What Are You Doing Here? Chinese BMW 1 Series Spotted in the U.S.
With the 2020 BMW 1 Series having debuted (as a hatchback) earlier this year, we knew a new sedan was en route. In fact, spy shots of the vehicle started cropping up in Europe and China almost immediately. However, that particular vehicle turned out to be a refresh of the Chinese-made 1 Series (F52). But it wasn’t of much concern to us. Here in the United States, the smallest modern BMW sedan to grace our shores (at least until the 2 Series Gran Coupe arrives) is the 3 Series… or is it?
Delivering to us a bit of a head-scratcher, a friend of the site offered up a handful of photographs of a Chinese-market 1 Series donned in camouflage. The twist? It was sitting inside of a warehouse located on our East Coast and not halfway around the world.
Though a quick scan of the VIN revealed the car’s origin, it doesn’t even begin to explain why the front-wheel drive Bimmer is in North America. The car is in question is a BMW 118i, packed with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission — making it a rare find in this part of the globe.
Has it simply lost its way in a shipping mishap? Was some Chinese importer/exporter desperate to sneak one inside the United States? Or is BMW bringing it here for some, yet unknown, official purpose? What’s the point of camouflaging a pre-refresh model? We’ll see if we can pry some answers from the manufacturer but you’re free to speculate in the meantime.
Nick_515 on Jul 27, 2019
While I have no interest in this FWD 1 series, I would have loved for BMW to bring the previous gen five door RWD 1 series to the US. For the past year I have been driving a hatchback A3, and in many ways it is a lovely car. That 2.0T is a little wonder. But I make several long trips a year, and the Audi is not quite in its element maintaining 80+ for hours on end in terms of NVH. How can I get most of that with even better highway ease in the same size and format? Too bad we only got the two door version.
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