Over the past couple of years the Chinese consumer market has grown in leaps and bounds and in more and more segments of the market. In fact for car companies such as Audi, BMW, Lotus among others, China is their biggest market. Therefore, it makes sense when these companies design and manufacture cars specifically geared to the needs and desires of their Chinese consumers.
BMW today launched the 1 Series sedan in Shanghai, China. The sedan is destined only for BMW’s Chinese customer base and will be made exclusively in China at the Tiexi plant in North East China. The plant also produces other cars in the BMW range that are specifically for the Chinese market. The new car was however developed in Munich, Germany with input from Chinese engineers.
The 1 Series sedan will have a choice of three engines available from launch. There are two 2.0 litre 4 cylinder petrol engines and one 3 cylinder petrol engine. The 4 cylinder engines have a power output ranging from 140 kw to 170 kw and torque figures of 280 Nm to 350 Nm in the 120i and 125i respectively. The 3 cylinder engine has a capacity of 1.5 litres with a power output of 100 kw and 220 Nm of torque in the 118i.
The 125i tops out at 250 kph while the 118i and 120i top out at 220 kph and 235 kph respectively. Both 125i and 120i feature BMW’s eight speed steptronic gearbox as standard while the 118i has a six speed steptronic gearbox.
BMW’s closest competitor in the segment is Audi who also have China as their largest market. The Audi A3 sedan(pictured above)also offers a choice of 3 petrol engines: a 1.0 litre three cylinder petrol with 85 kw of power, a 1.4 litre petrol with 110 kw of power and a range topping 2.0 litre petrol with 140 kw of power.
Both cars offer seating for four and have almost similar wheel base lengths. The BMW has a wheel base of 2670 mm while the Audi A3 Sedan has a wheel base of 2637 mm. In terms of interior tech the Audi gains an upper hand with Audi’s virtual cockpit available as an option while the one series has to do with its standard instrument dials. Both cars feature infotainment centres in the guise of BMW’s i-drive system and Audi’s MMI system as standard.