“We sold over half a million cars in China last year and this, our biggest market, continues to offer great potential,” BMW’s sales and marketing chief Dr Ian Robertson revealed in Shanghai.
“Our customers in China have been asking for a smaller model to meet their specific needs and we’ve worked hard with our colleagues here to make sure this car not only meets their needs but exceeds those desires."
Unlike the rear-wheel drive 1 Series hatch range, the new sedan variant is underpinned by the flexible UKL front wheel drive platform that underpins the BMW X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer, as well as the Mini range.
The all-turbocharged engine lineup is familiar from the Mini and BMW range, with a 170kW/350Nm 2.0-litre, four-cylinder for the 125i sedan, a 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder for the 120i sedan (both driving via an eight-speed automatic transmission) and a 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder for the 118i sedan (driving via a six-speed automatic transmission).
Styling is a blend of the 1 Series hatchback with a rear-end not dissimilar to the larger 3 Series sedan – all highlighted by the traditional BMW long bonnet for an overall sporty on road presence. Naturally the front features the hallmark BMW kidney grille and twin round LED headlights.
An overall length of 4456 millimetres makes the sedan a sizeable 127mm longer than the 1 Series hatch, however the 2670mm wheelbase is 20mm shorter than the RWD hatch despite the Chinese-market preference for extanded wheelbase vehicles and lofty rear legroom.
Styling inside is again the usual BMW sporty sophistication with a unique rear seat design providing enhanced comfort for those in the second row.
Wheel sizes are 16, 17 and 18-inches and the suspension has been developed in Germany on a variety of roads and honed in testing at the Nurburgring race circuit. BMW says its Chinese customers demand the usual BMW sporty dynamics regardless of the size of vehicle.
BMW China will offer the 1 Series sedan in the usual entry grade as well as Sport Line and Luxury Line versions.
MORE: BMW News and Reviews