The current BMW X1 only reached U.S. shores in 2012, but overseas the compact crossover has been on sale since 2009. That’s why BMW is already introducing a new model, which has been revealed in full ahead of a likely debut at September’s 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. A sales launch has been confirmed for the fall of this year, making the new X1 a 2016 model year arrival.

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It has some major boots to fill. The outgoing model turned out to be a sales success for BMW, with almost 62,000 sold in the U.S. to date—and that’s over a three-year period only. But this new one has a lot going for it. For instance, it features a much more handsome design as well as a roomier cabin and a more fuel-efficient drivetrain.

The major improvements have come about by the adoption of the BMW Group’s UKL platform. Front-wheel drive in its native form, the UKL platform underpins the latest MINI models as well as BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer range, and now it’s been utilized for the new X1. In contrast, the outgoing X1 was based on a rear-wheel-drive platform.

2016 BMW X1

2016 BMW X1

The 2016 X1 for its U.S. market launch will be available exclusively in xDrive28i trim. This means a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an all-wheel-drive system. Peak output registers at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and the only transmission is an eight-speed auto. BMW says the 2016 X1 will accelerate to 60 mph from rest in 6.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 mph, both reasonable figures for the class. Overseas, buyers are likely to have the choice of some diesels and possibly BMW’s 1.5-liter three-cylinder mills.

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The all-wheel-drive system of the all new X1 consists of a single-speed bevel gear and a rear-axle drive unit with a Haldex-style multi-plate clutch. Depending on conditions, up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque can be sent to the rear wheels within fractions of a second. The electronic stability control system constantly monitors metrics such as the vehicle’s speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering lock, wheel-speed, pitch, accelerator position system and more, and uses this to determine the ideal power split between the front and rear wheels.

2016 BMW X1

2016 BMW X1

Moving inside the new X1, buyers will find more head and legroom than in the previous model. The rear seatback can be split 40:20:40, with the three sections folding down individually or jointly. An optional sliding and reclining rear bench can also be ordered, and there’s also an option for power-folding rear seats. The dash features your standard BMW driver-focused layout, with a large central display (6.5 inches as standard or 8.8 inches optionally available) for the iDrive interface.

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Some of the additional tech features offered on the new X1 include a head-up display, a range of apps and remote services, and electronic driving aids grouped in the Driver Assistance Plus package. The latter includes features such as parking sensors, lane departure and front collision warning systems, speed limit info, and active cruise control with BMW’s Stop & Go function. A backup camera is also included in this package.

Pricing information for the 2016 BMW X1 will be announced closer to the market launch this fall.


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