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Just a couple of weeks ago, BMW was spotted in north Europe testing the upcoming 2012 BMW 1 Series in extreme winter conditions. Another test mule has just been spotted, lurking around the same area, featuring a black exterior.

As mentioned, the new car will adopt a similar design language to the new BMW 5 Series, with its pronounced front grille and fascia and sharper bonnet bulge.

The overall dimensions of the new model will be bigger than that of the current 1 Series, with more interior room and boot space expected as a result. Track and wheelbase dimensions will also be larger than the current model.

All models will remain rear-drive and use BMW’s expandable F20 modular platform, so three- and five-door models will be made without incurring more development costs.

As for engines, the next generation BMW 1 Series will receive a downsize in a number of trim levels, with the chance of a PSA-developed 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre making its way into the entry-level models.

A six-cylinder engine is likely, however, the new TwinPower 2.0-litre engine is also likely to be designated for the top-spec models.

BMW will be focusing on keeping that all-important fuel consumption rating down and will introduce a number of EfficientDynamics technologies with the new lineup; including Stop/Start, solar power and regenerative heat recovery systems.

The 2012 BMW 1 Series is set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September later this year, and then go on sale towards the end of 2011/beginning of 2012.