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by Tim Beissmann

The covers are off the 2016 BMW X1 – the German brand’s second-generation compact SUV that’s new from the ground up and mechanically overhauled from the 2009 original.

The new X1 becomes the BMW Group’s third model based on its new front-/all-wheel-drive and transverse engine-aligned UKL architecture, following the third-gen Mini Cooper city car and the 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, and replacing the rear-/all-wheel-drive and longitudinal layout of the first-gen model.

While overall vehicle length is down 36mm to 4439mm, the 2016 BMW X1 is said to be much more spacious inside, thanks to its more space-efficient drivetrain layout and its longer wheelbase (+90mm), and increased width (+21mm) and height (+53mm).

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BMW has raised the seating position by 36mm in the front and 64mm in the back to create a more commanding view from the cabin. Rear legroom has increased up to 66mm thanks to an optionally adjustable rear bench than can slide 130mm fore and aft.

The 505-litre boot is 85L larger than before, while dropping the 40:20:40 rear seats opens up 1550L of load space behind the front seats.

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The second-generation X1 range initially features two tunes of a petrol engine and three tunes of a diesel engine – both 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged units.

The entry petrol – available in sDrive20i and xDrive20i layouts – produces 141kW and 280Nm, while the more powerful xDrive25i variant makes 170kW and 350Nm. Both consume between 6.3 and 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, while the quicker of the two sprints from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds.

The base diesel – the sDrive18d – generates 110kW and 330Nm and drinks as little as 4.1L/100km combined. Next up is the xDrive20d, which pumps out 140kW and 400Nm, while the flagship xDrive25d makes a meatier 170kW and 450Nm. The latter two drink between 4.9 and 5.2L/100km, while the most powerful diesel launches to triple figures in 6.6 seconds.

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An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across all variants except the entry diesel, which comes with a six-speed manual and can be optioned with the auto.

Turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are expected to join the line-up sometime after the launch, potentially making the X1 more affordable and definitely more fuel efficient than ever before.

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The 2016 BMW X1’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is updated from the original version, claiming to be significantly lighter and boasting fewer torque losses than its predecessor. If required, the system can divert 100 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels, collaborating with the car’s stability control and hill descent control electric systems.

Variable sports steering and dynamic damper control are new to the X1, the latter of which can be activated via the driving experience control switch, which allows drivers to cycle between Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro modes.

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Other new technology features include a head-up display, the Navigation Plus system with an 8.8-inch display screen, and the Driving Assistant Plus suite of systems that incorporates lane departure warning, speed limit information, anti-dazzle high beams, collision warning, pedestrian warning, city braking, active cruise control with stop and go function, and traffic jam assist, which at speeds up to 60km/h takes over acceleration, braking and steering responsibilities so long as the driver has one hand on the steering wheel.

The second-gen BMW X1 will make its public debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show before launching in overseas markets from October.

The new model is expected to reach Australian showrooms early next year, with pricing tipped to largely mirror the outgoing version, which ranges from $46,300 to $59,900 before on-road costs.




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