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Mini genesis extends to next BMW X1

Front and centre: The next-gen BMW X1 will be built off the UKL front-wheel drive platform, but the current model is based on the rear-drive 1 Series.

Next-generation BMW X1 to be shorter and use 2 Series Active Tourer engines

5 Mar 2015

MINI’S big influence on BMW’s future vehicles hits again this year as the front-wheel drive platform underpins the next-generation X1 SUV.

It is the second time the front-wheel drive Mini UKL platform has morphed into a BMW model following the launch last year of the 2 Series Active Tourer tall-boy hatch.

But the X1 will be available with all-wheel drive, sharing much of the componentry with the Mini ALL4 models.

The X1 carries over the choice of drivetrains from the Active Tourer, opening with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder and then two 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol versions as well as a single 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel.

The second-generation X1 will be new from the ground up but BMW is not giving anything away about its styling.

It will be shorter than the 4477mm-long existing model with a smaller bonnet as the layout moves from the 1 Series’ longitudinal engine to the Mini’s transverse placement.

The layout will also improve passenger and cargo space and allow a more versatile seating arrangement, similar to the Active Tourer.

Leaked images from China surfaced online in January showing what is believed to be the new X1. The vehicle in the images carries a look that references the 2 Series Active Tourer, while offering its own distinctive styling.

In the past year the X1 has dropped from second position in its sector to fourth, clipped by the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and Lexus NX and the Audi Q3.

In 2014, BMW sold 1774 units against the top-selling Audi Q3 at 2207 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA at 1251. It averaged about 150 sales a month towards the end of 2014 but so far in 2015, it has averaged just 90 per month.

Things will heat up even more in the premium small SUV sector in the coming years, with Infiniti revealing its QX30 crossover at the Geneva motor show earlier this week. Likely to go on sale in 2016, the QX30 will be underpinned by Mercedes' MFA platform that also forms the basis of the A- CLA- and GLA-Class models.

Volvo has also confirmed it will produce a small crossover, dubbed the XC40, that will be based on a new platform to be shared with not only the next-generation V40 hatch, but a number models for its Chinese parent company, Geely.

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