2016-BMW-X1-Front

BMW have revealed the second generation of its smallest crossover, the X1, and it’s undergone a drastic makeover worthy of a Vanity Fair cover. Looks good doesn’t it, in a more rugged and macho kind of way. I’ve never been a huge fan of the old X1. It looked too awkward, like it wasn’t balanced somehow. It reminded me of those bendy rulers you got at primary school. For style the Mercedes GLA or Audi Q3 were more appealing.

Thankfully, BMW have now got the design of the X1 just right and I reckon it’ll give its rivals a good run for their money. However, the more conventional design has come at the cost of a more conventional platform. Gone is the old car’s unique (for its class) rear/four-wheel drive platform and in is BMW Group’s new UKL platform, as used by the new Mini and 2-Series Active Tourer.

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Thanks to the new layout though, the new X1 is actually shorter than the car it replaces while being more spacious inside. Wheelbase, width, and height have been increased too. The rear doors are also larger, making it easier to get in and out. Inside, the driving position has been raised by 36mm. Rear legroom has increased by 66mm and luggage space is now rated at 505L, some 85L more than before.

The X1 will be available with either front-wheel drive (sDrive variants) or four-wheel drive (xDrive variants). All X1s get MacPhearson struts up front and multi-link at the rear. BMW claims the new four-wheel drive system is lighter and more efficient than before, with a 30% reduction in torque losses. It can also send 100% of its power to the rear wheels. The second-generation X1 also gets a Driver Experience Control system which allows the drive to select from Sport, Comfort, and Eco Pro modes. Suspension settings can also be changed between Sport to Comfort settings.

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At launch the X1 will be powered by either a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel. The petrol engines come from BMW’s new B48 family. There’ll be two variants for the petrol, the 20i develops 189bhp/138kW and 280NM while the range-topping 25i has 228bhp/167kW and 350NM. That manages to get it from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds.

There’ll be three different outputs for the diesel; the entry-level 18d develops 148bhp/108kW and 330NM, the 20d has 187bhp/137kW and 400NM, while the top 25d has 228bhp/167kW and 450NM. All but the entry 20i and 18d have four-wheel drive as standard, while all but the 18d are equipped with an 8-speed auto as standard.

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According to reports, BMW are also working on a ballistic version of the X1 to rival the Audi Q3 RS and Mercedes-AMG GLA45. It is said to use a higher output version of the 2.0-litre turbo petrol and will develop “in excess of 300bhp” and a 0-100 km/h time of under 5 seconds. Surely it’ll be one of the quickest way to do the school run. If that sounds a bit too laity for you then the plug-in hybrid version might be something to consider. The eco-X1 will mate BMW Group’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol with an electric motor and will also join the lineup in the future.

The new X1 will make its official debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in September before going on sale in overseas markets from October. Pricing is said to be similar to the current range, so expect the new X1 to cost between $67,000 and $78,400 when it lands on our shores. And given BMW’s current obsession with niche models, expect a sportier (faux-coupe) style X2 to supplement the range too.

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