While in Munich recently I had a chance to see quite a few examples of the F20 1 Series hatch. While I don ‘t have photos (it ‘s a little rude to whip out your camera when you ‘re invited inside BMW HQ) I do have some first hand impressions. As we ‘ve reported here in the past the interior is getting a significant upgrade in quality of materials. The new look will be much closer to the X3, 5 and 7 series interior design and layout. In fact every F20 I saw the dash of had at least a small screen a la the X3. Could the F20 get a display standard? Based on what I saw and what we ‘ve heard I believe so. And it would make sense considering we expect the F30 3 Series to get the same standard screen. As on the X3 and 5 Series, ticking the navigation box would give you the wide screen display sen in the X3.

Outside the shape is much more handsome than the previous 1er hatch. The three door especially has a great shape do it with the higher belt line making it feel slightly more coupe like. I also had a chance to see a camoflauged M Sport three door 1er with 18 ” wheels. While the M Sport details were well covered you could get the idea that this will follow the tradition of the recent E90 design. The wheels were new and (as customary) painted black to hide many of the details.

One thing that was easy to spot is that the new F20 is noticeably taller and wider than the outgoing 1 Series. At one point I happened upon the two parked directly next to each other and was surprised that I could so easily see difference.

BMW will release the new F20 1 Series in 3 and 5 door varieties later this year. The engine range will start with the 3 cylinder turbo unit and span the current 2.0L petrol turbo. As you can imagine there will be a handful of diesels in there as well.

A year later BMW will release the Coupe shortly followed by the convertible. But what of the rumors that BMW will move the coupe and convertible upmarket and even change the name to the 2 Series? The idea is that it would help avoid confusion with the new family of FWD models also marketed under the 1 Series brand. It would also help in moving the cars slightly upmarket to correspond with a much higher level of premium options that will be available.

What does this all mean for the next generation 1M you ask? While details are scarce we expect the car to become slightly more tame (ie less wide rear fenders thanks to the wider standard car). We also expect the car to be more refined thanks to a longer development cycle and less of a need to reuse the very wide M3 subframe and suspension. What about engines? M could use a high performance twin turbo four cylinder in place of a six cylinder to keep costs and weight down. But would buyers give up more power for less weight? It’s an intriguing thought but one that is very much rumor at this point. In fact the only thing we can say for certain is that the car won’t use the N54 engine in the current 1M.

Image courtesy of Worldcarfans