New BMW 1 Series Sedan Rendering Imagines 2 Series Gran Coupe Alternative

2023 BMW 1 Series Sedan rendering by Theottle 18 photos
Photo: Theottle on YouTube
2023 BMW 1 Series Sedan rendering by Theottle2023 BMW 1 Series Sedan rendering by Theottle2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan (F52)
The 1er was a bold move on BMW’s part. Essentially the successor of the 3er Compact, the 1 Series had the devil’s job of attracting new customers to the Bavarian automaker without diluting the 3 Series and – of course – without messing it up like the 3er Compact before it. Against all odds, the naysayers were proven wrong by the first generation’s huge popularity.
Originally launched with five doors (E87), the 1 Series Hatchback was joined by a three-door hatch (E81) in 2007, as well as a coupe (E82) and cabriolet (E88). The E8x accounted for a fifth of the marque’s global sales in 2008, so yeah, we can solidly consider it a proper commercial success.

The original was replaced by the F20 five-door hatchback and F21 three-door hatchback. Both of them lived on through 2019, when the F40 launched exclusively with five doors. The most telling difference over its predecessor is the switch to front-wheel drive. It’s underpinned by the Untere Klasse platform BMW also employs in the MINI, and by going FWD, the 1er had sadly alienated many BMW enthusiasts in the process.

The thing is, the writing was on the wall prior to 2019 when the F40 entered production. Remember the F52 that launched in 2016 at the Auto Guangzhou in China? It’s a China-exclusive sedan, a four-door 1 Series manufactured exclusively in the People’s Republic of China at the Tiexi plant in Shenyang by the German outfit’s joint venture with Brilliance.

Why doesn’t BMW sell it stateside or in Europe as well? The answer to that question comes in the form of the 2 Series Gran Coupe, a four-door sedan with a slightly nicer roofline than a traditional four-door sedan. Mercedes-Benz knows very well how cannibalization works due to its A-Class Sedan selling alongside the more expensive CLA Coupe. The Munich-based automaker didn’t want to make the same mistake as Merc, and that’s why the 2er GC soldiers on alone in these parts of the world.

For those who prefer a more body style, pixel artist Theottle is much obliged to present them with a rendering of what might have been. While not a bad car per se, a brand-new 1 Series Sedan would be detrimental to BMW’s prestige in a lot of markets outside of China. The A-Class Sedan, for example, was retired from the U.S. after model year 2022, leaving the CLA Coupe to soldier on alone, not hindered by a cheaper alternative.

BMW didn’t even dare bring the 1 Series Hatchback to the United States, where prospective customers are presented with a handful of FWD-based vehicles. The 2 Series Gran Coupe mentioned earlier comes to mind, as does the X1 which also rocks the Untere Klasse vehicle architecture.

On that note, what do you prefer solely on an exterior styling basis? Does Theottle’s rendering look better to you than the 2 Series Gran Coupe?

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Editor's note: 1 Series Sedan for China pictured in the gallery.

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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