BMW has officially revealed its smallest four-door today, with the 1 Series Sedan making an online debut ahead of its market introduction later this year.
But as yet there’s just one market that will get to enjoy it: China.
While BMW has long suffered without a compact entry-level sedan in its lineup, the company will only sell the new 1 Series Sedan to its mainland Chinese customers. Meanwhile its main rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz sell their small sedans (the A3 Sedan and CLA-Class respectively) globally.
Why? Besides Chinese preferences for sedans over hatches, BMW describes the 1 Series Sedan as being “tailored and aligned to the needs of Chinese customers”. Reading between the lines, its China-specific specification may not suit the tastes of a global audience.
The 1 Series Sedan will be built exclusively in China as a joint venture between BMW and Chinese automaker Brilliance Auto, and will be the fifth BMW model to be built in China after the X1, 2 Series Active Tourer, 3 Series and 5 Series.
Few other details have been revealed about the 1 Series Sedan range, though it’s believed it eschews the 1 Series hatch’s RWD platform and powertrains for the UKL platform that underpins the 2 Series Active Tourer (above), the X1 and the current generation of MINI products.
Will it come to Australia? BMW’s local operation lags behind Audi and Mercedes-Benz in the compact-sedan stakes, due in no small part to the absence of a BMW-badged sedan product in the small car category.
However despite the clear need for an entry-level BMW small sedan, all indications from the Bavarian automaker are that the 1 Series Sedan will, for now, be confined to the Chinese market.