New BMW X1 SUV nears production

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By Moses Akaigwe

BMW is set to revolutionise its smallest SUV, the X1, with a new third-generation model, and Autoexpress spied it testing at the Nurburgring. 

The German automaker’s recent teaser of its iX1 confirmed the next X1 would be joined by an all-electric SUV in a similar vein to BMW’s iX3 and X3 SUV range. The X1 will move to an updated version of the current car’s platform, allowing BMW to offer petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions of its Audi Q3 rival. 

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These new spies show the car with less camouflage than before. It is likely this mule is an M-Sport model because the angular front bumper is similar to that on the new 2 Series Coupe M-Sport. BMW has opted for a kidney grille less imposing than that of the 4 Series or new 7 Series, and the headlights are not too dissimilar from the current X1’s. 

At the side we see a new split five-spoke alloy wheel design and at the rear there is a roof spoiler and traditional BMW ‘L’ shaped signature rear light design. There’s no aggressive diffuser on the rear bumper, but there are a couple of inserts where exhaust tips may appear later in development. 

A slight growth spurt will give the car more presence, with a boxier, taller and more imposing profile

The X1 will make its debut in the second half of this year and go on sale in Britain before 2022 is out..

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The current X1 is now BMW’s oldest car in the firm’s entire passenger-car line-up. As such, there’s plenty to update, while keeping the concept of the X1 relatively unchanged. The new car will still be a compact premium SUV that’s marketed as a more conventional and practical alternative to the sportier-looking X2, which is tipped to be renewed in 2023. 

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While the exterior seems to be an evolution of the current car’s, the interior in particular will move on quite significantly. The next X1 will adopt BMW’s latest iDrive 8 system and ‘curved display’ infotainment suite. It won’t get the larger screens found on the new 7 Series, but it will get a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel blended with a 10.7-inch central display.

BMW has said it’ll reserve its rotary dial input for its larger cars, so expect a touchscreen-only user interface. 

Underpinning the new X1 will be the new FAAR platform, which is used by the new 2 Series Active Tourer and will support the next MINI Countryman. 

Turbocharged three and four-cylinder petrol power with mild-hybrid assistance will make up the bulk of the combustion engine range, driving the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The UK line-up is likely to begin with the X1 sDrive20i, using a 168bhp 48-volt-assisted three-cylinder engine, joined by a four-cylinder 48-volt option with 215bhp.

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