Possible 2023 BMW 1 Series (facelift) prototype spotted [Update]

Update: ‘Design & Features’ and ‘Release Date’ sections added.

Images Instagram user Antonio Navidad Perez posted in 2021 had shown what appeared to be the 2023 BMW 1 Series (BMW 1 Series facelift) prototypes ready for road tests. 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.


While previous reports such as the Oct 2019 story filed by UK’s AutoExpress expected a battery-electric BMW 1 Series as early as 2021, 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 for the 1 Series 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 refresh. Image: BMW Group Investor presentation, Nov 2020.

This is in line with BMW’s ambitions, which were made clear through an announcement on March 17, 2021, where it said it would have at least 25 electrified models. The main highlight 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 Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3 – offer a plug-in option currently.

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. Could this then be the powertrain offered on the 2023 BMW 1 Series, with lowered outputs?

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

Design & Features

The new BMW 1 Series should feature revised front and rear facias with reworked bumpers and tweaked lights. Expect new alloy wheel designs and fresh paint options, too. Inside, BMW Blog speculates that iDrive 8.0 that debuted in the iX could replace iDrive 7.0. However, we think that would be too big of an upgrade at this point, especially for an entry-level model. A more realistic possibility is the upgradation of the digital instrument cluster and central displays in the BMW Live Cockpit Professional version to two 12.3 inch units. The advanced iDrive 8.0 is unlikely to appear in the 1 Series in the current generation.

Release Date

The 2022 BMW 1 Series, with fresh looks and revised powertrain lineup, could be revealed during the second half of the year. More details about the 2023 BMW 1 Series are expected in the coming weeks.

According to a report from motor.es, the current-gen 1 Series will retire in just five years (2024), two years earlier than originally planned. Interestingly, the report on Automobilwoche had said that the F40 might be extended till 2030 with styling/body changes to keep it young. Clarity on the future of the 1 Series should emerge later this year.

Featured image: BMW