Although the BMW X1 compact crossover has only just arrived in the U.S., the model has actually been around for several years since its European introduction in 2009. It comes as no surprise, then, that BMW is already testing the next-generation X1, which we spied in Germany.
The new BMW X1 will be a significant departure from the current model, as it will be based on BMW’s new front-wheel-drive architecture (code-named UKL) that will underpin future BMW 1 Series models and some Mini models. The current BMW X1 is based on a rear-wheel-drive platform from the last-generation BMW 3 Series wagon and the current BMW X3.
In these spy photos, the 2016 BMW X1 looks to adopt a slightly more bulbous, crossover-like shape with a taller greenhouse and longer overhangs. The X1 will continue to be BMW’s smallest crossover, though, and the size doesn’t seem to have changed much based on this prototype. The BMW X3 slots in above the X1 and will most likely continue on its current platform for a few years; we also recently spied a prototype of the upcoming X4 crossover-coupe model that should debut sometime this year. It is the same size as the X4, but with a curving coupe-like roof.
The new front-wheel-drive architecture should result in better interior space than before, correcting one of the current model’s weaknesses. We expect the 2016 BMW X1 to be offered with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, with turbocharged engines providing the power. In the U.S., the current BMW X1 offers either a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, and we expect similar configurations for the next X1.
Expect the 2016 BMW X1 to debut sometime in 2015.