Tony O'Kane | Dec 15, 2010

Images of a lightly-camouflaged 1 Series in five-door hatch form captured this week revealed that the 2012 1 Series is near production-ready.

Although the new 1 Series is expected to arrive next year, the recent unveiling of the 2011 BMW 1 Series M suggests the current generation 1 has at least another year in it, with the 1 M likely to overlap into the next-generation model's production cycle.

Our earlier three-door and five-door hatch renderings (in gallery) offer a look at what is expected to lie beneath BMW's trademark swirl camouflage.

While even the new light camouflage makes discerning the new 1's design details difficult, it is clear the sharp character line that runs along the current car's flanks will remain a feature of the new model.

Where the tail-lights of the current model terminate at the base of the rear window, the new 1 Series features smaller units that sit further down the tailgate. The door handles have also moved up into the prominent character line.

It also clear that BMW is aiming for a 'shooting brake' inspired roofline for the new 1 Series three-door, setting it apart from its five-door sibling and giving it a sportier look (suggesting the next-generation 1 M could appear in both coupe and hatch form).

A cabriolet version of the new 1 Series is also rumoured to be in the works, and while this variant may not arrive until early 2012, our preview rendering (below) offers a look at what we might be able to expect.

The 'regular' 2012 BMW 135i is set to switch from its existing N54 twin-turbo setup to the German carmaker's new N55 single-turbo inline-six.

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