Autoweek reports the new BMW 1 Series sedan – codenamed NES (new entry-level sedan) – will form part of a range of front- and all-wheel-drive models that the luxury Bavarian car maker says will be fundamental to its expansion in lower-priced segments around the world.
“The NES is integral to our growth plans,” a BMW insider said.
“It will be an important pillar in the future 1 Series line-up, particularly in the US and China, where sales of small premium-brand four-door sedans are on the rise.”
The 1 Series sedan will compete directly with the new Audi A3 sedan (pictured above) and the Mercedes-Benz CLA, both of which are underpinned by similar front-/all-wheel-drive platforms. The CLA will launch in Australia with a $49,990 starting price next month, with the A3 sedan to follow early in 2014.
BMW’s compact sedan is still believed to be more than three years away, with Autoweek suggesting it will not arrive until 2017. It will be followed by the third-generation 1 Series hatch, which will trade the rear-wheel-drive layout of the current car for the sedan’s front-drive set-up.
The new platform, known as UKL, will make its production car debut in November when the third-generation Mini Cooper is revealed at the Los Angeles auto show.