BMW released an updated version of the 1-Series Hatchback in late 2008 but ever since then suspicious prototypes of a new car with similar proportions and signature BMW styling have been captured running around the south of Germany, and now once again and this time with much of the finer details revealed.

The current 1-Series has often been criticized for having a back seat no full-sized adult would be comfortable in. However, the rear seat room in this new 2012 model is expected to be much improved. This may also see BMW finally release the Hatchback version of the 1-Series in the all-important U.S. market. A slightly longer wheelbase and wider track than the current model will almost certainly be present.

A few years back BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer revealed that the four-cylinder engines destined for the next-gen 1-Series will be the same compact units developed jointly by BMW and France’s PSA Peugeot-Citroen for MINI and a number of French models. The engines will range from 1.4 to 2.0-liters in displacement and will be available in both turbocharged and naturally aspirated forms. Expect to see BMW’s award-winning straight six engines also appear in only range-topping models like the 135i and possibly even a new 1-Series M Hatchback.

Engines could be downsized somewhat to meet more stringent emissions and fuel economy rules, but with the aid of the direct injection and forced induction, power figures may not decrease substantially and could even increase in models like the 135i. We saw this recently with the new 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that replaced the previous six-cylinder unit in the X1 xDrive28i.

Engine stop-start and electrical-regenerative systems should carry over into the new series, as well as possible new EfficientDynamics technologies such as heat-recovery systems and solar panels. BMW has also revealed that initial testing of thermoelectric generators and solar panels on its cars showed savings of up to 5 percent in fuel consumption.

Expect the new 1-Series Hatchback to be revealed late this year and be followed by new Coupe and Convertible variants, as well as a possible shooting brake model and a new high-performance M version further down the track.


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