BMW has released official photos of its new X1 crossover. In effect, the new model will replace the X3 at the base of BMW’s SUV range when the second generation of that model arrives next year.
Due on sale in the U.S. next year, the X1 will offer buyers the choice between standard rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive — something that has prompted BMW officials to describe it as “more a crossover than an off-roader.”
This is also backed up in the X1’s wagon-like styling. It eschews the upright, rugged look of traditional SUVs for a relatively low and rakish profile that carries elements of the German car maker’s latest design lineage. There’s a large kidney grille incorporated into an enormous front bumper and a deeply etched swage line drawn in the flanks.
The introduction of the X1 has been made possible in part by a decision to take the X3 further upmarket. As it stands, the two cars are remarkably similar in size; the X1 is just 4.5in. shorter, 2in. narrower and 5in. lower than the X3, at 175in. long, 71in. wide and 61in. high.
Although the European versions will offer five different engines, “in light of rapidly evolving U.S. market demands, fuel prices, and regulatory standards, elements of the X1’s U.S. launch plan, including engine and drivetrain configurations, will be forthcoming closer to the time of launch,” BMW says. Announced engines for the Euro model include a 141hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit and a range-topping 258hp 3.0-liter straight six. The six-cylinder engine delivers 0-62mph acceleration in 6.2sec and a top speed of 127mph.
On the diesel side of the range, there are three 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines with 141hp, 175hp and, in twin-turbocharged guise, 201hp. The most modest of those three powerplants is claimed to return combined-cycle fuel consumption of 54 mpg.
The base gasoline and bottom two diesels come with the choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive, while the remainder are four-wheel drive exclusively. Gearbox choices include a standard six-speed manual or, depending on the engine sitting up front, an optional six-speed automatic with shift paddles on the face of the steering wheel.
The X1 sits on modified underpinnings from the 3-series, with MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension, a 109in. wheelbase and track widths of 59.1in. up front and 60.2 at the rear.
Unlike the second-generation X3 and the existing X5 and X6 – all of which will be produced together in BMW’s Spartanburg factory in Sorth Carolina – the X1 will be assembled at BMW’s Leipzig factory in Germany, alongside the 1-series and 3-series.