BMW has used the Auto Guangzhou 2015 show in China to debut its new Compact Sedan concept. The concept clearly indicates BMW’s intentions to take on the Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA compact sedans.

The Compact Sedan, and it is a proper four-door sedan, is only a concept at this stage as no official production dates have been announced. It will be most likely that it’ll debut as the sedan counterpart of the next generation 1-Series.

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There’s also more to why BMW chose to debut the Compact Sedan at a Chinese motor show. China loves sedans so it makes sense for BMW to target the growing young market there. That’s not such a bad thing for the rest of the world because Chinese buyers want a car with ample headroom and legroom.

“The BMW Concept Compact Sedan reveals the potential we see in a compact sedan.” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of the BMW Group at the Guangzhou show. The production version of the Compact Sedan will surely be destined for China. Whether other markets will get it is still uncertain.

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Hence BMW’s decision to shape the Compact Sedan concept like a conventional sedan rather than a “four-door” coupe with a sloping roofline. BMW said in a press release that they conducted “in-depth observation and research for the segment’s development trends and target customers.”

It certainly has all the traditional design cues of a BMW; the kidney grille, sharp LED taillights, and the Hofmeister kink. But if you look closely, the bonnet isn’t quite as long as it should be. That’s because the Compact Sedan, or 1-Series Sedan, will be almost certainly front-wheel drive. BMW hasn’t revealed any official technical details on the Compact Sedan but expect the road-going version to sit on BMW Group’s UKL platform, as well as the next generation 1-Series Hatch.

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Which is a real shame if you ask me because I think this looks rather nice. And with a “proper” rear-wheel drive BMW chassis (the current 1-Series platform is perfectly fine), this would take sales away from the front-wheel drive A3 and CLA.

With the 3-Series getting bigger by the generation this would’ve been the best opportunity for BMW to give people a compact, rear-drive sedan. Something that’s been missing in the market for far too long. Who knows, maybe BMW will surprise us all and will make the production version rear-wheel drive.

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If not then fingers crossed the 2-Series remains rear-driven and they’ll do a four-door Gran Coupe version instead. What are you thoughts on the Compact Sedan?

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