2016 BMW X1 spy shots
While the current X1 is based on the rear-wheel-drive platform of the BMW 1-Series and is available with either rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations, the next-generation X1 will be adopting the UKL platform debuting in the 2015 MINI Cooper. The UKL comes with front-wheel drive in its most basic form but has the option of all-wheel drive thanks to a Haldex-style multi-plate clutch setup. It is this latter option that will feature predominantly in the next-generation BMW X1 as well as the next MINI Cooper Countryman, though both should still be available with front-wheel drive as standard.
A spy video of an earlier prototype shows the front wheels slipping when the vehicle tires to accelerate on a wet patch of road, confirming the front-wheel-drive configuration. This means the next-generation BMW X1 won’t be as sporty as the current model, though it should be just as capable when equipped with all-wheel drive. It should also be considerably more practical due to the better packaging of front-wheel-drive layouts.
BMW insiders have previously said a switch to a front-wheel-drive platform like the UKL means engineers will be able to improve packaging while also reducing production costs due to economies of scale (UKL will be used for a handful of future MINIs and BMWs). Interior space, in particular, is expected to grow thanks to the transverse mounting of the engine.
BMW is also believed to be working on a straight-six engine that can be transversely mounted (a requirement for UKL), though it’s unclear if this will be fitted to the next X1. Four-cylinder units will definitely get the nod for the U.S. market, while elsewhere BMW will likely offer its new family of three-cylinder engines.
We expect this new X1 to be revealed in late 2015 with sales to commence early the following year. Stay tuned for updates as development progresses.