BMW has officially launched its X1 at the Frankfurt motor show.
The BMW X1 is the car that will, in effect, replace the X3 at the base of BMW’s SUV range when the second generation of that model arrives next year.
Due on sale in the UK in October at a starting price of around £24,500, the X1 will offer buyers the choice between standard rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive — something that has prompted BMW officials to describe it as “more a crossover than an off-roader”.
This is also backed up in the X1’s estate car-like styling. It eschews the upright, rugged look of traditional SUVs for a relatively low and rakish profile that carries elements of the German car maker’s latest design lineage. There’s a large kidney grille incorporated into an enormous front bumper and a deeply etched swage line drawn in the flanks.
The introduction of the X1 has been made possible in part by a decision to take the X3 further upmarket. As it stands, the two cars are remarkably similar in size; the X1 is just 116mm shorter, 57mm narrower and 130mm lower than the X3, at 4454mm long, 1798mm wide and 1545mm high.
The X1 will come with the choice of five different engines, although not all will be available from the outset of UK sales. On the petrol side are a 141bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit and a range-topping 258bhp 3.0-litre straight six. The six-cylinder engine delivers 0-62mph acceleration in 6.2sec and a top speed of 127mph.
On the diesel side of the range, there are three 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines with 141bhp, 175bhp and, in twin-turbocharged guise, 201bhp. The most modest of those three powerplants is claimed to return combined-cycle fuel consumption of 54mpg and emit just 136g/km of CO2.
The base petrol and bottom two diesels come with the choice of either rear or four-wheel drive, while the remainder are four-wheel drive exclusively. Gearbox choices include a standard six-speed manual or, depending on the engine sitting up front, an optional six-speed automatic with shift paddles on the face of the steering wheel.
The X1 sits on modified underpinnings from the 3-series, with MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension, a 2760mm wheelbase and track widths of 1500mm up front and 1529mm at the rear.
Unlike the second-generation X3 and the existing X5 and X6 — all of which will be produced together in BMW’s Spartanburg factory in North America — the X1 will be assembled at BMW’s Leipzig factory in Germany, alongside the 1-series and 3-series.
No official sales targets have been revealed, although Autocar understands that the initial installed capacity is for up to 100,000 X1s per year.