The current generation BMW 1 Series has been around since 2019, which means the time has come for the entry-level model from Munich to get a mid-cycle refresh. Work on the facelifted hatchback continues as a new prototype is spied with less camouflage than before lapping the Nurburgring. 

While this is obviously a fully disguised trial vehicle, there seems to be some progress with the front fascia. The lower section of the bumper now shows more of its design, which appears to be dominated by a large trapezoidal grille with triangle air openings at the sides. This looks like a more aggressive layout compared to the outgoing model and it is worth mentioning that this is likely the M135i version of the hatchback. This easily explains the larger diamond-cut finish wheels, which come from the pre-facelifted model, and the quad exhaust pipes at the back.

Gallery: BMW 1 Series facelift new spy photos

Not much is happening at the rear, though. The taillights are almost completely covered, which suggests they could get only new internal graphics. There are provisional reflectors at the corners of the rear bumper, which could be a hint at a slightly revised design. We don’t see the current M135i’s vertical slats at the two sides of the bumper but they could be covered under the disguise.

This isn’t the first time we catch the refreshed M135i testing and there’s even a rumour suggesting the range-topping hatch could be renamed to M140i to reflect the power boost it will reportedly receive. The current model offers 302 bhp (225 kilowatts) from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and that output might grow to 315 bhp (235 kW)

When should we expect the updated 1 Series? An educated guess would be an official debut towards the second half of this year with a market launch around the end of 2023 as a 2024 model. The closely related 2 Series Coupe, Cabrio, and Gran Coupe should follow shortly.