Automotive

BMW X1 makes the switch to front wheel drive

BMW X1 makes the switch to fro...
The new BMW X1 has grown in size, but is no longer rear wheel drive
The new BMW X1 has grown in size, but is no longer rear wheel drive
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The new X1's styling has been brought in line with the rest of BMW's range
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The new X1's styling has been brought in line with the rest of BMW's range
A range of four cylinder engines is available
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A range of four cylinder engines is available
The X1 is now front wheel drive
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The X1 is now front wheel drive
At the back, the X1 looks more solid on the road
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At the back, the X1 looks more solid on the road
Owners can choose from a wide range of wheels
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Owners can choose from a wide range of wheels
The range kicks off with a front-wheel drive diesel engine
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The range kicks off with a front-wheel drive diesel engine
BMW has focused on creating more space inside the X1
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BMW has focused on creating more space inside the X1
Over 730,000 X1s have been sold since the first generation was launched
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Over 730,000 X1s have been sold since the first generation was launched
xDrive all-wheel drive is available on petrol and diesel X1s
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xDrive all-wheel drive is available on petrol and diesel X1s
The X1 is the second BMW to take advantage of front drive
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The X1 is the second BMW to take advantage of front drive
While BMW may show the X1 in a range of off-road situations, most cars won't see a dirt road
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While BMW may show the X1 in a range of off-road situations, most cars won't see a dirt road
The X1 comes with an eight speed automatic gearbox
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The X1 comes with an eight speed automatic gearbox
Base model diesel X1s are fitted with a six speed manual gearbox
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Base model diesel X1s are fitted with a six speed manual gearbox
The X1's face now more closely resembles that of the X3 and X5
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The X1's face now more closely resembles that of the X3 and X5
The X1 is taller than its predecessor, and rear passengers have more space
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The X1 is taller than its predecessor, and rear passengers have more space
Most owners are unlikely to care which wheels are driven on the X1s
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Most owners are unlikely to care which wheels are driven on the X1s
BMW will add three cylinder motors to the lineup later in the year
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BMW will add three cylinder motors to the lineup later in the year
The xDrive system defaults to front drive, but can send power to the rear through a multiplate clutch
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The xDrive system defaults to front drive, but can send power to the rear through a multiplate clutch
The Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3 are both rivals to this car
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The Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3 are both rivals to this car
The new BMW X1
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The new BMW X1
The X1 will be on sale later this year
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The X1 will be on sale later this year
The new BMW X1 has grown in size, but is no longer rear wheel drive
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The new BMW X1 has grown in size, but is no longer rear wheel drive
The X1's interior has been designed to be more practical than the car it replaces
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The X1's interior has been designed to be more practical than the car it replaces
All three rear seats fold individually
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All three rear seats fold individually
The rear bench slides forwards and backwards by 13 cm
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The rear bench slides forwards and backwards by 13 cm
The rear bench on the X1 is where the benefits of BMW's new practicality focus are most felt
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The rear bench on the X1 is where the benefits of BMW's new practicality focus are most felt
BMW expects owners to pack the boot with surfboards and ski gear
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BMW expects owners to pack the boot with surfboards and ski gear
The X1's interior is very similar to the inside of a 2 Series Active Tourer
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The X1's interior is very similar to the inside of a 2 Series Active Tourer
BMW has worked to improve cabin quality
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BMW has worked to improve cabin quality
Interior quality was a focus on the X1, just like it was on the updated BMW 3 Series
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Interior quality was a focus on the X1, just like it was on the updated BMW 3 Series
BMW's iDrive system is central to the cabin
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BMW's iDrive system is central to the cabin
Keen drivers will bemoan the loss of rear wheel drive
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Keen drivers will bemoan the loss of rear wheel drive
The X1's engine range is exclusively made up of four cylinder engines
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The X1's engine range is exclusively made up of four cylinder engines

BMW was the first premium brand to offer a jacked-up all-wheel drive hatch to buyers – and boy did they love it, with over 730,000 sold since its debut in 2009. The new X1 features a bigger body and more efficient engine options than its predecessor, but also follows in the footsteps of its stablemate, the 2 Series Active Tourer, by making the switch to front wheel drive.

heel drive.Hiding under the X1’s hood is a choice of two petrol and three dieselpowerplants. For fans of petrol power the range kicks off with the 2.0-litersDrive20i, which channels 141 kW (192 hp) and 280 Nm (206 lb.ft) through thefront wheels. This is good enough for a 7.7 second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph),although with peak torque available between 1250 and 4600 rpm, expect thedriving experience to be dominated by surging acceleration rather thanscreaming, high rev performance.

