Known for now as the Concept Compact Sedan, the vehicle shown at Auto Guangzhou 2015 today is likely our latest look at a car long expected, and quite regularly spied in varying degrees of disguise on European roads.
It’s also possible that, depending on which line it joins, the Compact Sedan could preview either a facelift or the next-generation front-end styling for either the 1 Series or 2 Series - if not both.
When the Compact Sedan concept makes its way to production, it will debut as BMW’s answer to the Audi A3 sedan and the larger - but still ‘small’ - CLA.
It is also expected that the 1 Series sedan will ride not on the current hatch’s rear-wheel drive platform, but the same ‘UKL’ front-wheel drive setup that underpins the 2 Series Active Tourer and the Mini Cooper range.
A key aspect of the concept’s production intention can also be seen in the cabin shape: reaching further backward than usual, the Compact Sedan’s glasshouse is designed to offer greater rear space - highlighting its focus on the legroom-mad Chinese market.
“The BMW Concept Compact Sedan reveals the potential we see in a compact sedan,” said BMW Group design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk.
“It not only gives the driver and passengers generous amounts of space within a compact area but does so while providing the sporting ability you’d expect from BMW and an elegance otherwise only available in large BMW sedans.
“The quality and intrinsic value of the BMW Concept Compact Sedan are clear signals of our premium intentions for the car.”
Mechanical details have not been revealed, but if indeed the concept is front-wheel drive - which the long overhang at the front would suggest - it would likely be powered by the same turbocharged three- and four-cylinder petrol engines offered with the Mini range and other models.
The 1 Series sedan is expected to hit global markets sometime next year, with new front-wheel drive 1 Series hatch models to follow.