Possible 2023 BMW 1 Series (facelift) prototype spotted

Prototypes of what appear to be the 2023 BMW 1 Series (BMW 1 Series facelift) are ready for road tests, these images snapped by Instagram user Antonio Navidad Perez show. The third generation, F40 1 Series which was introduced in 2019 is up for a ‘LCI’ (Life Cycle Impulse in BMW terms), or a refresh in automotive parlance around late 2022. Interestingly, a report on Automobilwoche had said that the F40 might be extended till 2030 with styling/body changes to keep it young.

Source – Instagram.com/navidad_kreativton

While previous reports such as the Oct 2019 story filed by UK’s AutoExpress expected a battery-electric BMW 1 Series as early as this year, Automobilwoche had it differently. The German report said that the F40 Series would not see a pure EV BMW i1 hatchback, as this variant has little demand in key EV markets like China and USA. The focus is likely to be on hybrid variants in a bid to lower fleet emissions and offer customers choice, and also the technology is already available on this front-wheel drive ‘FAAR’ (which is a German abbreviation for a front-wheel drive layout) architecture.

BMW electric car launch dates upcoming BMW electric vehicles
BMW has lined up five new plug-in hybrid launches until 2023, and the 1 Series family, if anything, would only scale up its level of electrification in the upcoming intervention. Image: BMW Group Investor presentation, Nov 2020.

This is inline with BMW’s ambitions, which were made clear through an announcement on March 17, 2021. The highlights of the media briefing were that BMW plans 90 percent of its market segment to offer full EVs by 2023, with deliveries of pure EVs set to grow 50 percent annually on average by 2025, and for EVs to account for at least 50 percent of global deliveries by 2030. BMW seems intent on the electrification of the entire portfolio, and chief rivals of the 1 Series, the A-Class and A3, offer plug-in option in 2021.

Coming back to the FAAR platform, the X1 which uses this architecture is already available as a PHEV – X1 xDrive25e – which sees a 1.5-liter three-cylinder alongside a 95 PS electric motor and with a pure EV range of 54 km in the WLTP cycle. The same setup is also found on the X2 xDrive25e, a mechanical cousin of the X1. The CO2 emissions of these PHEV variants stand at 47 gm/km. The same powertrain could be offered on the 2023 BMW 1 Series.

BMW 1 Series sketch
The 2023 BMW 1 Series could be just the first update for the F40 which is reported to soldier on this decade. Image: BMW

Though an all electric i1 based on the 1 Series is far fetched, the experts at BMW Blog speculates that an EV based on the 2 Series Gran Coupe (which shares the FAAR underpinnings and plenty of parts with the F40) could have a better appeal in terms of positioning, a potential rival to entry-level Tesla 3s. More details about the 2023 BMW 1 Series are expected in the coming weeks.

Featured image: BMW