Twelve years after bowing as BMW’s smallest X model and after a seven-year production run of the second generation, the X1 has officially been replaced by an all-new version South Africa will be privy to from the fourth quarter of this year.
The most compact generation X1 to date, the newcomer, internally known as U11, continues to make use of the FAAR front-wheel-drive platform, but with an overall length gain of 53 mm for a total of 4 500 mm and extended by 22 mm, with a wheelbase of 2 962 mm.
Measuring 1 845 mm wide, an uptake of 24mm over the outgoing F48, and 1 642 mm tall, an increase of 44 mm, the X1 appears in line with BMW’s current styling language, but jettisons the controversial grille and split headlight arrangement of the facelift X7 and new 7 Series.
Instead, it retains the still huge X3-inspired kidney grille, slimmer LED headlights with optional Adaptive LED diodes, vertical L-shaped faux chrome air inlets on the flanks of the bumper and side profile of its sibling.
Still resplendent with the upwards moving shoulder line from the C-pillar back, the X1’s rear facia has been restyled to include new headlights and an overall concave-style look resembling not only that of the X3, but also the 1 Series.
As before, three trim level will be offered; base, M Sport and xLine with the former receiving 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the latter gains dark grey 18-inch light alloy wheels, Glacier Silver mirror caps, satin alloy exterior trim and chrome front and rear skidplates.
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Besides its model specific front and rear bumpers, extended door sills and 18-inch M light alloys, the M Sport gets the gloss Shadowline exterior pack and the M adaptive suspension as standard. Optional are up to 20-inch alloy wheels and a selection of colours from BMW Individual’s Frozen catalogue.
Underneath, Munich has made a series of changes to the X1’s chassis, namely equipping it with new front and rear axles, a retuned steering, a new wheel slip detection and limitation actuator, as well as aluminium support mounts said to be three kilograms lighter than those of the old X1.
In addition, the anti-roll-bar mounts have been improved, the damping for the suspension upgraded and the steering axle increased by 15%.
On top of this, BMW has uprated the brakes, fitted new springs and dampers and made the rear axle subframe more rigid, while also allowing for a 15 mm ride height drop for model equipped with the adaptive M suspension.
Inside, the X1 becomes the latest recipient of BMW’s Curved Display, made-up of the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a smaller 10.7-inch iDrive infotainment system, still with over-the-air updates, the 8.0 operating system, Intelligent Personal Assistant and BMW Maps.
Aside from the usual assortment of colours, materials and veneers, the X1 becomes only the second X model after the iX to feature the floating centre console-cum-armrest that houses not only the iDrive interface, but also the roller volume control for the audio system, mode selector and the toggle switch that operates the standard fare seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Further fitted with new seats, embedded satellite navigation on all models, plus four type-C USB ports as well as dual-zone climate control, the X1’s mentioned sound systems comprises either the standard six-speaker 100-watt, or the optional 205-watt, 12-speaker Harman Kardon.
A panoramic sunroof is again optional, with the same applying to the ambient lighting system, the leather Sport steering wheel and heated front seats.
As for boot space, BMW claims an improvement of 35-litres to 540-litres with the rear seats up, and 50-litres for a total of 1 600-litres with the 40/20/40 split rear back folded down.
The extensive array of safety and driver assistance systems, new or updated, consists of Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Adaptive Cruise Control, Wrong-way Warning, Surround-View camera with Parking Assistant, Emergency Steer and Lane Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
On the propulsion front, a choice of seven engines are provided. In the case of the entry-level sDrive18i, the 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol produces 100kW/230Nm, while the xDrive23i not only boasts the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, but 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance that adds 14kW/55Nm as part of an overboost to the standard 150kW/320Nm made by its 2.0-litre engine.
In North America though, the X1 will make do with the latter unit, but under the xDrive 28i moniker and rated at 180kW/400Nm without the 48-volt system.
Diesel-power comes in the shape of two models; the sDrive18d, whose 2.0-litre unit delivers 110kW/360Nm, and the xDrive23d that follows its petrol equivalent by gaining mild-hybrid assistance for a “before overboost” output of 145kW/400Nm.
For Europe, BMW will make the X1 available with two plug-in hybrid mills. In the xDrive25e, the 1.5-litre petrol has been combined with a 14.2-kWh battery responsible for powering an 80 kW electric motor.
Combined, the setup produces 180 kW with the maximum electric range being 89 km. A 7.4-kW charger is standard and will result in a waiting time of 2.5 hours plugged into a fast charging network.
Capping the range off, the xDrive30e joins the 2.0-litre turbo with a 16.4-kWh battery that drives a 130 kW electric motor.
Total system output is 240 kW with torque, like in the xDrive25e, capped at 477 Nm. Despite its greater output, the xDrive30e’s charging time is identical to that of the xDrive25e. Claimed range is 78 km.
Produced at the Regensburg Plant in Germany, final spec and price for the X1 will be announced closer to its South African model launch, but expect only petrol and diesel power with the hybrids set to remain a no-no.