BMW has unveiled its new 2016 X1 SUV today, just hours after the next-generation model first appeared online in a series of leaked images.
The new model marks a couple of firsts for the brand: although it is only the second all-new model in its line, the 2016 X1 enters as the first BMW SUV to be built on a front-wheel-drive platform.
That makes the X1 the third model to move away from the company’s traditional rear-biased formula, joining the new 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer on the ‘UKL’ platform that underpins MINI’s new Cooper range.
On the styling front, the new X1 wears a more conventional SUV shape than its long hatchback-like predecessor, now taking cues from the larger X3.
Styling at the front and rear is clearly drawn from its 1 and 2 Series stablemates, with a long, angular and stepped look to the lights at both ends.
The interior is familiar fare, with a long two-tier dash design bisected by a tall centre stack, standalone centre console below and a wide main display above.
A chunky three-spoke steering wheel is also featured, replete with the usual cruise, audio and connectivity controls. Paddle shifters can also be seen with this set.
The move to a front-wheel-drive platform has affected the new X1’s dimensions, with its much shorter bonnet lopping 36mm from its total length.
The new model is 21mm wider and 53mm taller than its predecessor, however, and rides on a 90mm longer wheelbase - all contributing to a significant boost in interior space and practicality.
BMW says there’s now 37mm more knee room in the rear, and that can grow a further 66mm if optional sliding rear seats are installed.
Boot space has likewise increased, growing 85 litres to a new 505 litres with the rear seats up and 1550 litres when laid flat.
Another neat option is a one-touch powered folding operation for the rear seats, and the front passenger seat backrest can also be laid flat for additional cargo space.
The X1’s move to the new UKL platform also makes the small SUV lighter.
Thanks to a greater use of aluminium and high-strength steel, the X1 has shaved up to 135kg for a new best kerb weight of 1430kg.
POWERTRAINS & SPECS
Internationally, the new X1 will launch with two petrol and three diesel four-cylinder engines, to be followed by a pair of three-cylinder petrol and diesel models before the end of the year.
The launch range will include the 141kW/280Nm sDrive20i (FWD) and xDrive20i (AWD) petrol models, along with a hero 170kW/350Nm xDrive25i flagship.
On the diesel front, launch options will include the 110kW/330Nm sDrive18d, 140kW/400Nm xDrive20d and the top-shelf 170kW/450Nm xDrive25d.
A newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission will be standard on all, with a new six-speed manual available as an option.
BMW says the xDrive25d’s engine will be the most powerful four-cylinder diesel it has ever offered.
Matched to an eight-speed auto, it will claim a 0-100km/h time of just 6.6 seconds, while fuel use is listed at 5.2 l/100km.
The petrol xDrive25i is a hair quicker, however, with a claimed 6.5 second run to 100km/h.
Later in the year, the X1 will also pick up 85kW sDrive16d and 100kW sDrive18i entry models, both matched to a six-speed manual as standard, with the option of a six-speed Steptronic auto.
There is no six-cylinder ‘35i’ model in the new range, and, with the move to front-wheel-drive, it is unlikely to return anytime soon.
Other features new to the X1 will include an optional Driver Experience Control, offering selectable Sport and Comfort suspension settings, along with Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro driving modes.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, shared with the 2 Series Active Tourer. Electro-mechanical speed-sensitive Servotronic steering is also featured.
New features for the X1 will include a head-up display in the dash, projecting important driving information onto the windscreen in front of the driver.
Safety features will include Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Jam Assistant, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function.
Local timing, pricing and specifications for the new X1 range is still to be confirmed, although BMW Australia has confirmed we will see it here this year.
Speaking with TMR today, BMW Australia's Lenore Fletcher said that a local debut is scheduled to occur in the last quarter of 2015.
MORE: BMW X1 news and reviews