Mercedes-Benz launched the CLA four-door coupe, Audi replied with the A3 Sedan, so what is BMW doing? Well, the Bavarians have reportedly started preliminary work on a rival for these cars, a front-wheel drive 1-Series that is scheduled to launch in 2017.
According to a report from AutoWeek, the new four-door, internally known as the NES (New Entry-level Sedan) at BMW’s headquarters, will be part of a new range of front-wheel drive models planned by the automaker.
“The NES is integral to our growth plans,” said an unnamed BMW insider. “It will be an important pillar in the future 1-series lineup, particularly in the U.S. and China, where sales of small premium-brand four-door sedans are on the rise,” the source added.
The 1-Series sedan will use BMW’s new UKL (Unter Klasse, or entry-level) platform and will become the brand’s most affordable four-door sedan. The new FWD platform will be inaugurated by the all-new Mini hatchback at the LA Auto Show in November and will also be used by the upcoming BMW 1-Series Gran Turismo, previewed by the Active Tourer study.
Production of the 1-Series sedan is expected to begin sometime in 2016, probably around the same time its rivals will get a facelift. Like the Audi A3 Sedan and the Mercedes-Benz CLA, the BMW 1-Series sedan will be available with optional all-wheel drive.
The engine lineup is said to include transversely mounted 3- and 4-cylinder petrol and diesel units, with a plug-in gas-electric hybrid tipped to be offered later as an EfficientDynamics model.
The report also states that the 1-Series sedan will launch ahead of the third-generation 1-Series hatchback, which will ditch rear-wheel drive for front-wheel drive.
By Dan Mihalascu