Designed exclusively for the Chinese market, BMW has debuted its new 1 Series sedan at the Guangzhou Auto Show. It's the smallest car the company has ever built, and is aimed directly at the "young generation from China," says senior of sales and marketing Jochen Goller – but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in amenities and overall performance.
Visually, it shares a number of cues with its two-door 2 Series sibling, specifically on the front end. The double kidney grille remains the focal point, while dual halo-style headlights with LED technology make an appearance. A long hood and short overhangs give it a stocky look, mimicking the rest of the vehicles in this segment.
Inside, the 1 Series features an 8.8-inch central LED screen that utilizes BMW’s iDrive system. Paired along with it is a full-color heads-up display, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, and a number of other optional features.
Riding on the two-year-old UKL platform, it shares its bones with cars like the Mini Cooper, BMW X1, and others. When it hits the market, it will come with a range of engine options, including a 136-horsepower (101-kilowatt) 1.5-liter turbo in the 118i base trim, a 192-horsepower (143-kilowatt) 2.0-liter turbo in the 120i Luxury trim, and a 231-horsepower (173-kilowatt) 2.0-liter turbo in the top-end 125i Sport trim. All trims will be available with either a six-speed manual gearbox, or an eight-speed automatic.
The new BMW 1 Series is expected to go on sale in China exclusively in the first half of next year. It will compete locally with cars like the Audi A3, Volvo S40, Citroen DS5, and others. Starting price will range from¥180,000 to ¥260,000 ($26,100-$37,720).