In a bid to become more practical, the BMW X1 has indeed had a makeover in its rear wheel drive setup.
Unlike its predecessor, the 2018 BMW X1 has moved on from its rear-drive setup to a front drive/four-wheel drive system, similar to rivals such as the Mini Countryman.
With a new transverse engine, both drivers and passengers benefit from extra space.
Just how much space, exactly? BMW claim that the second-generation X1 now offers an additional 85 litres of space – that’s 505 litres of boot space to be exact. Complementing this are the new dimensions of 4,439 mm in length x 1,821 mm in width x 1,598 mm in height.
Extra room isn’t the only bonus with the X1 – there’s also a huge selection of configurations to choose from, ranging from a starting BMW X1 price of £26,640 for the sDrive 18i SE right through to the xDrive 20d xLine at £35,310.
In the middle of the range we have configurations such as the sDrive 18d M Sport, starting at £31,290. Lease prices start at £305.98 per month.
Naturally, with so many different variants, we see a huge spectrum of power. The d models (standing for diesel) and the i models (standing for petrol – don’t ask why) start at 18i and 18d, offering 140 and 150BHP respectively, with either a 1.5 litre three cylinder petrol engine or a 2-litre four cylinder diesel engine. At the higher end of the scale, you’ll find up to 231BHP, which feels a lot pacier when the going gets tough.
Another area in which BMW are simply spoiling us is the colours for 2018 – we have Alpine White, Mineral White, Mineral Grey, Sparkling Brown, Atlantic Grey, Mediterranean Blue, Sparkling Storm Brilliant Effect and Chestnut Bronze to name but a few.
This, of course, adds a few aesthetic brownie points for vanity-conscious drivers, but then, there’s also the option to customise the inside.
Take the BMW X1 xLine interior, for example: this mid-level model offers leather seats, or you can upgrade to the M-Sport interior.
With the engine change comes a welcome change in driving position, too – you will find yourself raised 30mm higher than the predecessor, giving you an advantage with road visibility.
Passengers can adjust their rear seats, while the interior plastics look every bit as luxurious as the metallic paint on the outside.
Good tech comes at a price, naturally – for example, you’ll have to pay if you want a larger screen with an internet connection, or the very fancy head-up display. If you’re looking for something more basic though, then the entry level sat nav system will certainly suffice.
So, is the BMW X1 front or rear-wheel drive? That depends entirely on the model – in its entry-level, 18 sDrives, you’ll get a front-wheel drive.
For everything above this, you’ll enjoy the benefits of both, using four-wheel drive to get you out of those tricky off-road situations.
The X1 can come across a little stiff in some models, a problem which is surprisingly improved with the more entry-level models than what we’d expect from the top of the range. Still, Comfort mode does exactly what is says on the tin, and the optional adaptive dampers are slackened in this mode to provide a smoother ride.
Unfortunately, the downside to the entry-level, front-wheel drive models is that they can succumb to “torque steer” which happens when the steering wheel reacts while you accelerate quickly. We would still recommend the entry-level models for fuel economy, if nothing else – it promises up to 59.8 MPG.
Larger diesel engines come with equally as noticeable road noise thanks to the tyres – we’d avoid these higher end models if you want quiet conversation.
BMW get top marks for their design ingenuity, plus other considerations such as the Motability Scheme for disabled drivers.
It’s a young model so we expect more development in the future, but with new four-wheel drive considerations and great aesthetics, BMW is off to a good start.