Published on June 3rd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW unveils the second generation BMW X1
The X1 was one of BMW’s first crossover vehicles that tried to fill the gap between standard compact hatchbacks and SUVs (or SAV as they insist on calling it). It was lower and wider, making it a more nimble vehicle- more akin to a wagon with a lifted suspension, and that was a pretty good thing. At launch in Malaysia, the first generation X1 had a horribly stiff suspension choice. This was quickly rectified with the facelift and introduction of EfficientDynamic engines to the range of variants, significantly improving the popularity of the little crossover. 730,000 of these first generation X1s were sold over the course of it’s lifespan, which is impressive for what was positioned as a niche product to begin with.
This is the new generation- a full model change. Not a life cycle impulse as BMW loves to throw around for their mid-generation facelift models. With each passing generation (except maybe the MX-5), cars have gotten larger in size. The X1 is no different, with a 53 mm increase in height that offers a more commanding view of the road. It seems BMW is eager to creep away from the wagon archetype and position the X1 as a proper baby SUV.
It may come as a punch in the gut for BMW fans, but the X1 has gone the way of the ActiveTourer and such. The engine is now positioned transversely and while the xDrive powertrain is still fully available, it is now front biased. Naturally this means the front end geometry takes on a redesign to accommodate the new powertrain layout. From launch, BMW will be providing 4 different 2.0-litre engine options in various states of tune, two being petrol and two being diesel. Lower end powertrains will have xDrive as an option instead, and will be front wheel drive if the xDrive box is not ticked. 8 speed automatics are available as standard.
Design wise, it’s a mild evolution over the outgoing model. The same overall proportions are there, but it’s in the small details where BMW’s design department has been put to work. It’s a little rounder on the whole, with the bodywork curving round the back and forcing the rear clusters to be a little more compact. Elements of the ActiveTourer are clear, superimposed on that sporty frame of the X1. The interior is largely similar to the other BMW models you find now, with a 6.5-inch iDrive display coming standard.
Naturally there are a few lines to choose from when picking your X1, depending on your taste. The new “xLine” is aimed to be a little more rugged in nature, with underbody protection and the like- ideal for those hitting some rutted gravel roads. The “Sport Line” returns, and it’s self explanatory- a few sharp design cues and pieces that make the X1 look less pedestrian. Sitting at the top is the “M Sport” line, throwing in a bunch of ///M components and applying blue to the interior liberally.
Is the X1 headed in the right direction? Perhaps. The majority of the X1 demographic does not really care whether it can do mad skids or has the kind of handling balance only offered by rear-biased setups. Efficiency and comfort are prime concerns- and on that note, the X1 looks like it will deliver.