The redesigned 2016 BMW X1 may look like an evolutionary upgrade from the outgoing compact crossover, but it will actually be the first BMW sold in the U.S. to use the company’s new front-drive platform, called UKL. The second generation of BMW’s smallest X model migrates to this new architecture shared with the MINI Cooper, and will hit U.S. dealerships this fall with a new four-cylinder engine, a roomier interior, and some new technology features.
While the previous BMW X1 shared its chassis with the E90 3 Series, this shift to a front-drive platform means that the new 2016 BMW X1 utilizes space better and is more fuel-efficient. BMW says the X1 has 1.5 inches of additional rear legroom, and 15 percent more cargo space than the last model. Despite the roomier interior, the wheelbase is 3 inches shorter and the new car weighs about 100 pounds less than its predecessor.
The 2016 BMW X1 will launch in the U.S. with one model: the xDrive 28i which comes standard with all-wheel drive and a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine makes its 228 hp and 258 lb-ft through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and is expected to deliver better fuel economy than the outgoing X1’s 22/32 mpg city/highway ratings. Gone from the U.S. lineup are the six-cylinder 35i model and the rear-wheel-drive sDrive28i model.
On the outside, the 2016 BMW X1 adopts a sleeker new look with large kidney grilles up front and larger headlights. The greenhouse is more upright and SUV-like than on the outgoing, wagon-like X1. A rising character line along the side and large taillights out back align the X1 with its X3 and X4 siblings, and a performance-oriented M Sport trim adds different wheels and tires along with a sport suspension and a few interior upgrades.
The revised interior looks to be significantly more upscale than before, with more luxurious materials and a few interesting color combinations, including rich-looking brown leather surfaces. The latest generation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is included, and active-safety features like lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control are part of the Driver Assistance and Driver Assistance Plus option packages.
Stay tuned for more information on the 2016 BMW X1 crossover over the next few months, including pricing and fuel economy numbers, before it goes on sale this fall.