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BMW sticks boot in with compact concept

Boots and all: If the Concept Compact Sedan becomes a production reality, it will give BMW ammunition against the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 Sedan.

Concept Compact Sedan previews future BMW 1 Series production sedan


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23 Nov 2015

BMW has lifted the covers off a small sedan concept at the Guangzhou motor show, previewing a possible booted version of its next-generation 1 Series.

The four-door sedan – dubbed the BMW Concept Compact Sedan – is yet to be confirmed for production, but it is believed that it has been given the green light and will, initially at least, be aimed at the Chinese market.

Sales in Western markets are likely, with most pundits predicting it will carry the 1 Series Sedan moniker.

However, BMW Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher has poured cold water on the sleek sedan's chances of making it Down Under.

“We are not looking at this vehicle for the Australian market at this stage,” she said.

BMW is without a compact sedan, while its rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz are enjoying healthy sales for their A3 Sedan and A-Class-based CLA respectively.

Reports have suggested that the third-generation 1 Series would be based on the front/all-wheel drive UKL platform that underpins the 2 Series Active Tourer hatch and the Mini Hatch, Clubman and 5-door, but this is yet to be announced by BMW.

BMW says the long wheelbase, set-back greenhouse and sweeping bonnet give the concept a stretched, yet sporty look, while it retains familiar BMW signatures such as the quad headlights and Hofmeister kink on the C-pillar.

Design elements such as the soft-touch door handles hidden below the swage line would likely be left off the production version.

The 'liquid metal bronze' paint work has pigments that change the look of the car, depending on the ambient light.

The LED headlights have a 'sawn-off' look, and the concept features 20-inch bi-colour light alloy wheels with a double-spoke design.

At the rear, the LED tail-lights have a L shape, while the rear apron features a long chrome insert that BMW says, “adds a classy accent”.

Inside, the concept has a familiar BMW look, albeit modernised, and all of the controls and lines are focussed towards the person behind the wheel, highlighted by lines that “converge in the direction of travel” on either side of the steering wheel for an effect the company calls 'cone of vision'.

There is a head-up display, Nappa leather, polished aluminium and wood, a leather-topped instrument panel, orange lighting, a panoramic sunroof and an 8.8-inch screen that sits atop the centre stack.

BMW has not revealed any information about powertrains, and there are no technical or performance details for the concept.

BMW Group senior vice-president of design Adrian van Hooydonk highlighted the size of the car and said it would feel as premium as some of the company’s larger offerings.

“The BMW Concept Compact Sedan reveals the potential we see in a compact sedan,” he said.

“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.” BMW launched a facelifted version of its rear-drive 1 Series hatch in June, adding extra standard gear and dropping the price in a bid to chip away at the lead of its German rivals.

Year to date, the Audi A3 is the top-selling premium compact car in Australia, with 4420 sales to the end of October, while Benz's A-Class has found 3077 homes. The 1 Series has dropped by 6.1 per cent year on year with 1927 units shifted in the same period.

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