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BMW X1 (2015): the second coming of BM’s baby SUV

Published: 03 June 2015

► 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.

Inside the cabin of new 2015 BMW X1

Engines, specs

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.

BMW X1, Mk2

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet