The BMW X1 may not be a fan favorite amongst BMW fans, but there’s no denying it paved a way for other small SAVs, like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA Class. Introduced in 2009, the X1 became the pioneer for the segment. Now, it’s time for the X1 to evolve into something new, and hopefully continue to blaze trails for others to follow.
The new 2016 BMW X1 has grown quite a bit over the previous model, sprouting 53 millimeters in height, with a 36 millimeter raise in the front seating position, to give the X1 a more commanding view of the road. This increase in size, and switch to front-wheel drive architecture, has also given the X1 better interior space, to the tune of 37 millimeters more rear knee room and 85 liters more cargo space, bringing the total to 505 liters. With the rear seats folded down, the X1 has 1,550 liters of cargo space.
The extra growth of the X1 has worked wonders on the somewhat cramped original model’s interior, but it’s also given the exterior styling quite a more masculine feel. The original X1, while a favorite of mine, always looked a bit frumpy. But this new model looks very nice indeed, with crisp lines and curves and those massive kidney grilles. It’s definitely more imposing that the slightly ungainly looking original. I like how the headlights stay disconnected from the grille. Those headlights will also have a full LED option, which looks the business on new BMWs. I also like how the angry looking slant of the hood and headlights, combined with the lower front fascia, create an ‘X’. It’s the little things that matter.
Engine options for the new 2016 BMW X1 will be a bunch of 2.0 liters, two petrol and two diesel. There will be an X1 xDrive20i, xDrive25i, xDrive18d and xDrive25d as well as an sDrive20i which will be front-wheel drive. All engines will displace 2.0 liters and all will feature BMW’s TwinPower turbocharger technology. The xDrive25i and xDrive25d have 231 horsepower, but the petrol engine will have 258 lb-ft of torque and the diesel will have 332 lb-ft. An Aisin eight-speed automatic will be standard on most models, with the xDrive18d being available with a newly designed six-speed manual.
Okay, so the part you’ve all been waiting for. The front-wheel drive. For those of you who are fretting over the switch to front-wheel drive, fear not. The xDrive all-wheel drive system is capable of sending 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels if need be. Yes, it’s front-wheel drive under normal conditions, but when pressed hard, the xDrive will divert power to whichever axle to maintain proper balance and eliminate both over and understeer. This should go along way to help the X1 handle well, especially considering the newly designed chassis. The new X1’s chassis is extremely lightweight, using aluminum wheel carriers and swivel bearings as well as high-strength steel control arms and rear subframes. So this X1, despite being FWD-biased, should handle quite well.
The X1 will be available with such new options as Dynamic Damper Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, a Panoramic Moonroof, a Heads-Up Display and even Traffic Jam Assist which will take over driving at up to 37 mph and can control speed, proximity to other vehicles and lane-keeping. So the X1 won’t just be the baby BMW, it will be high-tech and sophisticated, much like BMW’s higher-end models.
The original X1 is one of my personal favorite BMWs, though it doesn’t get as much love as it should elsewhere, and this new one is shaping up to be even better. Yes, it’s front-wheel drive based, which may seem like sacrilege to BMW fans, but that doesn’t matter. With xDrive, the new X1 should be just as fun as the old one to drive, maybe even more so. And being front-wheel drive based, it’s cheaper for BMW to make, allowing the savings to be passed down to the customer, via more standard equipment and higher build quality. It also means better packaging and more interior space, something the original lacked. So all in all, this new X1 is shaping up to be quite a good little car. I can’t wait until we can test one out and see how the first FWD BMW handles.
The 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i will arrive in US showrooms in Fall 2015.
2016 BMW X1 Sport Line
2016 BMW X1 Exterior Design
2016 BMW X1 Interior Design