Look, but don't touch: BMW's 1 Series Sedan is for Chinese hands only
BMW has made some radical changes to its overall brand in recent years. An "Ultimate Driving Machine" used to send its power to the back wheels, but demand for more efficient, spacious cars has forced BMW to reverse course and offer front-wheel drive on some of its cars. The latest to break with tradition is the 1 Series Sedan, a four-door aimed squarely at China.
Painful though it may be for purists, it makes sense for BMW to embrace change on cars like the 1 Series Sedan. China is a rapidly growing market where buyers are far less likely to be swayed by driving dynamics. Rather, Chinese buyers are more interested in cabin space and legroom.
That's why luxury brands like Audi and Jaguar have released long-wheelbase versions of cars like the A4 and XF, which usually wouldn't warrant the extra rear legroom. It's also why BMW has turned out this 1 Series Sedan.
Based on the Concept Compact Sedan launched in November last year, the 1 Series Sedan is tuned specifically for overseas tastes. It will be built and sold exclusively in China, and and development was undertaken with the unique road and climate conditions it will face there in mind.
From the outside, there's no mistaking the 1 Series Sedan for anything other than a BMW. The kidney grill is instantly recognizable, the character line running along the flank appears on the 2, 3, 4 and 5 Series, and cues like the Hofmeister Kink are also present and accounted for.
Making the 1 Series look like a BMW is one thing, making it drive like it is another. Thus far, there's no word on what engines will be under the hood, but we'd be banking on a range of turbocharged four cylinders being on the options list. It's a similar story with the chassis setup, with BMW insisting the 1 Series Sedan is "the most sporty and emotional sedan in its segment."
There's no word on pricing for the Sedan as yet.