The second-generation ultra-compact crossover has been unveiled ahead of its official in-the-flesh Frankfurt motor show debut in September. And its clever use of space, new engines and stronger styling cues could well be enough to send its competitors packing.
The first X1 was less like a small SUV and more like a compact estate car on stilts but, thanks to the growing popularity of crossovers of all sizes and the increasing choice, even in the premium segment, BMW has really changed things up for the new car.
And the biggest change is its packaging -- how the engines are mounted. It might seem trivial, but, by turning the powerplants sideways, they take up less room in the engine bay. This means the cabin can be considerably roomier instead, without having to increase the X1's footprint beyond compact proportions.
This is particularly good news for rear-seat passengers' legs and their belongings. There's an extra 37mm of knee room in the back and an extra 85 liters of storage capacity in the trunk. What's more, the rear seats slide back and forward (for even more leg room) or, at the push of a button in the luggage compartment, collapse automatically, for eliminating those incredibly frustrating moments when hands are full grappling with suitcases, shopping and available trunk space.
As well as space, creature comforts are high on the agenda for the X1. For the first time, the car's available with a head-up display, plus BMW's suite of intelligent semi-autonomous driving aids, while air conditioning, an audio system with USB inputs and the iDrive operating system complete with 6.5-inch integrated display are all standard.
The engine repackaging has also resulted in the car looking more like an off-roader with a shortened, more aggressive nose, higher roofline and wider wheel arches, while those now transversely mounted engines all hail from the company's new range of efficient, compact powerplants and will initially include two petrol and three diesel units.
Horsepower on tap will range from 150hp to 321hp and that power will run to either the front wheels or to all four wheels via either a new six-speed manual or equally new eight-speed automatic gearbox.
BMW will release more details about the engines' performance when the X1 is officially unveiled in September. The new X1 will go on sale in Europe in October.