BMW is thinking about making a 1 Series sedan, likely to be the direct result of the recent launch of Audi’s A3 sedan and the availability of the CLA-Class from Mercedes-Benz. We learned from Auto Express that BMW expects to achieve gains in the Chinese market if it releases a traditional three-box version of the newest 1 Series.
Buyers in China and the U.S. prefer traditional sedans and are not as fond of hatchbacks. This means that BMW will be up to a challenge if it sells its 1 Series hatchback in China as an entry-level model. This is probably the reason for Audi’s move to make a sedan version of the new 2014 A3 for both China and the U.S. even if this model is offered as a hatchback in Europe. It is for this same reason that the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class sedan was offered in China instead of the European A-Class hatchback.
When interviewed by Auto Express, BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said that BMW is “never shy” of entering new segments. He implied that if the proposal to build a BMW 1 Series sedan doesn’t get approved, an entry-level sedan under the Mini brand may be built instead. Notably, the same platform will be used by the next-generation Mini Cooper and future front-wheel drive BMWs just like the next 1 Series.
It’s believed that young drivers in China will be attracted to BMW’s small sedan. The disadvantage of the 3 Series is its high cost while some are predicting that a 1 Series hatch would not do well. BMW is planning to sell the new 2 Series coupe and convertible, which are based on the 1 Series hatchback, in the U.S. A 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that delivers 240 hp is expected to power the 228i. Meanwhile, the M235i will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with a 320 hp output. Production of the coupe will begin this November. It’s scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. by early next year.