The highly-anticipated 2017 BMW 1 Series sedan has been revealed, entering the German car maker’s range as a clear rival to Audi’s A3 sedan and the Mercedes-Benz CLA.
The 1 Series sedan has been spied a number of times over the past two years, and last year’s ‘Concept Compact Sedan’show car – revealed at the Auto Guangzhou event in China – offered the first clear look at what was to come.
But, before you hurl a deposit at your local dealer, there’s something you should know: BMW’s newest small car will be offered exclusively to the sedan-obsessed Chinese market.
Developed as a collaborative project between the German brand’s Bavarian headquarters and Chinese partner Brilliance Auto – a relationship kicked off in the early 2000s – the 1 Series sedan will be produced in China to be sold alongside the locally manufactured X1 SUV and 2 Series Active Tourer.
This news could come as a disappointment to the local arm, with BMW Australia boss Marc Werner telling CarAdviceearlier this year that a 1 Series sedan would be of great interest.
“This is certainly something that would also be interesting for the Australian market, [though] it’s too early to tell when, if we are going to launch that car. Our constraints here are right-hand drive – we need to make sure this car, if it will be launched, will include a RHD version,” Werner said.
“But [it’s] definitely interesting, [we are] in discussion with the German engineers and product management.”
Little else has been revealed about the new car, with mechanical details, equipment lists and launch timing still to be announced.
Previous reports suggest the 1 Series sedan is built on the front-wheel-drive ‘UKL’ platform that underpins the Mini rangeand the 2 Series Active Tourer, although it may also be a China-specific architecture.
The new model’s dimensions have not been confirmed, but we can likely expect the small sedan to offer capacious passenger space in the back row – a primary focus for just about any vehicle sold in China.
It remains to be seen if a 1 Series sedan will ever launch in the west, although it may be a project for the developers of the next-generation range. We might also see, instead, a 2 Series Gran Coupe, retaining the rear-wheel-drive design of the current coupe and convertible models.