I was just reading a piece on the plans to bring the 1-series to these shores, I believe in late 2008, but not the full complement of body styles available in Europe, i.e. no hatchback or wagon here, only a sedan (maybe a coupe) and a convertible, if I've got it right. My quibble isn't so much with the body styles as the engine choices. Europe evidently can choose from among three 4-cylinder engines including a diesel, while we're slated to get just two versions of the 6-, one at ~215 hp, the other at ~230.
Frankly I think this is stupid on BMW's part, going for the "pocket rocket" image rather than provide a sensible entry level model having the cachet of the nameplate; and sensibilities about fuel economy getting more rational nowadays with global warming, BMW should have something in its offerings addressing that. BMW 4-cylinder engines are terrific, efficient powerplants (of course we here in America look upon them as being weak and cheap), and the newer diesel technology is resulting in some very fuel efficient and powerful and clean engines.
BMW has got itself in somewhat of a bind in the American market, figuring it needs some entry model, but it can't commit fully to a reasonable one because a) they don't want to "cheapen" their image by appearing downscale, and b) they don't want to bite into the Mini market, and perhaps the 3-series to some extent as well. So what they've done is come up with an overpowered, less utilitarian, overpriced offering to maintain a certain "brand image," while chasing away potential new-time buyers to look elsewhere for something just as good if not better, and less expensive to operate as well as purchase outright. It's too bad, BMW could be doing something smart with the 1-, cashing in on a number of trends coming together, and instead they're listening to the idiot marketers.