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BMW has recently been snapped by our spy photographers in northern Europe testing the upcoming 2012 BMW 1 Series. The car was also being tested alongside an upcoming BMW 3 Series test mule.

From the front we can see the new BMW 1 Series will feature a more aggressive design, much like the latest BMW 5 Series, with its sharper bonnet lines and pronounced front grille.

The rear of the new car looks better proportioned than the current hatch model, which looks pointy and awkward with lots of different angles and ‘melted’ shapes. This model will offer a stable, stout stance with a high waste line, like a traditional, wide-track hatchback.

From this angle we can also see the car will come with slightly pumped rear guards to give it a fuller, more complete look.

The next BMW 1 Series will be a little bit larger than the current 1 Series, offering more rear seat passenger room. Track and wheelbase dimensions are likely to be larger as well.

While the overall size of the car may be increasing, engine sizes will be reduced somewhat as reports say BMW’s joint venture with PSA Peugeot could see the introduction of anything as small as a 1.4-litre engine being placed into the next 1 Series.

These new smaller engines will be optional though, with BMW’s traditional six-cylinder engines still likely to make their way into the higher end of the range.

BMW will be focusing on reducing its overall emissions, hence the introduction of the smaller engines, but it is also likely the next 1 Series will come with stop/start technology and possibly some forms of the EfficientDynamics technologies, such as regenerative heat recovery systems and solar power.

The 2012 BMW 1 Series is expected to hit the market some time towards the end of this year.


  • davie

    Each BMW is always bigger than the last.

    the 5 series is bigger than a 2 model old 7 series

    The 3 series is bigger than a 2 model old 5 series.

    the 1 series will soon be the same size is a 90′s 3 series.

    The X3 is now as big as the old X5.

    If the 1 series gets too big I wonder if they will introduce a 0 series?

    • A

      They will, but it’ll be a supermini. However, though I do agree with you, the 1 Series is perhaps the one model that actually did need to be just a tad bigger so the cabin wasn’t so pokey.

      • davie

        The 1 series big packaging problem is that the bonnet is far too long for a car this size to have practical cabin space. Its designed to take a long straight 6 engine.

        There is a reason that cars this size usually have compact east-west engines.

        If they want to stay rear-wheel-drive, then they need to use only 4cyl engines (with turbos etc). They will then be able to design a shorter bonnet and allow the proportionally bigger cabin.

  • Harry

    Why is it that the 1 series has so little head room that it struggles to accomodate anyone over 6 foot tall forcing them to bend their neck and stare at the floor while all 3 series are fine? Even the the 2002 from the 70s had far more head room while being externally smaller than the 1 series. Of late it seems BMW have become obsessed with quirky designs with angular concave surfaces but have forgotten that what made BMW great was devotion to purpose, making a car that was a pleasure to drive while comfortably accomodating people and whatever they wanted to transport.