BMW Previews Potential 1 Series Four-Door with Concept Compact Sedan

A rival for the Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA?

BMW has long been know for its sporty rear-wheel-drive cars, but that tradition is beginning to change as the company moves toward models based on front-wheel-drive architectures. See, for instance, the arrival of the 2016 BMW X1, as well as the 2 Series Gran Tourer and Active Tourer models in Europe. Based on the company's new Concept Compact Sedan, that trend is likely to continue, as BMW works to fight the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class with a smaller, front-drive entry-luxury sedan.

Externally, BMW's new Concept Compact Sedan appears to keep much of the styling we've seen on the 2 Series coupe/convertible and the 3 Series sedan. The sedan's proportions are dead-on for a small three-box vehicle, with an attractive compact profile that hearkens back to older (smaller) generations of the 3 Series sedan. Inside, the interior wears its role as a concept car well. with wild flourishes and designs. Brushed aluminum surfaces complement polished wood and premium leather touchpoints. The rear seats appear to just accommodate two individuals.

This is not the first time we have heard about a tiny four-door Bimmer. A report emerged last year outlining the potential return of a small 1 Series sedan by 2017. We also saw a camouflaged mule of a small BMW sedan testing. If a production model does indeed turn out to be based on the same UKL architecture as the BMW X1 and 2 Series Gran Tourer, the car will likely be offered with both front- and all-wheel drive, leaving enthusiasts' dreams of a compact rear-wheel-drive BMW sedan in the dust.

The fact that the BMW Concept Compact Sedan was revealed in China is significant, as compact luxury sedans like this are wildly popular in that country. With this concept looking very close to production-ready, we wouldn't be surprised to see it launch in China within the next year or two, as well as in the U.S. and Europe. Expect the same assortment of gas and diesel engines as are available for the 2 Series Active and Grand Tourer and the X1 crossover.

Take a look at the BMW Concept Compact Sedan in the gallery below.

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