These are the latest pictures of the next-generation BMW 1-series in testing.
The model spied here is the five-door 1-series, which is tipped to be launched in 2011.
As with today’s 1-series, the 2011 model, codenamed F20, features a modular platform with BMW’s traditional longitudinal engine layout, aspects of which are set to be shared with the next-gen 3-series.
Together with standard rear-wheel drive - a feature that will continue to set the 1-series apart from all of its hatchback rivals - BMW is also considering adding four-wheel drive by using the system developed for the X1.
The biggest news is the new turbocharged three-cylinder engine that will be fitted to entry-level models. It forms an integral part of BMW’s future Efficient Dynamics programme.
Sources inside BMW’s R&D centre suggests the new engine delivers between 110bhp and 160bhp, depending on its state of tune. As a 110bhp unit it should be capable of delivering combined fuel consumption of over 70mpg and CO2 emissions of under 100g/km.
Also under development for the new 1-series is a turbocharged 1.6-litre powerplant. Replacing the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine, it will put out between 150bhp and 200bhp.
Less clear are BMW’s plans for six-cylinder versions of the 1-series. While European sales centre around four-cylinder models, the US market will almost certainly demand a straight-six petrol, in both naturally aspirated and twin-turbocharged forms.
The competitiveness of today’s diesels means there will be no major changes to the existing 2.0-litre unit, which develops 141bhp, 175bhp and (in twin-turbo form) 201bhp. Expect improvements in the injection process and modified exhaust for reduced NOx. BMW is also working on a smaller 1.6-litre oil-burner, but whether it will be complete in time for inclusion in the new 1-series at launch remains to be seen.
An M version of the current BMW 1-series will be launched later this year.