BMW’s new X1 is the real green 4x4 from Bavaria. Forget about X5s with solar panels on the roof because this baby SUV will have an eight-speed auto and Efficient Dynamics technology. It’ll also spawn a Mini 4x4.
Snapped cold weather testing in Scandinavia the X1, dubbed E84, is still over 18 months from production. It’s expected to go on sale in late 2009, after a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September next year.
The BMW X1 will use underpinnings from the four-wheel drive 3-series Touring available on the Continent. Mercedes will do the same with its forthcoming GLK, basing it on the 4Matic C-class estate.
How will BMW differentiate the X1 and X3?
Even the Bavarians are struggling with this one. The next X3 won’t grow too much in size so the X1 will be more youth-orientated. Note the sharply raked rear screen. But it won’t be too small, as that rear overhang should provide plenty of boot space. The long nose will also make sure the X1 meets the latest pedestrian crash regulations.
When the X1 arrives in 2009 it will have the market to itself, so it should hit its 60,000 sales per year target. The Audi Q1 and Merc’s new small SUV won’t appear until the start of the next decade
Will the engines line-up mirror the BMW 3-series?
There won’t be an M version but expect the latest four and six-cylinder engines, with direction injection and turbocharging. ZF will provide the eight-speed auto that will both cut acceleration times and improve fuel consumption. The X1 will also come with BMW’s Efficient Dynamics package, meaning a stop/start system and an alternator that only charges under braking. Manual versions of the X1 will also get a gearshift indictor, while the diesels will get NOx reducing systems.
What’s all this about a Mini 4x4?
The BMW X1 will lend its platform to Mini which will produce its own SUV. Production of the two will be at the Magna-Steyr plant in Austria, now that X3 production will move Stateside to BMW's Spartanburg plant alongside the X5 and X6.
Are BMW working on any other 4x4s?
Depending on how the X6 sells BMW may launch an X4 based on the X3. There is also the long-rumoured X7 waiting in the wings to take on the Range Rover, but with EU emissions laws uncertain that car may never see the light of day.