These are the best spy pictures yet of the next-generation BMW 1-series.
The premium hatchback was captured in heavy disguise by our spy photograpers in Germany, but the pictures gave away subtle changes to the latest model’s styling. Previously, we have only seen test mules but these pictures show a fully working prototye.
The 1-series is expected to have a slightly extended wheelbase and wider track to create more interior room, especially for adult passengers in the back.
The model spied is likely to be the most powerful, the 135i, given away by its twin rear exhausts. In the present 1-series range, only the 130i hatch and 135i coupe have twin exhuasts, but these are coupled together. On this spied model, they are split, indicating a new styling point for the 1-series.
Its high-performance nature is also given away by the extra air intake seen at the front, while previous spy pictures have hinted at an all-wheel drive system being tested.
In previous spy pictures, the front end has been covered so this hints that this model’s engine needs more cooling. A mildly redesigned front-end features new headlights and a new bumper, while new lights also appear at the rear of the car. BMW’s famous kidney grille remains.
Engines are likely to be co-developed with PSA as the two firms further extend their relationship seen with Mini. The trend in downsizing and using turbocharged units is also set to feature in the new 1-series to meet tougher new emissions regulations and fuel consumption targets. The displacement should range from 1.4-litre to 2.0-litre.
Despite the downsizing, power is likely to go up across the range due to the use of direct injection and forced induction. BMW’s straigh-six engines could also make the line up.
Stop-start and electrical-regenerative systems should both feature, as should Efficient Dynamic’s technology including heat-recovery systems and solar panels. BMW claims the testing of thermoelectric generators and solar panels saved as much as five per cent in fuel consumption.
The hatchback should be going into production in the second quarter of 2011, with the coupe and convertible models set to follow later in the year. A shooting brake model and a high-performance M version could also make it into production.