If you’re averse to the idea of a front-wheeldrive BMW, the entry-level petrol engine is also available with xDriveall-wheel drive, although ticking that box makes the car a fraction slower (0.1 second) slower to100 km/h. The xDrive20i’s 6.4 l/100km (44.1 mpg) fuel use figure is also worsethan the 6.0 l/100km (47.1 mpg) managed by its lighter front-drive sibling.

The X1 will be on sale later this year
The X1 will be on sale later this year

For those keen for a bit of extragrunt under the right foot, the 170 kW (231 hp) all-wheel drive only xDrive25iis more likely to grab your attention. Thanks to its extra power and 350 Nm(258 lb.ft) of torque, the most powerful petrol X1 hits 100 km/h in a hot-hatchrivalling 6.5 seconds, all the while using just 6.6 l/100km (42.8 mpg) of fuel.

Alongside the three petrol options are two diesel engines,starting with the 110 kW (150 hp) sDrive18d. The entry-level diesel might bedown on power, but has 330 Nm (243 lb.ft) of torque between 1750 and 2750 rpm,so it won’t be a slouch when you’re on the move. Those buying an X1 withthis engine aren’t likely to be too worried about outright performance anyway,instead they’re likely to be wooed its impressive 4.3 l/100km (65.7 mpg) fueleconomy figure.

The all-wheeldrive xDrive20d is more powerful, with 140 kW (190 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb.ft)of torque available across a broad rev range. With a claimed fuel use figure ofjust 5.1 l/100km (55.4 mpg), it’s no gas-guzzler either.

The X1 is taller than its predecessor, and rear passengers have more space
The X1 is taller than its predecessor, and rear passengers have more space

At launch, the sDrive18d will be fitted with a six-speedmanual gearbox that now auto rev matches on downshift, while the rest of therange is fitted with an eight-speed automatic as standard.

With the switch to front wheel drive, BMW has redesigned the X1’s chassis and suspension setup. The car’s single joint front and multilink rear suspension geometry has been revised, while aluminum swivel bearings, high-strength steel control arms and lightweight axle carriers help to reduce weight and increase the rigidity of the front axle – both factors that have an impact a sharp, incisive handling.

On the outside, the X1’s body has grown taller, and the styling has been brought into line with BMW’s bigger X3 and X5 offerings, with its wider headlamps and bigger kidney grille. A range of wheel and trim options will allow drivers to spend obscene amounts of money customizing their cars, too.

Inside, BMW has focused onimproving the practicality of the new model. The outgoing X1 had quite a narrow rear bench, and legroomwas limited – something the company has addressed by allowing occupants toslide the rear bench back or forward by up to 13 cm (5.1 inches). All three rearseats also fold individually in the new car, which allows owners to carry theirsurfboards, skis and bikes more easily. The new X1’s interior also boasts more premium materials than itspredecessor.

Keen drivers will bemoan the loss of rear wheel drive
Keen drivers will bemoan the loss of rear wheel drive

The X1 will go on sale later this year, with the range to bebolstered by three-cylinder options shortly after launch.

Source: BMW

2 comments
mhpr262
I guess we will be seeing more FWD cars from BMW in the future. Remember how proud they were to be the only manufacturer offering a car with rear wheel drive in the compact class with the 1-series - and when they did a 1 series customer survey it turned out that 80% of the owners thought their car had front wheel drive. That must have been the point at which the management decided to say "f*** it, we go with the cheapest, lightest and most practical option".
kid-jensen
"80% of the owners thought their car had front wheel drive. "... Doesn't surprise me at all. BMW sales were always driven by the snobby idea that only RWD is good enough for it's discerning customers, they do have "the ultimate driving machine" after all... So with this latest news, we know what we've always suspected, BMW is selling (as it always was) "the Ultimate posing machine". Even the blinkered Beemerarati will be waking up to this sad fact from now on...