BMW 1-series 5dr (2012) caught on video

Published: 28 April 2011

Our spy photographers have switched to video mode to capture footage of BMW’s upcoming F20 1-series hatchback testing at the Nurburgring in Germany. Our footage shows the five-door edition of the F20 1-series testing at speed on the Nurburgring, and being tailed by our spy on roads near the famous circuit.

Hasn’t BMW ditched the binbag disguise on the new 1-series yet?

Not quite. Although the 1-series (internally designated F20; the new 3-series is F30) is due to debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September, BMW is keeping the mid-section and extremities of its prototypes swathed in camouflage sheeting. However, the video gives us a much clearer view of the vehicle than we’ve had from previous spy photos.

From the reprofiled nose featuring more of a ‘shark nose’ effect as seen on the current 5-series, through the simpler surfacing on the side of the car to the wider, lower tail-light clusters, the F20 1-series will continue the gentle evolution of existing BMW styling that has taken place under current design chief Adrian von Hooydonk.

What about the mechanical spec of the F20?

We expect to see ZF’s new eight-speed automatic transmission coupled to the new range of turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines at launch time for the F20. Despite future plans for BMW small cars to switch to a shared front-drive platform with Mini, the F20 remains rear-drive. You should also be able to have a six-cylinder 1-series if you’re a BMW traditionalist that finds the 1-series more appealing than a 3-series. Don’t scoff at that thought – BMW R&D chief Klaus Drager cited high demand for the straight-six 1-series variants as contributing to the decision to maintain the rear-drive layout of the 1-series. 

Expect more details on the F20 1-series to surface over the summer, as we get closer to the official debut at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Hatchbacks versions come first, but coupe and convertible versions are planned for 2012 and 2013.

>> Like the smoother new BMW 1-series or wish they keep the camouflage on? Share your thoughts by clicking ‘Add your comment’ below