The highly-anticipated 2017 BMW 1 Series sedan has been revealed today, entering the German car maker's range as a clear rival to Audi's A3 sedan and the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

The 1 Series sedan has been spied a number of times over the past two years, and last year's 'Concept Compact Sedan' show car - revealed at the Auto Guangzhou event in China - offered the first clear look at what was to come.

But, before you hurl a deposit at your local dealer, there's something you should know: BMW's newest small car will be offered exclusively to the sedan-obsessed Chinese market.

Developed as a collaborative project between the German brand's Bavarian headquarters and Chinese partner Brilliance Auto - a relationship kicked off in the early 2000s - the 1 Series sedan will be produced in China to be sold alongside the locally manufactured X1 SUV and 2 Series Active Tourer.

This news could come as a disappointment to the local arm, with BMW Australia boss Marc Werner telling CarAdvice earlier this year that a 1 Series sedan would be of great interest.

“This is certainly something that would also be interesting for the Australian market, [though] it’s too early to tell when, if we are going to launch that car. Our constraints here are right-hand drive – we need to make sure this car, if it will be launched, will include a RHD version," Werner said.

“But [it’s] definitely interesting, [we are] in discussion with the German engineers and product management."

 

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Little else has been revealed about the new car, with mechanical details, equipment lists and launch timing still to be announced.

Previous reports suggest the 1 Series sedan is built on the front-wheel-drive 'UKL' platform that underpins the Mini range and the 2 Series Active Tourer, although it may also be a China-specific architecture.

The new model's dimensions have not been confirmed, but we can likely expect the small sedan to offer capacious passenger space in the back row - a primary focus for just about any vehicle sold in China.

It remains to be seen if a 1 Series sedan will ever launch in the west, although it may be a project for the developers of the next-generation range. We might also see, instead, a 2 Series Gran Coupe, retaining the rear-wheel-drive design of the current coupe and convertible models.

For earlier reports on the new 1 Series sedan, and reviews of the 1 Series hatch, see our links below.