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Driven: All-paw BMW X1 fleet lands
BMW to inflate X1 sales with more practicality and Aussie-designed looks
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22 Oct 2015
BMW Australia is expecting a “marked increase” in interest for the baby of its SUV range, with the second-generation X1 that brings a host of practicality improvements and a sharp new look from Australian-born designer Calvin Luk.
The F48 X1 becomes the first vehicle in the BMW Group line-up to adopt a front-drive option alongside all-wheel drive transmission variants, following on from the front-drive-only Mini and 2 Series Active Tourer ranges.
With its more diverse range of transmissions, added value and fresh new look, the German car-maker is planning to continue the strong following that its larger SUV models are garnering on local turf.
Speaking at the launch in New South Wales this week, BMW Group Australia X and i-model product manager Brendan Michel said the introduction of the new X1 could push sales of BMW SUVs to more than half of the company's overall total.
“We are going to sell a lot of these vehicles in Australia with demand already very high,” he said.
“Last year, 42 per cent of our volume in Australia was made up of X models and with this new X1 we could even see our X models making up 50 per cent.”
Mr Michel said that he believes some customers would be attracted to the bottom end of the range but with $12,000 of value added to the range-topping xDrive25i, many would also be drawn to the flagship.
“I think there will be a lot of buyers at the entry level but I think we are also going to see a big influx to the very top end, especially when customers see that extra specification. We've already had dealers that had customers who walked in to by an sDrive and walked out with the very top model.”
Mr Michel's confidence in the new X1 was repeated by BMW Group Australia general manager corporate communications Lenore Fletcher, who told GoAuto the new model would invigorate sales but would not overtake the best-selling 3 Series and X5.
“Do we expect it to outsell the current vehicle? Of course we do,” she said. “I think it would be safe to say that given the increased flexibility and the greater styling appeal, we are certainly looking forward to a marked increase in sales.”
xDrive versions are on sale now starting with the $56,500 before on-road costs xDrive20d or $59,900 for the range-topping xDrive25i. sDrive variants will arrive in December, doubling the range with a $49,500 sDrive18d and the $51,600 sDrive20i.
The new pricing structure represents a $3200 increase for the sDrive variants, a $400 reduction for the xDrive20d, while the xDrive25i is unchanged.
BMW says the price changes are justified by the addition of extra gear for all versions including the xDrive25i, which has $12,000 of value added compared with the xDrive28i, which it replaces.
Entry level four-wheel drive versions have the same naming system as the rest of the BMW X model range but introduce a significantly different four-wheel drive system when compared with its larger siblings.
All X1s, whether they are front- or all-wheel drive share the same transversely mounted engine of the 2 Series Active Tourer. In two-wheel drive versions, the choice of two four-cylinder engines sends power to only the front wheels.
xDrive models add to the same basic layout with an additional propshaft and second differential on the rear axle.
Unlike other brand's small SUV four-wheel drive systems, the BMW solution has a constantly driven prop-shaft with the torque bias altered where it meets the rear differential, and not from a transfer-box at the front end.
BMW says the different engineering approach results in greater efficiency and a faster response to changing surface conditions and traction. Torque distribution is controlled by the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system, which looks after all stability systems and, under certain circumstances, can divert all available power to just one axle.
The X1's chassis has also received significant alteration with single-joint strut suspension at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear. Variable sports steering is optional, or standard on 25i, as is Dynamic Damper Control, which costs $897 for all variants.
Like the outgoing range, the X1 powertrains are all 2.0-litre turbos with a choice of one diesel and one petrol for each of the sDrive and xDrive transmission options.
Front drivers are available with an 18d diesel donk producing 110kW and 330Nm – enough to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 9.2 seconds while using 4.3 litres of jungle-juice on the combined cycle.
Petrol sDrives (20i) have 141kW/280Nm at their disposal, cracking the milestone 100km/h in 7.7 seconds, while using 5.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
Stepping up to the xDrive range brings the 20d diesel with 140kW and 400Nm of torque, a 0-100km/h dash time of 7.6 seconds and fuel economy of 4.9L/100km.
Flagship xDrive25i variants have 170kW of petrol power and 350Nm, hit 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and use 6.5L/100km when driven more sedately.
All X1s have BMW's eight-speed automatic transmission with all variants above the entry sDrive18d getting the sports version and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The new X1s styling was developed at the German design house in Munich by Australian designer Calvin Luk and BMW is targetting a younger audience for the small SUV. Not only do the new aesthetics bring the X1 into line with the other X models, aerodynamic drag has been cut from 0.33Cd to a slippery 0.29.
BMW says its new X1 offers significant advantages in flexibility and practicality over the previous version with more interior space for people and things. On the outside, the X1 is 53mm taller and 23mm wider, but has a 90mm shorter wheelbase and 15mm reduction in length.
That exterior change has increased interior space with a boot volume up 20 per cent to 505 litres, or 1550 litres when the 40/20/40 split rear seats are folded. The second row is also now slide adjustable with 13cm of movement for rear passengers.
All occupants sit higher in the new X1 and have increased elbow and head room, while rear passengers have up to 66mm more knee room.
Access to the boot area is now easier according to BMW, with a the largest aperture in the segment and a powered tailgate, which can be opened with a foot gesture when optioned with Comfort Access – standard for xDrive25i.
Eighteen-inch wheels are standard fare on all but the 25i, which gets 19-inch hoops, but all except 18d can be upgraded to the larger wheels and matching sportier bodykit when the M Sport pack arrives next year.
The extra kit also includes black Alcantara or Dakota leather seats with blue highlights, beefier steering wheel and a black roofliner.
In addition to the previous X1 equipment, All X1s get a boost to safety with standard reversing camera, lane departure warning, forward collision and pedestrian warning with light city braking, and all round parking radar with Parking Assistance.
Extra kit also includes Intelligent Emergency Call, Teleservices, ConnectedDrive, real-time traffic information and LED headlights.
Interiors in all versions are synthetic leather, apart from xDrive25i which gets the real deal with heaters and electrical adjustment for the front spots, as well as BMW head-up display.
Standard navigation and entertainment systems are accessed through BMW's iDrive controller and a 6.5-inch dash screen or a larger 8.8-inch display in xDrive25i vehicles.
The standard five-speaker 100W sound system with USB Blutooth and iPod connectivity can be upgraded to a Harman Kardon system with 12 speakers and 360W for $1547.
An Innovations Package adds active cruise control, Navigation Plus with larger screen, head-up display and digital radio for $3510, or a Comfort Package adds Comfort Access, electric and heated seats, and anti-dazzle mirrors for $3510.
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