The second-generation X1 will be available in the international markets next year; and according to Autocar UK, will spawn a sportier X2 model. The new X1 is a part of an extended range of future models based on the company’s versatile UKL1 platform, as used by the latest Mini hatchback and new 2-series Active Tourer.
As a part of the company's effort to streamline operations and introduce greater economies of scale across its two top-selling brands, the new X1 and its upcoming X2 sibling are being developed in a joint engineering programme alongside the second-generation Mini Countryman and Clubman. They share their platform, drivelines, electrical systems and chassis with the latter two.
BMW has done away with the longitudinal engine mounting and choice of either rear drive or four-wheel drive of the current model. It is replaced by a space-saving transverse engine layout that will see BMW offer the new X1 and X2 in either front-drive or four-wheel-drive guises. By switching to a transverse engine, BMW’s designers and packaging experts have provided the second-generation X1 with what one insider describes as a whole new appearance."We’ve shortened up the bonnet, moved the windscreen forward and given the roofline additional slope towards the rear," the insider told Autocar UK. "The new model looks less like a small estate than today’s models. It is far more dynamic and sleeker in profile."
In line with the change in the mechanical layout, BMW’s price-leading SUV will also feature more compact dimensions, moving it further away from the more expensive X3 in size. However, while the X1 will retain a five-door body, standard five-seat interior and conventional tailgate in the interests of everyday practicality, BMW is planning to give the X2 a more sporty three-door layout and a four-seat interior that will see it pitched as a high-riding coupé with a liftback-style tailgate.
For markets such as China, Russia and the US, BMW plans to offer an extended cabin option for the new X1, with a longer rear overhang. This will increase the boot capacity to enable the packaging of a third row of seats and accommodation for up to seven occupants. This mirrors the move set to be undertaken in the 2-series Active Tourer too.
Among the engines planned to power the new X1 and X2 is a range of turbocharged three-cylinder and four-cylinder petrol and diesel units – as used by the 2-series Active Tourer. The petrol engines will range from a base 1.5-litre, three-cylinder unit with 136bhp in a planned front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive18i to a 2.0-litre four-pot packing 231bhp in a four-wheel-drive X1 xDrive25i. The diesels are set to span from a 114bhp 1.5-litre triple in the front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive16d to a 168bhp 2.0-litre in a four-wheel-drive X1 xDrive20d. A 148bhp 2.0 diesel in the sDrive18d is also on the list.
Alongside standard models, BMW is also working on a performance variant of the new X1 as a rival to the likes of the Audi Q3 RS and the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG. Details remain scarce, though automotive industry component supplier sources close to BMW’s M division confirm that the company is engineering a high-output variant of its parent company’s new B48 turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. In standard guise, it kicks out a maximum of 231bhp, as fitted to the 225i Active Tourer. However, detailed revisions to the induction system, together with other power-enhancing tweaks, are said take peak output to "well over 300bhp".
It is still unclear whether this new engine will be offered in the X1 or remain the preserve of the more sporting X2. But in combination with standard four-wheel drive, it promises to provide the future BMW SUV with heady levels of performance. Nothing is official, but a 0-100kph time of under 5.0sec and a limited 250kph top speed are well on the cards for for this new SUV pairing.
Also under development, but not likely to form part of the initial launch line-up, is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version of the new X1. It is claimed to use a similar powertrain set-up to that of BMW’s original Active Tourer concept car, revealed at the 2012 Paris motor show. It used a 1.5-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine to power the front wheels and an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, with a combined system output of 190bhp.