A prototype for BMW’s oft-rumored 1-Series sedan has finally been spotted. Yes, after watching Audi and Mercedes-Benz have all the fun in the luxury compact sedan segment with their respective A3 and CLA-Class, BMW now wants a piece of the action.
As the spy shots reveal, BMW’s entry to the segment, which will be known simply as the 1-Series, will feature a conventional notchback sedan body with proportions typical of the BMW brand. Our photographer tells us that the prototype is quite a bit shorter than the 3-Series, and the trunk lid relatively high compared to the rest of the body.
The basis for the new vehicle is the front-wheel-drive UKL platform that debuted in the 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop
and also features in the 2016 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer
. As recently reported, this platform could end up in seven different BMW-badged vehicles
, including this new 1-Series.
The vehicle’s engine lineup should mirror that of the 2-Series Active Tourer, meaning a series of three- and four-cylinder units, all of them turbocharged. The top model initially should be a 225i, powered by a 231-horsepower four-cylinder. Both front- and all-wheel drive is expected, meaning BMW will have a front-driving sedan in its lineup for the first time.
Further down the track we expect a 1-Series M Performance model
. This one is also expected to feature a four-cylinder, but with output dialed up to around 300 horsepower. We’ve heard that BMW has designed its UKL platform to be flexible enough to install a tranverse-mounted in-line six-cylinder, but it’s too early to tell if we’ll see such an engine fitted to the 1-Series. If so, it will likely be for a dedicated M car—just don't expect it to be badged an M1.
Look for a debut of the new 1-Series in late 2015 or early the following year. At present we expect the car to land in U.S. showrooms during 2016, as a 2017 model. Pricing should start around the $30k mark._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.