What is it
BMW has sold more than 730,000 X1 crossovers since it debuted in 2009, so its second-generation evolvement is important for the German brand. Here it is in Frankfurt, but you'd barely recognize it with how it's grown. It's now a full-blooded crossover, competing with the likes of Audi's Q3, but it really makes sense for BMW to capitalize on the exploding compact crossover segment; the previous version was basically a taller wagon. "We are talking about a fast-growing segment with small SAVs (sport activity vehicle) around the world," says Stephan Müller, BMW's global product manager. "The good thing about that story is that you can sell small SAVs in America, in Europe, in Asia – everybody likes it. And we have a convincing product here."
The new shape. BMW has morphed the X1 into a true crossover sport activity vehicle, and it's now taller (by 53 millimetres) than the last version. But it's also shorter by 15 millimetres; that's because it turned the four cylinder engine transversely so it could shorten the front end. And yet, it has more rear passenger room (37 millimetres more knee room, with up to 66mm more with the optional adjustable seat) and more cargo room (505 litres in total) than the last version. The seats have also been raised more than the last version for a more authoritative view of the road. The X1 now more closely resembles the rest of the X lineup.
What else is new
With the use of light-weight materials, BMW dropped 30 kilograms from the last iteration for a total weight of 1,660 kilograms. Also, the X1 will get the same heads-up display that the X3 and X5 share. And the interior has been upgraded with more quality and a wider variety of materials and colours for a more upscale look. Dynamic damper control, LED headlights and Driving Assistant Plus, which is BMW's suite of safety features such as lane departure warning and active cruise control, are also new to the X1.
Under the hood
For Canada and the U.S., the X1 will sport an all-new 228-horsepower, twin-turbocharged inline four cylinder with 258 lb-ft of torque, the same sort of architecture that sits under the hood of Minis and the upcoming 2 Series. No word on whether BMW will bring a clean-burning diesel version to North America.
When can we buy it, and for how much
The BMW X1 will be available around mid-November in Canada. In Europe, two gasoline and three diesel engines are available, but here the only option will be the xDrive 28i with all-wheel drive. The starting price is $38,800 – almost $2,000 more than the last version – and goes up sharply with options.
3 stars (out of 5).
Not exactly a standout vehicle among a sea of small crossovers, but the X1 should be a competent competitor against the likes of the Q3, Land Rover Evoque and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter