The new 1 Series sedan, confirmed to be sold globally in the second part of this decade, was seen near the brand's German headquarters, and the significance of the car is not only that it's the first such bodystyle for the BMW small car range, but also its underpinnings.
That's because the new BMW 1 Series range is to be built upon the same front-wheel drive UKL1 architecture that forms the basis of the new-generation Mini Cooper and the larger, more practical 2 Series Active Tourer. The 1 Series sedan will give the German brand a rival to the likes of the popular Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and the Audi A3 sedan.
Little is known about the car, including its dimensions, its weight and its powertrains, though it is highly likely the Mini and 2 Series Active Tourer's new-generation three-cylinder engine will be at the heart of the range.
In terms of styling, the new 1 Series sedan can't hide its front-drive platform, with its front wheels set back notably from the front bumper of the car. The shape of the sedan is, as expected, very similar to that seen on the larger 3 Series four-door.
The UKL1 architecture is set to underpin as many as 12 models for BMW, including the new-generation BMW X1 compact SUV, a new X2 coupe-style SUV, and new Z2 coupe.
Our sources tell us the new 1 Series sedan will be on sale in 2016, followed by the new three- and five-door hatchback versions. Front-drive examples of the 2 Series coupe and convertible will also follow.