BMW will soon hunt down the Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45, with this Compact Sedan Concept providing a close look at a new 1 Series spin-off.
Officially this concept is to appease the sedan-loving Chinese market, reinforced by its debut at the Guangzhou motor show this week. Less officially but almost certainly, it will become a next-generation 1 Series spin-off – which means front- and all-wheel drive only.
“The BMW Compact Sedan Concept reveals the potential we see in a compact sedan,” firstly confirms BMW design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk.
“It not only gives the driver and passengers generous amounts of space within a compact area, but does so while providing the sporting ability you'd expect from BMW and an elegance otherwise only available in large BMW sedans.”
That ‘generous amounts of space’ bit gives clue to the FWD platform. Although this may mean enthusiasts won’t see a rear-driven compact BMW sedan, they will at least soon see the first performance compact BMW sedan since the E30 3 Series handed the baton to the larger E46 and larger-again E90.
BMW already makes an xDrive version of the M135i hatch for overseas markets. The brand also currently produces the new X1 –the FWD/AWD platform on which the next 1 Series will be based – with a 170kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo that drives four wheels and delivers a 6.5-second 0-100km/h.
It isn’t difficult to put two-and-two together.BMW will mate its 3.0-litre turbo six exclusively with the all-wheel drive platform to create a next sub-M performance model to undercut the 4.9-second 0-100km/h of the current M135i.
While the recently revealed M2 coupe will do honours battling with the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45, the production version of this Compact Sedan Concept will likely tap the rear bar of the latter while passing an S3 sedan.
Especially on the guard-filling 20-inch rims of the concept, this Compact Sedan looks terrific, delivering classic BMW proportions with the same short bootlid that makes the Audi small sedan look so fine.
For those who can’t have an M235i or M2 for their lack of back doors, the sedan (to either be named 1 Series or 2 Series) will arrive to provide a BMW four-door option, likely within the next 18 months.