[7] Bmw 1 Series Price Making This Week Highlight

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BMW 1-Series Sedan, by Tycho de Feijter

The brand new BMW 1-Series Sedan has been launched on the Chinese car market. Prices start at 204,800 yuan and end at 332,000 yuan ($29,800 - 46,540). The 1-Series Sedan is for China only; there are currently no plans for export to other countries.

BMW 1-Series Sedan, by Tycho de Feijter

Even though China is SUV-crazy there is still a large market for sedans, and the compact-premium segment is growing fast. Many Chinese car buyers prefer a smaller car in the big cities but they want it fully loaded with luxuries.

The incumbents are the Audi A3 Limousine, the Citroen DS5 LS and the Volkswagen Lamando. The latter two are China-only too. More competition is underway from the new Volvo S40 and, probably, a locally-made variant of the Mercedes-Benz CLA.

The 1-Series Sedan is aimed at young car buyers, or so BMW says. The design however, is rather conservative. It sure is sporty and handsome, but it basically looks like every other Bimmer.

BMW 1-Series Sedan, by Tycho de Feijter

The 1-Series Sedan is made by Brilliance-BMW, a long-running joint venture that also makes the 5-Series L, the 3-Series, the 3-Series L, the 2-Series Active Tourer, and the X1-L.

There are three engines available: a 136hp 1.5 liter 3-cylinder (118i), a 192hp 2.0 turbo (120i), and a 231hp 2.0 turbo (125i). The car on the photos is the top-spec 125i Sport, fitted with a 8.8 inch touch screen and sporty seats with red stitching.

BMW 1-Series Sedan, by Tycho de Feijter

The 1-Series Sedan has no direct relation to the 1-Series hatchback. The sedan stands on the front-wheel drive UKL platform, whereas the hatchback is underpinned by an older rear-wheel drive platform. The 1-Series hatchback is not manufactured in China.

The length is 4,456mm and wheelbase is 2,670mm, and that makes it 11.5cm longer than the 1-Series hatchback, while the wheelbase is 2mm shorter.

BMW 1-Series Sedan, by Tycho de Feijter

How will the 1-Series Sedan fare in the market? It is luxurious, it is sporty, it is a sedan, and it has the coveted BMW badge on the bonnet. BMW is on a roll in China. In 2016 they sold 516,000 units (including Mini), up 11.3% compared with 2015. That brought BMW very close to market leader Audi, which sold 591,000 units in 2016. The new sedan should be able to narrow the gap a little bit more.

However, there could be reasons to worry. I went to one of the largest BMW dealers in Beijing to take the photos for this article. I was there for about half an hour. They had one car on display, a brand new BMW, and there were about 30 visitors inside.

But absolutely no-one took any interest in the poor blue sedan, it was as if they didn't realize it was a new car. It might mean nothing but it was strange nevertheless. New cars at dealers in China are usually surrounded by punters. Too conservatively styled, perhaps? The area for Mini, which aims at the same target group as the 1-Series sedan, was crowded to the max.

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