BMW will unveil its new entry-level SUV at the Paris Show tomorrow as a counter to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan. While the company has lofty expectations of the X1, its greatest obstacle will be those ungainly looks.
By Gareth Dean
According to BMW, the X1 is more of a road-orientated crossover that will provide a high-riding alternative to the 3 Series Touring when European sales commence in early 2010.
There’s always been a great deal of debate in the office regarding BMW’s design direction – some enjoying the bizarre combination of curves worn by many of the company’s newcomers, while others barely suppress a mild retch. The X1 Concept may, however, be the design that tips the brand’s design firmly into the ‘prod with a twig from a safe distance’ category.
Although the car officially wears the ‘concept’ tag, it is widely believed that much of the sheet metal is destined for the production version, with only minor changes. The car’s profile resembles that of a compact estate, sporting the deep flanks of an SUV and the ‘flame-surfaced’ bodywork associated with such models as the 1 Series and X3/5. The overall dimensions sit at 4 457 mm long, 1 789 mm wide, and 1 535 mm high with the X1 riding on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels. The overall look suggests a 1 Series that’s had two fingers stuck up its ‘nostrils’ and been stretched.
The X1 will be underpinned by BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system, as well as sharing a number of components with the Mini Crossover, which will also make an appearance at the Paris Show. There are currently no plans to introduce a rear-wheel drive model.
The X1 will initially feature a 126 kW 2,0-litre petrol unit in xDrive20i guise, and a 132 kW 2,0-litre common-rail diesel in the xDrive20d.
BMW envisages X1 playing an important part in its aim to attain an annual sales target of 1,8 million units by 2012. This will be a tough ask for the little crossover, considering that the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Audi are developing similar models in the shape of the Q3 and a B-Class-based GLC, not to mention Land Rover’s suave looking LRX – all of which will emerge in 2010.