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BMW 1-series F20 (2011): the new CAR spyshots

Published: 03 June 2009

News just in from Germany: our man with the long lens has caught the new 2011 BMW 1-series, codenamed F20. These spy photos capture an early engineering prototype with heavy panels and black-and-white disguise covering the bulk of the changes bound for Munich's baby.

The new 1-series will again be paired with the next 3-series (due a year later and also scooped recently by CAR) and will be available in at least five different bodystyles – including the smallest M-fettled car yet, the 300bhp Supersport:

Five-door 1-series due in autumn 2011
A classic three-door hatchback to follow
1-series coupé in early 2012
1-series convertible spring 2013
Two-door Supersport conceived by the M division for late 2012

And it mightn't end there. Other 1-series bodystyles not yet confirmed but on the drawing board include:
A three-door shooting brake
A three-door Touring
Three- and five-door PAS in the spirit of the 5-series GT
A three-door Sport Activity Coupé with glass roof
A two-door X1

In view of the current budget constraints, it is very difficult to predict which variant is most likely to get the nod. Instead of offering a complex mix of additional bodystyles, BMW is actually contemplating launching an aggressively priced low-spec 115i entry-level model – bringing back memories of the barren 315 and 1502.

What will the new BMW 1-series (2011) look like?

BMW has confirmed that the Supersport gets round headlamps in homage to the legendary 2002 series; it seems likely that the other three-box models may feature radically different oblong LED headlamps (still disguised on this prototype).

The engine line-up indicates that the next 1-series will probably move up the price and performance ladder:

115i – 1.3-litre four-cylinder, 105bhp
116i – 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo, 136bhp
118i – 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo, 177bhp
120i – 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, 218bhp
130i – 3.0-litre six cylinder, 272bhp
135iS – 3.0-litre twin-turbo six cylinder, 326bhp

Diesel lovers won't be ignored, naturally:

118d – 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 150bhp
120d – 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 184bhp
123d – 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 211bhp

All are packaged with the second phase of Efficient Dynamics. New measures are said to include an integrated starter generator, a pre-heating circuit for the engine, differential and transmission oil, start-stop with automatic transmission, on-demand water and oil pumps, a lithium-ion storage cell and a smaller starter battery.

>> Would you buy a 1-series? Or is it just a tarted-up posing tool ripe for estate agents? Click 'Add your comment' and file away

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel