Platform sharing means next BMW X1 SUV will be twinned with Mini Countryman
2 July 2012

BMW is planning a radical engineering change for the second-generation X1 in 2015.

The new model will eschew the rear-wheel-drive platform of the current car in favour of a new front-drive architecture to be shared with future Minis and the groundbreaking new 1-series GT, which is set for a Paris motor show debut in September.

The decision to switch platforms is aimed at providing the next-generation BMW X1 with added packaging benefits and lower production costs, according to insiders.

They hint that the new small soft-roader will offer added interior accommodation over its predecessor, owing to a new space-saving transverse mounting of its engine.

And in a move that is set to provide valuable economies of scale they also indicate that the new X1 will share key elements, including many of its driveline combinations, with the second-generation Mini Countryman.

The new front-wheel-drive platform, known as the UKL (German for ‘Unter Klasse’ or ‘entry level’) structure, is being developed to underpin a whole range of new BMW Group cars, including the next generation of Mini models and a limited number of BMWs.

It will be combined with a Haldex style multi-plate clutch to provide the second-generation X1 with four-wheel drive capability, as is the case with the existing Countryman.

The plan to base the new X1 on the UKL platform indicates that it will be offered exclusively with four-cylinder engines. BMW has already confirmed that it has no plans to re-engineer its six-cylinder engine for transverse mounting. 

There is also a chance the new off-roader could be sold with the choice of a new entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that will be previewed in the new BMW 1-series GT.

Our Verdict

The BMW X1 is a rival for the VW Tiguan, Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque

The BMW X1 is fine to drive, but buyers looking for premium feel may be better served by rivals' offerings

Join the debate


2 July 2012

no... can't think of anything...

2 July 2012

a thought is forming... nearly there..

2 July 2012

Will this do?

ps Please help. Can't work out if this will make Issigonis spin in his grave or not. A BMW SUV based on a MINI that is not really a MINI and definitely not a Mini. But the engine is transverse.

Any ideas?

2 July 2012



3 July 2012

SAD isnt it, but I bet they dont lower the price of either of them.

what's life without imagination

3 July 2012

... When it's a MINI wearing a blue and white propeller ...

3 July 2012

tell you something this pointless beast does do well: look really fat and ungainly on those wheels.

3 July 2012

In front drive better packaging shocker!

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

4 July 2012

why would anyone buy this ugly lump?

Id be heading to the nearest Mazda dealer for a new compact SUV (CX-5)


4 July 2012

If they liked the BMW badge wanted  a wider range of class-leading engines a classier interior and permanent four wheel drive and more m oney come resale time.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week