An image of what is believed to be the BMW 1 Series Gran Turismo has appeared on the internet, heightening rumours that the German manufacturer is working on yet another niche vehicle design.

bmw-1 series-gt

German Car Forum posted an image of the vehicle from an unnamed UK publication, suggesting that BMW is considering expanding its light car range with a vehicle similar in concept to the 5 Series GT.

It is believed the 1 Series GT – known within BMW as the Compact Activity Tourer – will be one of the first BMW vehicles to feature front-wheel drive. As a result, rear legroom is rumoured to be almost on par with the 5 Series sedan.

As is evident in the image above, the front end design will follow the lead of the 5 Series GT, with a similarly pronounced snout and a familiar shape to the lower air intakes. The vehicle will reportedly be 50mm longer than the 1 Series hatch and offer an elevated driving position, similar to the 5 Series GT.

BMW is also known to be developing a 3 Series Gran Tursimo to sit between sedan and Touring variants in the new 3 Series range, which will be officially unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

A launch of the BMW 1 Series GT is rumoured for 2012, meaning a motor show debut towards the end of 2011 is not out of the question.