BMW's 1 Series Hybrid car was spotted testing for the first time. The powertrain is likely to debut with the next-generation car in 2011.

Spy photographers have snapped a silver example of a BMW 1-Series Hybrid doing the rounds near Munich. The car may look quite ordinary but a peek on the rear side window and bumper reveals stickers with the words "Hybrid Test Vehicle". It will join other new BMW hybrids like the 7 Series ActiveHybrid and the X6 ActiveHybrid.

Lexus plans to enter the compact premium hatch segment with a hybrid-only range. BMW is clearly planning a counter-offensive, depending on who brings their car to market first. The likelihood of a 1-Series Hybrid debuting in the current model is slim given that its production cycle ends in 2010. Remember that Mercedes-Benz has also made alternative plans with the B-Class F-Cell project.

The all-new 1er launches in 2011 with a range of small engines, including turbocharged four-cylinder petrols and diesels. There's even a high-performance 1 M rumoured to be under development.

Body styles expected include a hatchback, a coupe and a convertible. A 1-Series-based roadster called the Z2 has been rumoured for some time too although one BMW official ruled it out of contention.


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