BMW X1 has been a smashing hit for the Munich-based automaker. The rear-wheel drive and xDrive models sold to 300,000 customers around the world since its market launch in Fall 2009. The X1 was praised by magazines and rewarded for its agile handling, fuel efficiency and extraordinary versatility.

But the next generation X1 might go through a dramatic change. According to Autocar UK, the second generation of the premium compact SAV will go on sale in 2015 and will trade the rear-wheel-drive platform with the new front-drive architecture to be shared with future MINIs and the upcoming 1 Series GT which will launch at the Paris Auto Show.

Insiders told Autocar that the decision to drop the iconic rear-wheel drive platform is directly related to BMW’s goals to lower production costs, while offering added packaging benefits. The second generation X1 might offer an upgraded interior and gadgetry thanks to new space-saving that will results from the mounting of the engine.

To further reduce production costs, the X1 will share many of its key elements with the second-generation MINI Countryman. The two models will be part of the new compact car family called UKL.

First lineup to be based on the new UKL architecture is the next generation MINI. Dubbed F56, similar to the nomenclature used by BMW vehicles, the third-generation MINI will come to market in 2013.  This product family aims to offer similar technical options for different body types.

There is also still hope for customers looking for an xDrive X1 model. The front-wheel drive architecture will be combined with Haldex style multi-plate clutch to provide a four-wheel drive capability.

Under the hood, the X1 family will make exclusive use of four-cylinder engine since BMW has already confirmed that it has no plans to re-engineer its six-cylinder engine for transverse mounting.

[Source: Autocar]