BMW ’s modern history with compact cars began in 1993 with the liftback version of the 3 Series . Discontinued in 2000, the compact Bimmer returned for the 2005 model year as the 1 Series . Four different body styles were built until 2013, when BMW decided to invent a new moniker for the two-door coupe and convertible . The coupe became the 2 Series , while the three-door and five-door hatchbacks continued as the 1 Series. The second-gen hatchbacks were launched in 2011 and a refreshed model is expected to debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show . Meanwhile, BMW is working to expand the 1 Series lineup to include a sedan, giving it yet another way to compete against its long-time German rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Audi .
Created to go against the A3 Sedan and the CLA four-door coupe, the 1 Series Sedan has become more than just an idea as of September 2014. Scheduled to break cover sometime in 2016, the four-door is already being tested on the company’s new UKL platform. This detail is of great importance, as BMW is switching to front-wheel-drive, a configuration Audi and Mercedes have already embraced for the A3 and the CLA, respectively.
Updated 09/11/2014: We have prepared a new rendering for you showing the future 1 Series Sedan. It features the latest BMW design language, that includes the updated headlamp style that run into the grill. Check it out after the jump.
As we mentioned with our preliminary spy shots of the car, we expect the 1 Series Sedan to look like a shrunken 3 Series. We kept that in mind while designing this rendering, but we didn’t forget that the sedan will also blend styling cues from both the 1 Series and the 2 Series, as suggested by various spy photos with facelifted compacts from the same family.
Also included in the renderings are BMW’s updated headlamps that run into the front grille and the revised taillights. Naturally, the 1 Series Sedan is not just a smaller 3 Series. The upcoming vehicle also sports a blander design, as opposed to the sportiness mirrored by the latter.
September 9, 2014 - First testing session
Mercedes was the first of the three German automakers to introduce its compact sedan. Launched at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show , the CLA differs from the A3 Sedan and the 1 Series Sedan by featuring a coupe-like design. Sleek and aerodynamic, the CLA is actually a smaller CLS , which gives Stuttgart credit for inventing yet another niche. Thanks to its attractive design and luxurious interior, the CLA is already a success in both Europe and the United States.
The American version of the sedan can only be had as the CLA250 as of 2014. This means power is provided by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, inline-four engine rated at 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The powerplant also comes with a stop/start function to help push fuel economy to 38 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. Pricing starts from $29,900.
Gallery Mercedes CLA-Class
Audi joined the compact sedan party at the 2013 New York Auto Show by launching the A3 Sedan. Slightly wider and lower than the A3 Sportback , the sedan comes with a reconfigured rear end that includes a traditional trunk area. Unlike the CLA, the A3 Sedan is available in more guises and a choice of three engines. The gasoline range beings with the 1.8 TFSI that generates 170 ponies and 200 pound-feet of torque, resulting in a 0-to-60-mph sprint of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The fastest A3 is powered by a 2.0 TFSI unit that churns 220 horses and 258 pound-feet. The added power slashes exactly two seconds of the sedan’s 0-to-60-mph benchmark, dropping it at 5.2 seconds.
Lastly, the A3 Sedan can be had with a diesel powerplant too. The 2.0 TDI is good for 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of twist. It’s a little slow from naught to 60 mph at 8.1 seconds, but its EPA-estimated 43 mpg on the highway make it the most efficient vehicle in its class. Pricing is identical to that of the CLA, as the A3 retails from $29,900.