The China-special BMW 1 Series Sedan is officially launched. Developed specifically for the needs of the Chinese market, the 1 Series Sedan is built at BMW’s Shenyang plant, which it operates in collaboration with its local joint venture partner BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd.
Based on the UKL platform, the F52 1 Series Sedan is notable for being the only sedan in BMW’s line-up that powers its front wheels with its engine mounted transversely. Notably, BMW’s press materials mention its ‘almost equally balanced axle load distribution’ as opposed the usual insistence on 50:50 weight spread between its two axles.
External dimensions of the 1 Series Sedan measure 4,456mm in length, 1,803mm in width and 1,446mm in height – it is larger than both the 1 Series hatchback and 2 Series Coupe, but smaller than the 3 Series sedan. Its 2,670mm wheelbase, however, is shared with the 2 Series Active Tourer, the model which it is most closely related to.
Unlike other models in the BMW line-up that are offered elsewhere in the world, the 1 Series Sedan’s range of engines are petrol only, although they still hail from the same B-series modular engine family that perpetuate much of the BMW and MINI range. All engines come standard with automatic transmission.
The base 118i kicks things off with 136hp and 220Nm from its B38 1.5-litre 3-cylinder engine, which is paired with a 6-speed transmission. Above it comes the B48 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, fitted with an 8-speed transmission as standard, in two states of tune – 192hp/280Nm in the 120i and 231hp/350Nm in the range-topping 125i.
Despite BMW’s insistence that the 1 Series Sedan is to be made exclusively for the China market, there remains the possibility that this model will still go on and influence BMW’s global line-up.
For starters, this is a tantalizing model for BMW to pit against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 Sedan. Secondly, even if BMW stays true to its word of keeping the 1 Series Sedan exclusive to the Chinese market, its engineering underpinnings are readily adapted for use in the next-generation 1 Series hatchback and 2 Series Coupe.