► Official pictures of new BMW X1
► It’s the second-generation baby SUV
► Now more distinct from 3-series range
BMW has unveiled the new 2015-spec X1, the smallest member of its burgeoning crossover family. And it’s now less of a 3-series Touring cut-‘n’-shut and more of a junior SUV in its own right, judging by these first photographs.
Munich has switched the engineering package of the X1, you see. Instead of being a rear-wheel drive set-up shared with the 3-series, it’s now based on the front-wheel drive hardware underpinning everything from the latest Mini family to the new 2-series Active Tourer range.
Yes, it’s another front-wheel drive BMW…
BMW X1 (2015): the highlights
Swivelling the engine into a transverse position and shunting drive forwards and not rearwards has legion benefits. Like an 85-litre increase in boot capacity, up to 505 litres. Three individual rear seats (a sliding bench is an option). And more space for bodies, as well as bags, thanks to a 53mm – or two-inch – stretch upwards to give it more of an SUV-like stance.
And if the thought of a FWD BMW still fills you fear, fret not: you can order xDrive all-wheel drive models across the new X1 range. Its electro-hydraulic clutch pack will shuffle torque to the axle with the most grip, in extremis 100% either end will receive all the torque.
No prizes for guesing the engine line-up powering the new X1. They’re all snaffled from across the Mini and 2-series parts bins – and that means everything from three-cylinder 1.5s to larger four-pot turbos. No straight sixes yet.
Brits can choose from a diesel-heavy line-up, stretching from fleet-popular X1 sDrive18d with 148bhp and 65mpg up to a more muscular xDrive25d with 228bhp and 0-62mph in 6.6sec. On average, the engines in the new 2015 X1 are claimed to be 17% more fuel-efficient than before.
And that front-wheel drive architecture, which brings a package suprisingly close in looks to the 2-series Active Tourer from some angles, also introduces tech niceties such as full-LED headlights, active dampers and head-up displays. If you dig deep enough into the options list, that is.
The BMW X1 has been a surprisingly strong seller for BMW; even the more compromised first-generation model, hobbled as it was with a 3-series hand-me-down package, sold 730,000 units in its lifetime. Munich hopes this more focused X1 Mk2 will swell that figure further.