The 1 Series lineup could soon expand to include a high-performance sedan

The second-generation 1 Series went on sale in 2011 as a redesigned version of the compact that BMW first introduced in 2004. But, unlike its predecessor, the current model consists of only three- and five-door hatchbacks, while the two-door coupe and convertible are being sold under the 2 Series. Pretty much a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3, the current 1 Series stands out as the only vehicle in its niche to use a rear-wheel drive architecture. In 2016, BMW unveiled the first sedan version of the 1 Series and word has it that an M-badged performance version will follow.

Although styling cues are similar, the platform underneath the sedan model is not. Unlike the hatchback, the four-door sedan rides on a front-wheel drive platform shared with the Mini Cooper; the same that will underpin the third-generation 1 Series. This is what makes an M version somewhat complicated due to the traditional RWD layout of the nameplate, but BMW definitely needs a competitor for the hot Audi RS3 Sedan.

Although BMW said that the sedan won’t be sold outside China for the time being, we do believe that the four-door will eventually find its way into other markets, including Europe and North America. When that happens, the German brand will expand the lineup to include more trims, including performance oriented versions. This could happen as early as 2018, but nothing has been confirmed so far. An M-badged version would definitely be in the works in that scenario, which is why we went ahead and asked our designer to come up with a 1M Sedan. More about its design features and what it may bring to the table in our speculative review below.

Keep reading to find out more about the 2018 BMW 1M Sedan.

Exterior

2018 BMW 1M Sedan High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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It's pretty easy to imagine that the 1M Sedan will be a smaller 3 Series with front and rear fascias taken of the M2 coupe

Needless to say, the 1M Sedan will be a smaller 3 Series with front and rear fascias taken of the M2 coupe. At least that’s what logic dictates and we think that BMW would be a fool not to transfer the awesome and very aggressive design for the two door onto a four-door sedan. Our artist designed the 1M Sedan with these exact specs and needless to say, it looks the part. And while the 1 Series Sedan isn’t exactly a looker, it’s hard not to like the 1M Sedan, especially with blacked-out chrome trim and the M2’s wild-looking front bumper.

Interior

2016 - 2018 BMW M2
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Note: Interior from BMW M2 shown here.

As an M model, it should be loaded with M-specific features

As an M model, the sedan should be loaded with M-specific features, including sport seats that are wrapped in black Dakota leather with blue contrast stitching and adjustable side bolsters. The steering wheel should get similar features, while the dashboard will be enhanced by means of carbon-fiber inserts above the glove compartment and around the driver side A/C vents. The center console will also receive carbon-fiber trim, as well as blue stitching on the knee pad, and an M-spec gear shifter.

Much like other M-spec cars, the instrument cluster will get specific dials and needles and a tachometer reading up to 8,000 rpm. The cabin should be rounded off by M logos on the tachometer and door sill plates and Alcantara on the door panel inserts, parking brake boot, and shift lever boot. Design and gadgets aside, the 1M Sedan will have a roomier rear section with legroom and shoulder room significantly better compared to the hatchback model. Passenger access will also be easier with the extra rear doors.

Drivetrain

2016 - 2018 BMW M2
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Note: Engine from BMW M2 shown here.

Logic dictates that the 1M Sedan will get its juice from the same turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six powerplant in the BMW M2. The unit cranks out 365 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 343 pound-feet of torque available from as low as 1,400 rpm, some impressive figures give the size and weight of a subcompact sedan. However, BMW chose to replace the M2 with the M2 Competition, a slightly more aggressive and more powerful version. This car is powered by a different 3.0-liter engine, based on that in the BMW M3 and M4, and rated at 404 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It remains to be seen whether BMW will go with the former or the latter.

On the other hand, the big mystery here is what kind of layout will the sedan have. If it is based entirely on the standard model, we’re talking about a front-wheel drive car. However, BMW has yet to develop M-spec models on FWD architecture.

Look for the manual version to hit 60 mph in around 4.6 seconds and the automatic to achieve the same benchmark in 4.4 ticks.

Obviously there is a beginning for everything, but BMW will most likely avoid a front-wheel drive M in order to not upset purists. So, the Germans either have to use a modified platform for the 1M sedan or simply sell it with all-wheel drive only. The latter scenario is more likely to happen.

Transmission options will probably include the standard six-speed manual and optional dual-clutch automatic that comes in the M2. The Active M differential for optimized traction and enhanced stability should also be on the table.

Performance-wise, it should be a tad slower than the M2. Look for the manual version to hit 60 mph in around 4.6 seconds and the automatic to achieve the same benchmark in 4.4 ticks.

Other performance-enhancing features should include Michelin Pilot Sport tires, a wider track, and a lightweight, M Sport suspension. Stopping will probably come from M compound brakes with 15-inch rotors and four-piston calipers up front and 14.5-inch rotors and two-piston units in the rear.

Prices

It’s difficult to estimate a sticker price for a vehicle that’s far from being confirmed for production, but we can use the M2’s pricing as a starting point. With the coupe retailing from $51,700 for the 2016 model year, the sedan could fetch around $53,000 before options.

Competition

Audi RS3 Sedan

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 690336

The RS3 Sedan is the only high-performance, premium compact available on the market as of May 2018. The compact sedan was introduced in 2017, so it benefits from Audi’s most recent design language with more angular styling cues. Highlights that set it apart from the mundane A3 Sedan include a redesigned, more aggressive bumper, a honeycomb grille, a lowered ride height, and a sporty diffuser. Motivation comes from a twin-turbo, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine borrowed from the TT-RS. The unit is rated at 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque and enables the sedan to hit 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph as standard, but it can be raised to 174 mph optionally. Pricing for the German sedan starts from $54,900 in the United States.

Read our full review of the 2018 Audi RS3 Sedan.

Mercedes-AMG A45 Sedan

Is This What the Mercedes-AMG A45 Sedan Will Look Like?
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Mercedes-Benz finally gave in and created a sedan version of the A-Class hatchback. Unveiled in 2018 in China, it was confirmed as a global model with U.S. sales to commence in 2019. Like all existing Mercedes model, the A-Class Sedan will definitely get an AMG version, most likely called the AMG A45 Sedan. Not much is known about it at this point, but the new design, the fancy interior, and the state-of-the-art technology will make it the most advanced vehicle in this niche. Power should come from a beefed-up 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine based on the one used in the previous AMG A45 hatchback. Output is rumored to sit around the 400-horsepower mark, which should push the sedan from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.1 seconds, to go with a top speed of up to 174 mph. Pricing should be similar to the competition, between $53,000 to $57,000 in the U.S.

Read our speculative review of the upcoming 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 Sedan.

Conclusion

2018 BMW 1M Sedan High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 683521

Although it’s nothing more than a rendering as of this writing, the 1M Sedan is a cool idea that would benefit BMW in the future. The Germans could have the model in the works as we speak, and it would make a lot of sense given the current market trends. All automakers are expanding into all sorts of new segments, and while most companies focus on crossovers and SUVs, firms such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are known for inventing new niches for small vehicles. This is exactly what Mercedes-Benz did with the CLA and later on with the performance-oriented AMG CLA45. While Audi joined the subcompact sedan ranks in 2013, BMW had yet to do the same until the 1 Series Sedan was announced in 2016. With the latter already available in China, it would be a shame for BMW to not exploit the model at full capacity and develop a 1M version. Or at least an M140i sedan with enough power to give its competitors a run for their money.

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    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Might not make it outside China
    • * Purists might not agree with a FWD M car
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