The second-generation BMW X1 has been revealed nearly four months before the all-new SUV is due to make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show.
The longitudinal engine layout of the first-generation X1 is replaced by a space-saving transverse layout, which helps to provide more interior space and improved safety credentials. Lower-end models also have front-wheel drive instead of the rear-wheel drive of the outgoing X1.
The new X1 takes on a more rugged appearance than that of the model it replaces. It has a bolder front end, angular headlights with LED daytime running lights, round foglights, a contoured bonnet, prominent front wheel arches, extra cladding on its sills and increased ground clearance.
The adoption of the UKL platform has allowed BMW’s design team to endow the X1 with an altered silhouette featuring a significantly shorter bonnet and longer roofline than the old X1. Retaining the five-door layout of old X1, it also receives larger rear door apertures for added ease of entry.
The revised X1 is 36mm shorter but 21mm wider and 53mm taller than its predecessor, at 4439mm long, 1821mm wide and 1598mm tall. A 90mm-longer wheelbase allows 37mm more knee room in the back, which increases by an additional 66mm with an optional tilting and sliding rear seat. Boot space has also increased by 85 litres to 505 litres, rising to 1550 litres with the rear seats folded. The back seats can be folded electrically from the rear of the boot at the touch of a button for the first time. As an option, the front passenger seat backrest can also be folded down.
While continuing to offer accommodation for up to five, the new BMW SUV has a slightly revised seating layout to take advantage of the packaging improvements brought by the switch to a transverse engine layout. The front seats are now 36mm higher than on the first-generation model, while the rear seats are set 64mm higher.
In entry-level sDrive18d guise, the X1 is 135kg lighter than its predecessor, at 1430kg. This is because of the use of more hot-formed high-strength steel and aluminium within the main body structure, the use of tailored blank steel for the front bulkhead and B-pillars and an aluminium bonnet.
Underpinning the new BMW is a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension shared with the 2 Series Gran Tourer. It is allied to an electro-mechanical speed-sensitive Servotronic steering system that is engineered to provide lighter weighting at lower speeds for added manoeuvrability around town and a firmer feel at higher speeds for increased stability on the motorway.
The new compact off-roader rolls on 17in alloy wheels as standard, with 18in and 19in rims available as an option.
In a first for the X1, the new model comes with adjustable dampers in combination with an optional Driver Experience Control function that enables the driver to choose between Sport and Comfort suspension settings, along with Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro driving modes.
The new X1 will be launched in the UK with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in two states of tune and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel in three outputs.
The petrol unit is from BMW’s new B48 engine family, delivering 189bhp and 206lb ft in the 20i for increases of 8bhp and 6lb ft over its predecessor. The xDrive25i is the fastest X1, with a 0-62mph time of 6.5sec and a 146mph top speed. It develops 228bhp and 258lb ft - 14bhp more than the outgoing xDrive28i.
The diesel engine is also a new development. Codenamed B47, it replaces the older N47 unit used by the previous X1. It delivers 148bhp and 243lb ft in the X1 sDrive18d, 187bhp and 295lb ft in the xDrive20d and a class-leading 228bhp and 332lb ft in the xDrive25d.
The entry-level X1 sDrive18d is the only model to receive a standard six-speed manual gearbox. All other new X1 models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which, in combination with the optional Driver Experience Control, includes a coasting function that disengages the clutch when you lift off the throttle at speeds between 31 and 99mph, as standard.
The X1 sDrive18d and sDrive20i come as standard with front-wheel drive, while the others - the xDrive20i, xDrive25i, xDrive20d and xDrive25d - all get four-wheel drive as standard.
BMW claims the four-wheel drive system used by the new X1 is considerably lighter and boasts a 30% reduction in torque losses over the older arrangement for added fuel savings and greater traction in off-road conditions. Among the long list of standard driving aids on all models is DSC (dynamic stability control), DTC (dynamic traction contol) and CBC (cornering brake control).
The most economical model in the launch line-up is the front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive18d. It returns a claimed 68.9mpg combined and emits 114g/km of CO2. The performance leader is the X1 xDrive25i, which boasts an official 0-62mph time of 6.5sec and 146mph top speed.
Further engines will be added to the line-up later on, including the new B38 three-cylinder petrol unit in a front-wheel-drive successor to today’s rear-wheel-drive X1 sDrive18i. Already offered in the 2 Series Active Tourer, the turbocharged 1.5-litre triple delivers 134bhp and 162lb ft of torque.
Also planned is a front-wheel-drive follow-up to the existing rear-wheel-drive X1 sDrive16d running BMW’s new B37 three-pot diesel. The 1.5-litre engine is likely to offered in its highest state of tune, with 114bhp and 200lb ft.
Pricing for the new X1 is yet to be revealed. However, BMW officials suggest the new model will be pitched close in price to the old X1, with the X1 sDrive18d starting at around £25,000 and rising to £35,000 for the top-of-the-line X1 xDrive25d.
Details remain scarce, but automotive industry component supplier sources close to BMW’s M division confirm the company is engineering a high-output variant of its parent company’s new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. In standard guise, it kicks out a maximum of 231bhp, as fitted to the 225i Active Tourer. However, detailed revisions to the induction system, together with other power-enhancing tweaks, are said to take peak output to “well over 300bhp”.
It is still unclear whether this new engine will be offered in the X1 or remain the preserve of the more sporting X2. But in combination with standard four-wheel drive, it promises to provide the hot SUV with heady levels of performance. Nothing is official, but a 0-62mph time of under 5.0sec and a limited 155mph top speed are well on the cards for the hottest of Munich’s new pairing.
Also under development, but not likely to form part of the initial launch line-up, is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version of the new X1. It is claimed to use a similar powertrain set-up to that of BMW’s original Active Tourer concept, revealed at the 2012 Paris motor show.
The concept used a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to power the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, with a combined system output of 190bhp, combined fuel economy of more than 130mpg and an electric-only range of almost 19 miles.
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