scoop on the next BMW 1-series, including an exclusive rendering

The next 1-series should be one of the first BMWs to get the firm’s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel and petrol engines. But at the car’s launch, the eco push is likely to be led by an ultra-frugal 1.6-litre oil-burner, equipped with Efficient Dynamics features like stop-start and emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.

Later tech could include an all-electric powerplant — BMW will introduce such a set-up on the 1-series coupé next year. The three-door model and its five-door sister will continue to account for the bulk of 1-series sales.

But BMW is planning a wider range that will include not only successors to today’s coupé and cabriolet but also a baby roadster, the Z2, that will rival the VW Bluesport. BMW is also considering a small estate variant that would offer practicality between the regular hatchback and the X1.

John McIlroy/Hilton Holloway

See all the latest BMW 1-series reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
8

20 August 2010

More size inflation. I keep having to change models downwards just to keep the size of the car within reason, an so it will fit in the garage.

I traded my old E39 530D Touring down last year to an E91 320D Touring, as the E61 was too big for the garage and the F10, nice though it is, was clearly going to be even bigger. I have very similar interior space to that available in the E39, very little difference in overall performance and much better economy.

With the next 3 due to be larger again, the new 1 series "small estate" will probably be what I need next. Let's hope the interior quality is not sacrificed as some feel it has been on the X1.


20 August 2010

I know it's disguised, but the front looks like a Rover 25 and the rear like a Golf/A3.....

Not a good look!

20 August 2010

[quote Autocar]These were factors influenced by the fact that its understructure from the bulkhead rearwards was developed for the stillborn Rover R30 at the end of the 1990s.

[/quote]

Reallly? I seem to remember there was some conspiracy about that, but nobody was able to prove for 100% certain that it was true. BMW denied it from what I remember.

20 August 2010

From BMW (Munich):

BMW's styling division are currently away sick - and have been for some years now. In the meantime, styling is being carried out by the janitorial & supplies department. Thank you.

20 August 2010

I've always liked the 'unconventional' proportions of the current 1 series, which to me make it quirky and distinctive. I certainly think its more interesting than most of BMWs current designs.

The overall shape of this now looks just like an A3.

20 August 2010

Not many staying on topic here!, we're talking about the proposed new 1- series, not other cars,some have though, i agree,it always was cramped in the back seats, so making more room back there is a good move, it certainly wasn't an oddball style-wise, a friend of mine had one as a courtesy car while his 5-series was in for an oil change,and thought it was a good steer, accurate steering, a nice car, yes, there's no such beast as a small car!, they're getting bigger all the time, but what do you want?, cars that all look the same?,BMW's on the whole are well screwed together, solid, don't all suffer stupid faults, it's a case if you like it fine!, as long as your happy, that's OK!.

Peter Cavellini.

20 August 2010

The claim about the 1 being based on the Rover R30 project is categorically untrue. The existing 1-series is quite simply underpinned by a shortened 3-series platform. The Rover was going to be FWD, albeit based on BMW's Z-axle rear end, like the 75 (essentially, it was going to be what the Mini Countryman now is, only without the stupid retro-fripperies and equally stupid and unnecessary ground clearance).

GD

21 August 2010

Yawn. Maybe the disguise is spoiling the view of all the radical innovation. I don't think so. Same old bread van, if you ask me.

GB

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka