With the new F48 X1 BMW of North America will launch an all-wheel drive vehicle based on a front wheel drive (FWD) platform. While that smacks of heresy to the fanboix, it is the way forward. The competition from Audi, Mercedes Benz, and Japanese lux-brands for small SUVs are all FWD based. And some of them are quite good.
But BMW of North America needs the new X1 – since the original E84 X1 came to this market BMW NA has sold over 64,000 X1s with the highest sales coming in its second year in market. The X1 should be an entry into the brand and it should sell like the X3 and X5 – it has to capture market share from other luxury makes and from those moving up from mainstream brands.
The new X1, with its better proportions and stylish interiors may draw buyers in. And one suspects that the potential buyers are agnostic in regards to the orientation of the drivetrain (Mercedes Benz’s GLA being a good example).
The F48 X1 has gained some height and interior space over the departing F84 X1. And given its shorter hood, the new F48 X1 looks righter than the outgoing F48 X1 (that actually has a bit of an echo of the long nose in relation to its cabin that the much derided, but yet loved, E36/8 Z3 ‘clown shoe’ had).
BMW should price this car at a $3,000 to $4,000 premium over the mainstream makers cute-utes and on a par with the luxury competition. The idea is that the Roundel, and the true luxury interior, will entice younger buyers into the fold. Given recent reviews of the driving dynamics it would appear that it will hold its own with, if not dominate, the competition.
But BMW has to find a way for non-BMW owners to put their toes in the water with the X1 in order to turn them into repeat owners. Look for really good lease deals when the F48 X1 comes to the US market.