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Next BMW X1 loses inline-six, gets smaller and lighter

Tue, 18 Feb 2014

The second-generation BMW X1, expected here in early 2016, is smaller and lighter than the existing first-generation model.

The new X1 loses optional six-cylinder power; a new high-output four-cylinder replaces it. A high-ranking BMW manager confirmed the new X1 abandons today's longitudinal engine layout for a version of the new transverse-engine platform the 2-series Active Tourer uses.

“The next X1 will be slightly smaller externally but offer similar interior space as the first generation model,” he said. “The decision to base it on a new platform structure shared with the 2-series Active Tourer will also make it lighter than the model it replaces.”

At 176.2 inches long, 70.9 inches wide and 60.8 inches high, the first-generation X1 is 3.5 inches longer, 1.2 inches narrower and 1.8 inches lower than its main European rival, the Audi Q3. The second-generation X1's slight dimension reduction means BMW is widening the gap between the X1 and recently facelifted, second-gen X3, getting ready for a new X2 in 2017. X2 is the new X1, only sportier. X2 and X1 share a platform, transverse engines and interior.

The new X1 and X2 use transversely mounted three- and four-cylinder direct-injection gas and common-rail diesel engines ranging in capacity from 1.5- to 2.0-liters –same as the 2-series Active Tourer.

X1 and X2 will be all-wheel drive with either a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic gearbox and electro-mechanical multiplate clutch four-wheel drive system. Unlike the new 2-series Active Tourer, the new X1 is not planned to be sold with front-wheel drive.

Since the two new Xs use transverse engines, there will be no traditional in-line six cylinders, although sources also say BMW is developing a powerful new direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo four producing around 300 hp, part of its new B48 engine family. The idea is to compete with the Audi Q3 RS' 296 hp and the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG's 355 hp. BMW's new high-output four should find its way into planned X1 and X2 M-Performance variants.

Meanwhile, sources tell Autoweek the new X1 is set for at least three BMW assembly sites. Along with today's production facilities in Leipzig, Germany and Shenyang, China, it will also roll out from a new factory in Araquari, Brazil -- the same plant being tooled up for the 2-series Active Tourer.

The Brazilian plant, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, will produce the new X1 for export to North America, among other unconfirmed countries.

By Greg Kable