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 confirmed that the 1 Series will also get a sedan version.

Rumored for a few years now, and spotted testing under heavy camouflage as early as 2013, the 1 Series Sedan was announced in July 2016 as a model designed exclusively for the Chinese market. The car has yet to be unveiled to the public as of this writing, but an official launch is scheduled later in 2016. BMW did release a teaser picture showing that the sedan’s design is heavily based on that of the 1 Series hatchback. However, while the styling cues are similar, the platform underneath is not. Unlike the hatch, 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.

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. 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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Having seen a three quarter view of the 1 Series Sedan in BMW’s preview picture, we already know that the four-door borrows most of its styling cues from the 1 Series hatchback, while also sporting features we’ve already seen on the 3 Series, such as the side panels, roof shape, and glass house. In short, the 1 Series Sedan is pretty much a shrunken 3 Series with its very own grille and headlamps.

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

Based on that, 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. 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. Even next to a Mercedes-AMG CLA45, its primary competitor in this niche.

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.

The interior of the 1 Series Sedan is still a mystery as of this writing, but the spy shots suggest that most features will be borrowed from the hatchback. This automatically means that it will also share elements with the 2 Series, which should result in the 1M Sedan being very similar to the M2 Coupe on the inside.

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

As an M model, it 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.

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 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. If this proves to be the case, the 1M Sedan will be a bit more expensive than its main competitors, the Mercedes-AMG CLA45.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG CLA45

2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA45
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Should BMW build the 1M Sedan, it will finally have a proper competitor for the AMG CLA45. Based on the very popularCLA four-door coupe, the AMG CLA45 is the smallest high-performance sedan you can buy from the German brand. Powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that was recently upgraded to 375 horsepower, the CLA45 sprints from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds and has a top speed limited to 155 mph. Pricing starts from $49,500 for the 2016 model year, which is significantly less than what the 1M Sedan is expected to cost.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 here.

Audi RS3 Sedan

2015 Audi RS3 Exterior
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We finally received all of the information on the 2015 Audi RS3, and boy was it worth the wait!

Much like BMW, Audi has yet to launch a sedan version of the RS3 Sportback, but unlike the Munich-based firm, the four-ring brand is already testing a high-performance four-door and a release is reportedly due for the 2018 model year. Essentially a RS3 Sportback with a proper trunk, the beefed-up sedan should have a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine under its hood. Borrowed from the TT-RS coupe, the unit should crank out around 400 horsepower in the sedan, enabling it to hit 60 mph from a standing start in just four seconds. Pricing is unknown, but the RS3 Sedan could the most expensive model in its segment with a sticker of around $54,000.

Read more about the Audi RS3 Sedan here.

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 set to hit showrooms really soon — albeit only in China at first — it would be 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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