BMW is poised to enter a completely new section of the market with three new front-driven models set to rival the new Mercedes A- and B-Class.
In our spy photos, hidden beneath the optical paintwork and heavy cladding is the first of these new models from BMW, which will form part of an expanded 1 Series line-up.
Codenamed 'FAST' - which stands for Family Activity Sports Tourer - the new MPV will be a direct rival to the forthcoming Mercedes B-Class, and will aim to match it in terms of both efficiency and spaciousness.
Featuring a classic monobox design, raked windscreen and an extended wheelbase for added practicality, the FAST will mark a huge break from tradition for the brand when it arrives in 2013.
It's part of a wider plan to share FWD chassis technology with the next generation of MINIs - with two other models, including a smaller estate and a city car - also in the pipeline.
Powered by a new range of 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with outputs ranging from a modest 75bhp to a healthy 150bhp, the FAST will also be available with both two and four-wheel drive, just like the B-Class.