The covers are off the 2016 BMW X1 – the German brand’s second-generation compact SUV that’s new from the ground up and mechanically overhauled from the 2009 original.



If the new look and architecture are not to your liking, perhaps the electronics will win you over. Adaptive LED headlights are available; power-folding rear seats are new as is hands-free operation for the power lift-gate. Available driver aids include lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and automated parking. The 2016 BMW X1’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is updated from the original version, claiming to be significantly lighter and boasting fewer torque losses than its predecessor. If required, the system can divert 100 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels, collaborating with the car’s stability control and hill descent control electric systems.

If you always thought your X1 had front-wheel drive, the new version should meet your expectations just perfectly. The second-gen BMW X1 will make its public debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show before launching in overseas markets from October.

Moving to the front-wheel-drive platform also sees the X1 lose its optional straight-six engine. That means the X1 35i doesn’t get a true successor, and a BMW executive privately tells us, “This is a problem.” The only available engine in the U.S. market will be the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the X1 x-Drive-28i.

The new 2016 BMW X1 is 1.7 inches taller than the outgoing crossover, which might help consumers think of the vehicle as more of a crossover than a small wagon. Still, with the 2016 X1 measuring in at 1.1 inches shorter and 0.9 inches narrower than the outgoing crossover, in person, few will confuse the X1 with the larger X3. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard on every X1, as are power front seats, and a seven-speaker sound system. Options include real leather, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, an 8.8-inch infotainment display (replacing a 6.5-inch unit), LED headlights, a head-up display, and active safety tech including adaptive cruise control with a Stop & Go function, a pedestrian warning system, and City Collision Mitigation.

The new X1 will face tough competition in the form of the Audi Q3, the Lexus NX, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, not to mention an upcoming compact crossover from Cadillac.