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BMW's secret project caught with guard down
By Toby Hagon
February 11, 2004
BMW's latest project, a vehicle planned not to reach dealerships until December, has been photographed undisguised during promotional filming at Point Cook.
Until now, the 1-Series has only been photographed in its heavy disguise, but this picture was taken on Monday in Greg Norman Drive by amateur photographer Cameron Waldon.
It provides a world-first glimpse of what the car looks like.
"They had security there and were asking people what they were doing before letting them through," Mr Waldon said.
"Every time someone came past they would put a car cover over it so no one could see it. It kept driving around the round-about, and the security guards were not letting anyone within about 30 metres of it."
Digitally altered images generated by the lucrative automotive "spy" industry have also provided a realistic idea of what the new BMW will look like. But BMW is not going into details about what is considered one of the most important new models in years for the German brand.
"The car was out here for a brochure shoot," a BMW spokeswoman said.
"It was stored at Tullamarine and trucked to the location. The car has already gone back to Germany."
Costing from $30,000, the 1-Series is intended to introduce young buyers to the brand in the hope they will one day move up to a bigger, more expensive model.
It will sell on BMW's strengths of rear-drive dynamics and attention to detail.
It is not unusual for development cars to be photographed on test in Australia, particularly in the Northern Territory where the speed-unlimited roads and high temperatures push a car to extremes. But such road test vehicles are always heavily disguised.
There have been regular sightings of the 1-Series in Europe, where it has been driven around covered in black cladding to hide it from cameras.
Some car makers like to take publicity photographs and film television commercials in Australia.
Three years ago the then new Mini was pictured in Sydney before its release while, more recently, the Lexus RX330 luxury off-roader was also spotted in Sydney.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...388365647.html