• Aug 10, 2010
2012 BMW 1 Series three-door – Click above for high-res image gallery

The next-generation BMW 1 Series three-door has been spotted again, this time on the streets of its hometown in Munich, Germany. Despite the swirlies covering all its details, it's clear that the basic shape, size and proportions of the new iteration aren't going to change much from the current model, which has never been offered in North America. We Yanks have only had the fortune of sampling the 1 Series in coupe and convertible form, though no one's complaining.

The headlamp clusters on this three-door 1 Series prototype appear to be sloped back and stretched along the top of the fender line like those on the new 5 Series. Similarly, the wider grille has been pushed forward to be flush with the bumper line below it. The profile shot also indicates that the hood now features the increasingly familiar clam-shell with side cut-lines and a higher arc to provide improved pedestrian protection.

Judging by the hood-to-cabin proportion of this prototype, it's also safe to say that the next 1 Series has not been converted to front-wheel drive (even though 80 percent of owners already think it is FWD) as BMW has indicated it might do with future smaller models. We expect the new 1 Series will debut sometime next year as a 2012 model, and until that time we have the high-performance 1 Series M Coupe to look forward to.



[Source: Carpix]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shwing!
      Can we haz?
      USDM market needs a quality rear wheel hatch badly :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        "USDM market needs a quality rear wheel hatch badly :)"

        I keep thinking that too, as i see these running around, but then i keep returning to the topgear review, here's hoping this one addresses all the reasonable quibbles bmw can with the outgoing car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm starting to wonder why bmw would want a small 5 door hatch. Any idea how that fits into their performance machine ideology?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not for the US. They've had it in EU for a while.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This looks to me like a 5 door.. not a 3 door hatch. If you notice the breaks in the camo, you can see distinctly rear doors. It's a hatch for certain. Can't believe you guys didn't catch that!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's definitely a 5-door - see the cutline for the rear mini-doors??
        • 4 Years Ago
        I see the line for a rear door but it doesn't seem to make much sense. It would be a VERY tiny door and almost impossible to enter conventionally, so it would almost have to be a suicide style door, a la RX-8. But even then it's hard to believe because the angle of the rear of the back door is pretty severe and wouldn't lend itself well to hinges in a suicide fashion. So, truthfully, I think the rear door line is a ruse and is just part of the camo package.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea... they couldn't possibly just be artificial lines drawn onto the camo to throw people off...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeap it has suicide doors, this is going to be an interesting addition, hope they bring it stateside!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, this thing has to be a 5 door.
        If it is indeed a 3 door, that thing has a massive ass
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks a little bloated upfront - with the bulging around the hood area, and that droopiness around the kidney grill area that has worked its way into recent BMW designs - see the X1 and 7 series.

      I am not sure I like it. May look better in metal... at least, lets hope so.

      I am picking up my 128i European Delivery in 2 weeks - looking at how this is potentially going to turn out, I am quite happy with my decision.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @directeco -

        I will also be doing a performance center delivery - once the car gets back to the U.S. Think it should be sometime in fall - takes a couple of months for the car to get shipped.

        No regrets about the 135 here - contemplated it for a brief moment - a very brief moment - but did not want the Turbo headaches. I also wanted a car that was more finesse than brute force.
        Not saying that the 135 is not as sharp handling as the 128 - but I feel that the package with the 128i is more balanced, and the onus will lie more on me, to work that stick to extract some performance. I was afraid that the 135 - specially with the M-DCT that I was looking at - was just going to make me a lazy driver.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not a fan at all of their new corporate design (big sagging kidney grill, funky-shaped headlights). What bugs me from the camo is that the overhang seems surprisingly big for RWD--and all that can't be camo cladding.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Something suggests me that the 1 M Coupe will also have this new body.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope it looks better than the last-generation hatch. That thing was ugly...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see 5 doors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      AB: No one's complaining? I am! I want a 5-door 1-series. Or 3-door. The coupe just looks weird!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agree with previous comments about suicide doors, would be awesome!! and they already know how to make those (mini clubman). But that door outline is definitely camo: you can see a thick frame around the back window (from the inside), which indicates it doesn't open, so no door there. and the black camo line doesn't go quite straight into the back window cutout.
      Front door is way to large for a 5door hatch. But glad they carried on with the frameless window design.

      Previous remark about overhang being a bit long for a RWD (and a BMW in general I would say)... kind of agree, which makes me worry.. thanks to 80 ignorant % of you owners :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like once again its going to be big on the exterior metal and short on the interior space. Should just steal some jump seats from a Ford Ranger ext cab and put them in the rear. At least it would have better legroom than what they've been able to provide w/forward facing seats.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reminds me of a 1994 Civic. Seriously worst BMW ever.

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