As BMW's 3 Series continues to grow bigger and shift upmarket with each generation, so grows the void that could easily accommodate a smaller BMW sedan.
Given the positive acclaim garnered by the new Audi A3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA, BMW must be itching to get in on the action - although its "better late than never" entry is still a good four years away.
Having spoken to a company insider, Autoweek revealed that BMW has given the green light to a four-door version of the 1-Series, which will see light of day in 2017.
However, here comes the kicker: the publication also reports that the new entry-level sedan will be based on BMW's new front-wheel drive architecture.
HUH? A FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE BMW?
Of course, traditional BMW petrol-heads who enjoy finely-balanced rear-wheel drive road holding will no doubt cry blue murder, but then consider that 80 percent of 1 Series owners think their car is front-wheel driven - a statistic that BMW openly admitted to a few years back.
Although the imminent 2-Series two-door range will be rear-wheel driven, it's already well known that BMW will soon launch a front-wheel drive 1 Series GT MPV, based on the Active Tourer concept. Now all the signs are pointing towards the 2017 sedan and 2018 hatchback also going the FWD route.
AWD TOO... AND M-POWER
Thankfully, this architecture allows for all-wheel drive versions, which at least opens the door for high-performance 'M' models.
Just don't expect a lusty straight-six to feature. According to Autocar, such models are set to follow the times with a highly-tuned 2-litre four-cylinder motor. And if AMG can squeeze 265kW from an engine of that size for its A45 AMG, surely BMW is not going to aim much lower than that mark.
As for the more humble 1 Series sedan and hatch models, our money is on BMW's upcoming 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol being the mainstay of the range. A lot gutsier than it sounds, the engine can be tuned to produce between 90kW and 165kW.
Of course, these smaller engines will reap an economy advantage just like the front-wheel drive layout will increase interior space and reduce production costs.
Yet one question remains: does BMW deserve a thumbs-down for straying too far from its traditional values or a pat on the back for boldly following the times? Tell us what you think…