Small outside, big inside. That’s been a major selling point for a new generation of compact Sport-Utility Vehicles, such as the BMW X1. And the German maker is promising to deliver even greater room, versatility — and performance — as it prepares to roll out the second-generation X1.
In keeping with broader trends in the luxury market, the new Sport Activity Vehicle, as BMW prefers to call it, will also yield more power even while cutting emissions and fuel consumption thanks to the latest EfficientDynamics technologies.
The debut of the 2016 BMW X1 comes just six years after the launch of the original model and underscores the increasingly competitive nature of a segment that barely existed when the first one hit the street. Sales of the original have already been approaching the 700,000 mark.
The trick for BMW and other upscale players has been to deliver something small that’s big on space and features. Overall length is just 175.4 inches, about 8.4 inches less than the mid-range X3 model. But the gap is even less noticeable when it comes to interior space, BMW claiming the 2016 X1 will boast the largest cabin size in its segment.
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Meanwhile, the new model sees its new, standard-issue power front seats raised by more than one inch. The rear seats rise 2.5 inches. Depending upon the choice of rear seats, back legroom grows by as much as 2.6 inches. The rear seat can be split 40:20:40, meanwhile, with an optional sliding and reclining bench available. A power-folding option is now available. Cargo space is up by about 15%.
In typical BMW fashion, the cockpit is “driver focused,” with its large surfaces and controls angled towards the pilot seat. A Head-Up Display, or HUD, system is among the many X1 options. The updated iDrive system can be paired with either a 6.5-inch display or a freestanding 8.8-inch monitor.
From the outside, there are a number of changes. Among other things, the 2016 BMW X1 now can be ordered with full LED front headlamps. The overall height – reflected in that higher seating position, has increased by 1.7 inches. The face of the new SAV is defined by its distinctive “six-eye” head and fog lamp layout, and the large air intakes and kidney grille. Flared wheels and character lines flow out of the grille. The overall stance appears to be more hunkered down in front, giving the new X1 a more kinetic sense of motion.
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The exterior is rounded out by standard 18-inch run-flat all-season tires, but a buyer can opt at no cost for standard all-season rubber with a mini-spare.
BMW also claims the new X1 will be the most powerful model in its class, the U.S. version powered by 2.0-liter TwinPower engine. This EfficientDynamics powertrain turns out 228-horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. U.S. mileage numbers won’t be released until closer to launch but based on promised lower emissions, fuel consumption should drop, as well.
The 2016 X1 xDrive x28i may be a mouthful to pronounce, but BMW promises improved handling with the updated all-wheel-drive system. Paired with the Dynamic Stability Control system, it automatically shifts torque wherever needed to help maintain grip and counteract both under and oversteer. Up to 100% of engine torque can be shifted to the rear wheels.
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The BMW X1 is more than just a cosmetic makeover, with the chassis completely redeveloped for 2016. It now uses aluminum wheel hubs, with high-strength steel axle carriers and control arms to reduce mass. There are tube-shaped anti-roll bars front and back. The X1 also features a speed-sensitive Servotronic electric power-steering system that increases boost for low-speed and parking maneuvers.
That system also helps reduce fuel consumption, as does the ECO PRO mode which disconnects the powertrain to reduce rolling resistance while coasting at speeds between 30 and 100 mph.
Along with other changes to the body and chassis, the X1 xDrive 28i drops to 3,660 lbs in base configuration, down 66 pounds from the 2015 model.
BMW says the 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i will reach U.S. showrooms by this coming autumn.