Front-wheel drive 1 Series… but only for China. It might look like a booted 1 Series but BMW’s 1 Series Sedan that will be sold exclusively in China actually utilises the front-wheel drive UKL platform as seen on machinery such as the 2 Series Active Tourer, the new X1, and, of course, the MINI.
The shape of the 1 Series Sedan had already been revealed as a ‘Concept’ but what we have here is the official production machine that will be manufactured at the Shenyang production site and will only be sold in China. One only has to look at the rear seat accommodation to realise that there’s no way this is a rear-drive BMW platform, and seeing how well the packaging works it won’t come as a surprise if the next generation 1 Series is a front-driver.
Three different models will be offered; a 125i, 120i and 118i. The 125i packs a meaty 231hp and 258lb ft of torque and will only be offered with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance is sprightly with 0-62mph taking 6.8 seconds while its top speed is limited to 155mph. The 120i uses a detuned version of the same 2.0-litre turbo as used in the 125i which delivers 192hp and 207lb ft, still good enough for a 7.5-second 0-62mph time. The 118i will come with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that’s rated at 136hp.
While the car has been tested extensively in Germany the 1 Series Sedan F52 was developed in conjunction with BMW’s Chinese partners and has been specifically honed for China’s road conditions.