BMW has revealed the second generation X1. Designed to take on the Audi Q3 and Mazda CX-3, the completely overhauled compact SUV aims to continue the success of the first model, which racked up over 40,000 UK sales since its launch in 2009.
So what exactly has changed for the 2015 X1? We’ve compared it side-by-side with its predecessor to find out.
While much under the skin is all-new, BMW didn’t want to fiddle with a winning formula, so many of the exterior changes are subtle. Reshaped headlights make the biggest change at the front – where the old car’s wide, slightly rounded shape made it appear almost startled, the new car’s angled units look more aggressive, and tie it in more closely with the rest of the BMW range. The new units are complemented by a slightly wider grille, and there are some tiny changes to the front bumper.
Along the sides of the new X1, it’s easy to spot the shorter bonnet and longer roof, which balances out the extra 53mm of height boasted by the 2015 model. At the back, completely redesigned tail lights take inspiration from the 1 Series, and fit the overall design better than before.
The cabin of the first-gen X1 was beginning to look past its best, so the changes inside couldn’t have come soon enough. The current X1’s centre console features a sharper design than before, and is angled towards the driver for a more sporty feel and to make it easier to find the radio when you’re driving.
A new steering wheel looks much more modern than the item it replaces, and the top of the dash features a 6.5-inch display (with an 8.8-inch screen optionally available) which is controlled via an updated version of BMW’s iDrive system for controlling the car’s systems.
The new car’s wheelbase (that’s the distance between front and back wheels) has grown by 90mm which is most obvious to back seat passengers, who now have significantly more space than before. As an optional extra, buyers can now specify a sliding rear bench seat. It can move fore and aft by 13cm in order to vary between maximum boot space or generous rear legroom. In its normal position, there’s 505 litres of boot space on offer – 85 litres more than the old car.
Those of a thirsty disposition will be pleased to hear that the X1’s door pockets are now large enough to hold one-litre bottles, while general storage space has improved throughout.
Driving and engines
The X1’s engine lineup is all new, with one petrol and three diesel units making up the range.
The petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit badges as the xDrive20i, and the 18d, 20d, and 25d are all variations of the same 2.0-litre diesel. Each version is both faster and more economical than before (aside from the xDrive20d, which returns an identical 57.6mpg to the old unit).
The petrol xDrive20i unit has become much more appealing to buyers. In the previous model, a less-than-impressive 37.7mpg fuel economy made it a difficult car to justify, but its replacement reaches 62mph 0.4 seconds quicker and is 7.1mpg more efficient at 44.8mpg. Meanwhile, the top of the range xDrive25d produces 231hp and a whopping 332lb ft of torque, yet returns 56.5mpg – that’s 8.6mpg better than before.
There’s also a new coasting function fitted to the eight-speed automatic gearbox. When the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator, the transmission completely disengages (much like pressing down on the clutch pedal in a manual car) to save fuel.
Many of these efficiency and performance improvements have come courtesy of the new chassis and lightened xDrive four-wheel-drive system. The greater proportion of high strength steel used in the 2015 car’s construction not only makes the car more rigid, but by reducing the overall weight should make the X1 feel more agile than its predecessor on the road.
The X1 now gains an automatic tailgate to access that larger boot, and there’s a hands free function allows users to simply swipe their foot beneath the rear bumper to open it. A panoramic glass sunroof helps to brighten up the cabin, while an optional 12-speaker hi-fi produced by Harmon Kardon should keep music lovers happy.
Sat-nav is standard on all X1 models – from September you’ll get it included on every single BMW.
The latest X1 is equipped with what BMW calls Active Guard. This includes a collision warning system which primes the brakes if it feels a collision is imminent. At speeds under 30mph, emergency city braking can bring the car to a complete halt automatically if it predicts that the driver has not reacted in time.
The X1 also makes use of cameras to aid its driver assistance systems, such as lane departure warning and High Beam Assistant – a system which prevents the driver from dazzling oncoming cars at night.
Active cruise control with traffic jam assistant enables the X1 to follow traffic at a safe speed, and even bring the car to a halt depending on the speed of cars travelling ahead.
From the outside, the new headlights are now full LED units for XLine and M Sport versions, while all cars gain LED daytime running lights.
Prices and release date
BMW have yet to announce the prices of the revised X1, but the outgoing xDrive20i starts from £27,280. The new line-up will go on sale on 24 October.