The 3 Series has been the entry-level saloon for years but now, a new model from BMW is taking that honour – the 1 Series. We first saw the Compact Sedan Concept at the Guangzhou motor show last November and it’s since been green lit for production. But, before you go rushing to your local dealer to slap down a deposit for the saloon, you should know that the newbie is destined only for the Chinese market where it’ll do battle against the likes of the Mercedes CLA and Audi A3. Hmm, we wonder why BMW doesn’t want to fight its rivals all over the world?
The production model looks very similar to the concept apart for a reduction in chrome trim; to be built in the People’s Republic in collaboration with BMW and Chinese partner BMW Brilliance Automotive, its proportions are very small and compact and it features the typical double kidney grille along with LED double round headlights and the iconic Hofmeister kink and rides on a set of five twin-spoke alloy wheels. It’s expected to be front-wheel drive and underpinned by the same platform as the 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer. Power could be supplied by three- and four-cylinder turbocharged motors which BMW says will “guarantee unparalleled driving pleasure” mated to six- and eight-speed automatic gearboxes.
BMW says that it is an “exclusive model tailored and aligned to the needs of Chinese customers,” and by that we guess they mean it’ll have loads of rear legroom (they love that over there…) and pack all sorts of ConnectedDrive technologies making for a decent model in the premium compact segment but since BMW said that premium compact car segment is the “fastest growing segment worldwide…” maybe we will see the 1 Series in other countries soon. Here’s hoping.