BMW released an updated version of the 1-Series compact in late 2008 but since then suspicious prototypes of a new car with similar proportions and signature BMW styling have been captured running around parts of Europe. While these prototypes have consistently been covered in heavy camouflage gear, this latest computer generated rendering gives us a good indication of what the next-generation 2012 BMW 1-Series Convertible will look like.
The new car will pick up the automaker’s latest styling theme, characterized by a protruding nose and oversized grille and wraparound headlights. Designers will almost certainly keep the current car’s fabric roof, as this should guarantee the most storage space when folded and keep costs down. A slightly longer wheelbase and wider track than the current model is also expected.
Last year BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer revealed that the four-cylinder engines destined for the new 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 the lineup.
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 Convertible to launch towards the end of 2011 along with new Coupe and Hatchback variants, as well as a possible shooting brake model and high-performance M version shortly after.