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Front-drive BMW X1 uncovered

Crossing over: The second-gen X1 is the latest BMW model to be built on the company's front-wheel-drive UKL platform after the 2 Series Active Tourer.

New-gen BMW X1 gets front-drive platform, new engines and improved fuel figures


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3 Jun 2015

BMW has ripped the covers off its new-generation X1 crossover that becomes the second model in the German car-maker's line-up to drive the front wheels.

On sale in Europe in October, the new X1 will hit Australian BMW showrooms in the fourth quarter, with local specifications to be confirmed closer to the launch date.

The new X1 is built on BMW Group's UKL platform that underpins the latest Mini and the BMW brand's first front driver, the 2 Series Active Tourer, that arrived last year.

This represents a change of configuration from the outgoing X1 with its rear- and four-wheel drive platform shared with the larger X3 that in turn was based on the underpinnings of the E90 3 Series.

BMW says the second-gen X1 ushers in a new all-wheel drive system, new-generation petrol and diesel engines and transmissions, fuel efficiency gains of up to 17 per cent, a redesigned cabin offering more space, and additional connectivity and other tech features.

Measuring 4439mm long, 1821wide and 1598mm tall, the new X1 is 38mm shorter, 23mm wider, and 53mm taller than the model it replaces, which BMW says has ensured extra space in the interior, despite the wheelbase being 90mm shorter.

The seating position has been raised 36mm in the front and 64mm in the rear, knee-room has increased by 37mm, and the 505-litre cargo capacity is up by 85 litres over the outgoing model.

The exterior design is faithful to the original, but the extra height – evident in the press images – should help differentiate it from the mechanically related 2 Series Active Tourer.

Typical SUV styling flourishes such as black skirting with chrome highlights around the lower edge of the body remain, but it now carries a more SUV-like silhouette than the outgoing model that has the look of a jacked-up hatch.

At the front end, the kidney grille still dominates, but new headlights with LED daytime running lights are sharper and more in keeping with BMW's other X models, the X3 and X5. Full LED headlights are an option on some variants.

The rear features narrower tail-lights than before, while the character line on the side is now more prominent and flows to the rear, under the more tapered window line.

A new cabin design brings the X1 into line with its latest crop of models, thanks to the inclusion of the 6.5-inch – 8.8-inch in some variants – free-standing monitor at the top of the centre stack, while an accent strip spans the width of the dash, extending to the door trim.

Buyers can choose between two non-metallic and 10 metallic paint options.

In Europe, the X1 will be available from launch with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, all of which are new.

The range kicks off with the 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo four-cylinder petrol engine that, in xDrive20i guise, can dash to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds, while the front-drive sDrive20i takes 7.7s.

The current sDrive20i produces 135kW/270, but matches the 7.7-second 0-100km/h time.

Fuel economy is 5.9-6.0 litres per 100 kilometres for the front-wheel drive, representing an improvement of 0.7L/100km over the outgoing rear-drive version of the same variant, while the xDrive20i records 6.3-6.4L/100km.

The flagship the xDrive25i petrol variant gets a 170kW/350Nm 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo four-cylinder engine that propels it to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and offers fuel economy of 6.4-6.6L/100km.

The sDrive18d and xDrive20d diesels use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder TwinPower turbo, producing 110kW/330Nm and 140kW/400Nm respectively. This is 5kW/10Nm and 5kW/20Nm more than the existing versions.

The base diesel takes 9.2 seconds to get to 100km/h, while the 20d takes 7.6 seconds.

The less powerful of the two has official fuel consumption of 4.1-4.3L/100km (down by 0.7L), rising to 4.9-5.1L/100 for the 20d (down by 0.4L).

A new six-speed manual gearbox is on offer in Europe, but BMW Australia is likely to stick with its auto-only policy for X1 Down Under, meaning we should get the new eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

Also new is the version of the xDrive all-wheel drive system that BMW says is “compact, low-weight and efficient”. Under regular driving situations, power is sent to the front wheels, but the rear wheels are engaged when required.

The chassis tech has been redeveloped, with the X1 using a single-joint strut suspension up front and a multi-link rear axle, while the use of high-strength steel and aluminuim has helped shed weight.

BMW's Servotronic speed-sensitive steering assistance is standard, while buyers can opt for a Variable Sports Steering system that allows for parking and turning manoeuvres to be completed with “little steering effort”.

M Sport suspension and Dynamic Damper Control are also optional.

Front fog-lights, keyless start, electric windows, heated exterior mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels and leather steering wheel are all standard, as is the ConnectedDrive system. This can be optioned up with Navigation Plus which adds a head-up display.

The Driver Assistant Plus option includes lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, speed limit warning, a collision warning, a pedestrian warning with a city braking system. Traffic Jam Assist functions up to 60km/h monitors “proximity control” and lane-keeping assist to keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane.

Cloth seats in anthracite/black are standard in the X1, but Dakota leather trim can be optioned in either black, or Canberra Beige. Different interior trim strips such as Oak Grain and Fineline Stream can also be optioned.

When opting for one of BMW's equipment lines, further standard gear includes 18-inch alloy wheels in their own specific design, depending on the line, door sill plates, LED lighting package with door handle lights, ambient lighting with different colours, and LED optical fibres in the door panel trim.

Available equipment lines start with the xLine that offers a “rugged character”, with matte aluminium grille bars up front, as well as silver accents for the air intakes, side skirts and underbody protection.

Sport Line uses black grille bars and high-gloss black for the underbody protection, while the cabin gets black sports seats with red or grey accents.

The M Sport line includes the M aerodynamic package, optional 19-inch M light-alloy wheels, while an M leather steering wheel, sports seats in anthracite-coloured cloth and Alcantara with blue accents and Aluminium Hexagon interior trim.

The existing model is offered with two two-wheel drive and two four-wheel drive variants and four powertrain choices, including two-wheel drive petrol and diesel and four-wheel drive petrol and diesel.

At the moment prices range from $46,300, plus on-road costs, for the sDrive18d, topping out at $59,990 for the xDrive28i.

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