What If the New BMW 1 Series Came to Canada to Fight Inflation?

A number of BMW fans and compact luxury car buyers must have raised an eyebrow upon finding out that the updated 2025 3 Series will carry a base MSRP of $56,900 in Canada. Just four years ago, you could have one for slightly less than $45,000.

The 2 Series is obviously more affordable but comes as a coupe only. Ironically, the cheapest BMW for some right now is the all-electric i4 in eDrive35 trim, what with federal and provincial EV rebates amounting to as much as $12,000 in Quebec. However, despite a respectable 412 km of range, it’s not suited for everybody.

The point is that the gateway to the BMW lineup is far less accessible than it used to be, and this week’s introduction of the fourth-generation 1 Series in Europe—more like an evolution of the third generation—got us thinking.

Photo: BMW

This subcompact car is available exclusively in five-door configuration. Similar to its predecessors, it has no chance of coming to North America, a market that killed the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback and spurns the Audi A3 Sportback. You can blame American drivers, who prefer sedans. But what if it did go on sale here, would you consider it?

Sharing a few styling cues with the redesigned X2 crossover, the new 1 Series is 4.36 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.46 metres tall, making it slightly smaller than the aforementioned A-Class but pretty much identical in size to a Toyota Corolla Hatchback. The trunk barely holds 380 litres of cargo since BMW opted to give more space to rear-seat occupants, but it can expand to 1,200 litres when folding the seatbacks.

Photo: BMW

Under the hood, we’ll skip the diesel options and focus on the gasoline engines. The base 120 model (there’s no “i” suffix anymore) features a turbocharged 1.5-litre triple-cylinder engine like the entry-level MINI Cooper used to offer before its 2025 redesign. It generates 168 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, allowing 0-100 km/h acceleration in 7.8 seconds. This is decent, for sure, but the real star is the M135 xDrive model with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 312 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque—the same mill that’s found in sporty versions of BMW’s smallest crossovers. Sprints from 0-100 km/h are a matter of 4.9 seconds. The manual gearbox is no longer offered, leaving the dual-clutch Steptronic as the only transmission.

Finally, the interior is highlighted by a driver-oriented, curved display that pairs a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with a 10.7-inch centre touchscreen, again mirroring the X2. BMW’s latest infotainment system, iDrive 9, is included. Synthetic seating surfaces come standard, while a panoramic glass roof is optional.

Photo: BMW

European pricing for the new BMW 1 Series has yet to be announced, so it’s hard to tell how cheap it really is in relation to the 2 Series and 3 Series. If you ask us, we’d love to have it in Canada—U.S. be damned.

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