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BMW 1 Series dead in US after 2013

Fri, 18 Oct 2013

With its successor set to bow at the Detroit Auto Show in a couple of months' time, word's come down from BMW that 2013 will indeed be the end of the line for the BMW 1 Series — at least in the US. It will remain available elsewhere in the world as a three-door and five-door hatch. The coupe and convertible, meanwhile, are being replaced by the 2 Series, in convention with BMW's new naming scheme.

The classic European entry-lux entries (C-Class, A4, 3 Series) haven't been particuarly entry-level for a while now; the 1 was introduced to fill that gap. Heralded as a successor to the 2002 the 1 has had the North American entry-entry-lux-with-a-trunk segment all to itself until this year, when Mercedes launched the CLA. Audi's A3 Sedan arrives on our shores early next year — we recently took a cloth-upholstered, mousey-motored (as opposed to Mouse-motored) version for a spin around Dublin.

We don't yet have a sale date for the 2 Series, but we can't imagine BMW wants to stay out of the segment for long. That said, while the Bimmer, Audi and Benz will undoubtedly vie for sales, the three cars don't directly compete when it comes to fundamental configuration. Mercedes has put forth a swoop-shoop-four-door coupe, the Volksy Sons of August Horch are offering a sedan with legit rear-seat room, while the Bavarian Motor Workers' Party is sticking with the two-door coupe formula it arrived with. For now, at least. Expect the 1 Series to return as an FWD sedan around 2016.

Who will prosper most in the ensuing few years? With its blend of practicality and current brand heat, we wouldn't be surprised if it's Audi. The 2, however, will come armed (at least in uplevel trim) with something the Benz and Audi can't quite match — the glorious wargh and spittle of BMW's turbo-huffed straight six.

By Davey G. Johnson