We’ve seen it before, but the BMW 1 Series Sedan has now been officially launched in China. Yup, it’s a booted 1 Series and BMW’s smallest sedan model, but the “highly emotional new entry” is exclusively for the Chinese market. China is BMW’s biggest market, and what it wants it gets.

“We sold over half a million cars in China last year and this, our biggest market, continues to offer great potential. Our customers in China have been asking for a smaller model to meet their specific needs and we’ve worked hard with our colleagues here to make sure this car not only meets but exceeds those desires,” said Ian Robertson, BMW management board member responsible for sales and marketing.

The 1 Series Sedan was developed at in Munich with the support of Chinese engineers. BMW said that during development, the new model underwent testing at the Nürburgring as well as in the wide-ranging climatic and road conditions to be found in China, to ensure that it performs well in the real environment in which it will be used. The F52 is manufactured at the BMW and Brilliance JV’s Tiexi plant in Shenyang.

At 4,456 mm long, 1,803 mm wide and 1,446 mm tall, the sedan is 132 mm longer, 38 mm wider and 33 mm taller than the 1 Series five-door hatch. Wheelbase length is 2,670 mm. It has quite the size niche for itself within BMW’s China range as well, as the 3 and 5 Series saloons sold there are in extended wheelbase form.

It’s standard 1 Series inside, but the rear seats are model specific and not carried over from the hatchback. The contours of the rear backrests and the upholstery provide better comfort, BMW says.

There are three turbo engines available. The entry 118i sedan is powered by a 1.5 litre three-cylinder unit with 136 hp and 220 Nm from 1,250 rpm. With a six-speed auto, the 118i is good for 0-100 km/h in 9.4 seconds and a 212 km/h top speed. The middle child is the 120i, which gets a 2.0 litre four-pot and an eight-speed auto – 192 hp, 280 Nm, 7.5 seconds, 235 km/h.

The sports sedan of the FWD range is the 125i. With 231 hp and 350 Nm of torque, this compact three-box does the century sprint in just 6.8 seconds and has a limited top speed of 250 km/h.

Comfort is important in China, and Munich says that the 1 Sedan’s suspension and damping are designed to ensure occupants experience as relaxed a ride as possible on all road surfaces. Optimised acoustic comfort is taken care of by such features as a fully panelled underbody and tyres with reduced rolling resistance. The 118i rolls on 16- and 17-inch wheels, while the 2.0L models get 18-inch alloys.

Also unique is the model specific heating/ventilation system, which is quieter and has a “highly effective air filtering function” to combat China’s dirty air.

Buyers can choose between basic, Luxury line and Sport line. Driving Assistant including collision warning with city brake function and the Parking Assistant are optional. Also available is BMW Connected with Open Mobility Cloud for connecting smartphones, tablets and smart watches to the car.

Looks and sounds rather impressive to us. Would a sub 3 Series sedan work here?