BMW 1 Series Sedan is a CLA fighter only for China

BMW finally introduces a compact sedan, but we won't see it here.

Mercedes-Benz and Audi have made solid in-roads with small, entry-level sedans. But while the CLA-Class and A3 lure in a new group of consumers, BMW's most affordable vehicles in the US are the small X1 crossover and the 2 Series Coupe. And it's going to stay that way, even though BMW just introduced a new 1 Series Sedan in China.

Previewed at the 2015 Guangzhou Motor Show by the Concept Compact Sedan, the four-door 1 Series is a handsome little thing, like a scaled-down 5 Series but with better proportions. But unlike the 5er, the new 1 Series is, unfortunately, front-wheel-drive. It shares its UKL platform with everything from the Mini Hardtop and Clubman to the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and X1. While that'd normally allow us to make a few safe guesses about the powertrain, the China-only nature obfuscates things – expect three- and four-cylinder gas engines, and possibly a plug-in powertrain. But since it's not coming here, we're less concerned with what will power the car.

While BMW doesn't seem so keen on building an entry-level range here in the United States, the new 1 Series Sedan is the latest sign of how serious the company is taking the low end of the market in the PRC. Like a lot of cars sold in China, the new 1 is a product of the joint venture between BMW and Brilliance Automotive and is built in the PRC, alongside the 2 Series Active Tourer, X1, and 3 Series.

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