BMW's model proliferation may soon be in the same league as Audi's, as the company is planning a saloon version of the 1 Series. It'll become the fifth 1 Series variant, joining the three-door, five-door, coupé, and convertible versions.

This isn't official, but the word according to Autocar. It makes sense, if for no other reason than Audi is planning a saloon version of the A3 - the concept version of that car debuted at last year's Geneva Motor Show.

Because cars are getting generally bigger and fatter, the new 1 Series will be pitched as the spiritual successor to the original 3 Series, satiating the desire in some keen driver types for a nice little rear-wheel drive saloon with epic handling characteristics.

We're not fans of small saloons here in the UK - there aren't many of them about, with the VW Bora/Jetta the only notable recent success story - but elsewhere they're massively popular. Says Autocar, the 1 Series saloon will become a huge hit in China and North America.

That's said, the idea of a junior 3 Series (read: cheaper 3 Series) may well appeal to the badge-conscious buyers of the UK, especially as BMW will stuff a couple of six-cylinder engines under the bonnet. (Not at the same time, you understand.) And, natch, there'll be an M version.

It could come as early as 2015, with prices starting from around £20,000.