• 2016 BMW X1

The first BMW SUV to be built on a front-wheel-drive architecture.

LISTEN 16:10

It’s been six years since BMW stormed the mini SUV segment with the X1, and the German automaker has just launched the second-generation version of the car that made Audi and Mercedes-Benz create the Q3 and GLA, respectively. Introduced in 2009 as the brand’s smallest crossover and fourth SUV after the X3, X5, and X6, the X1 was praised for its powerful engines, sedan-like dynamics, and good fuel economy. The first-gen car was a commercial success with more than 700,000 units sold globally through 2014, so the second-gen X1 has pretty big shoes to fill. And needless to say, it’s looking to try and best its predecessor with a new exterior design, a revamped interior, and updated drivetrains.

More importantly, the X1 has just become the first BMW-badged SUV to use a front-wheel-drive architecture, borrowing the UKL platform from the Mini Cooper. The X1 joins the 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Gran Tourer to form BMW’s new family of FWD vehicles, which will expand to other nameplates in the future as well. The new X1 has some stiff competition to go against, with the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Audi Q3 on their way to becoming just as popular, so let’s have a closer look at how it compares to its German rivals.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW X1.

  • 2016 BMW X1
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    228 @ 5000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    258 @ 1250
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
    32000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 632458
The second-gen X1 sports an evolutionary design with styling cues borrowed from its bigger siblings, the X3 and X5

As expected, the second-gen X1 sports an evolutionary design with styling cues borrowed from its bigger siblings, the X3 and X5. The front fascia features a slightly bigger twin-kidney grille and longer, sleeker headlamps. Down below, the X1 received larger fog lamps and larger air intakes, making it seem not only bigger than its predecessor, but more aggressive as well. In all, it seems as if the X1 is no longer the ugly duckling of the BMW crossover family.

When viewed from the side, the X1 seems nearly identical to its predecessor from the waist down. The trademark beltline is still in place, while the side skirt area is creased in a similar fashion as on the previous model. However, things are different from the waist up, with a taller glass area, a bigger quarter window, and a raked roofline.

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 632497
Overall, it seems the X1 has become a baby X5

The rear fascia has received its fair share of upgrades as well, starting with significantly larger taillights, which look way better than the previous units, and a better sculpted tailgate and upper bumper area. Overall, it seems the X1 has become a baby X5, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mini SUVs aren’t exactly appealing design-wise, but BMW tried really hard with the X1 and the result is quite good.

Exterior Dimensions

Vehicle length 175.4 Inches
Vehicle width 71.7 Inches
Width including mirrors 81.1 Inches
Vehicle height 62.5 Inches
Wheelbase 105.1 Inches
Overhang front 33.8 Inches
Rear overhang 36.5 Inches
Ground clearance 7.2 Inches
Turning radius 37.4 Feet
Track front 61.5 Inches
Rear track 61.6 Inches

Side-by-side comparison

2016 BMW X1
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2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Interior
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Even though the new cabin is also evolutionary, the crossover has plenty of new features to brag about

Inside the X1 customers will find a fully redesigned interior. Even though the new cabin is also evolutionary and carries over some of the previous model’s cues, the crossover has plenty of new features to brag about. What’s more, it offers a lot more room than its predecessor, as well as enhanced luggage space.

Legroom has increased by 1.5 in standard specification and up to 2.6 inches with the optional adjustable rear seat. Also, the seating position has been raised by more than one inch in the front and more than 2.5 inches in the rear. Cargo space has been increased by around 15 percent with the rear seats folded flat.

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Interior
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The dashboard now features a cleaner design, mostly thanks to the "floating" display and the smaller A/C vents

Moving over to styling, the dashboard now features a cleaner design, mostly thanks to the "floating" display and the smaller A/C vents. A vertical aluminum trim splits the dashboard in two horizontally giving it a classier appearance. The center stack sits closer to the infotainment screen allowing for increased storage space in the center console.

The laundry list of standard features includes a seven-speaker audio system, a multifunction, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cruise control. The standard seats come dressed in cloth, but customers can select a leather upholstery from the options list. Other options include an 8.8-inch display, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a panoramic moonroof, and many more. An M Sport package is available for customers looking for sports seats and paddle shifters in their X1s.

Interior Dimensions

Legroom front 40.4 Inches
Legroom 2nd row 37 Inches
Shoulder room front 55.6 Inches
Shoulder room 2nd row 55.2 Inches
Headroom front 41.9 Inches
Maximum headroom 2nd row 39.4 Inches
Headroom front with Sunroof 40.4 Inches
Maximum headroom 2nd row with sunroof 38.2 Inches
Front Seat Volume 54.5 ft³
Rear Seat Volume 46.7 ft³
Luggage volume [V211-2] 17.8-54.7 ft³
Trunk volume (SAE) 27.1-58.7 ft³
US Tank capacity 16.1 gal
Curb weight 3,660 LBS
Gross weight 4,720 LBS
Payload 900 LBS


2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Drivetrain
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U.S. customers are restricted to just one gasoline engine, with either front- or all-wheel-drive

Just like the previous model, the new X1 is available with a wide range of drivetrains. However, U.S. customers are restricted to just one configuration, with either front- or all-wheel-drive. The model in question is called the 28i and cranks out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Although it’s the only X1 you can buy in the U.S., it’s important to note that it’s the most powerful gasoline version of the crossover. The same engine is offered in Europe as the 25i model.

In other parts of the world, the X1 range begins with the 18i trim, which uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine shared with the Mini Cooper. This tiny powerplant cranks out 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The same 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the American models is offered in a detuned state in the 20i, which comes with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet on tap. The 25i sits at the top of the gasoline range with the same output as the U.S.-spec 28i model.

A hybrid version using the 25Le iPerformance nameplate is also offered. The drivetrain brings together the 134-horsepower three-pot engine and a 94-horepower electric motor. Total system out is rated at 228 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque.

Moving over to diesels, there are four different versions available

Moving over to diesels, there are four different versions available. The base 16d is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder that’s good for 114 horsepower and 199 pound-feet, while the 18d gets its juice from a 2.0-liter four-pot that cranks out 148 horses and 243 pound-feet. The 20d and 25d use the same four-cylinder, but output increases to 187 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and 228 horses and 332 pound-feet, respectively.

Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic for all models, save for the sDrive18i, which uses a six-speed automatic.

Word has it that BMW is also looking to launch an X1 M model, but official details are still under wraps as of 2017.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine type B46
Config/No of cyls/valves in line/4/4
Engine Technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with turbocharger
Stroke 94.6 MM
Bore 82 MM
Displacement 1998 cc
Compression rate :1 10.2
Engine power 228 HP @ 5,000 RPM
Engine torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,250 RPM
Top speed 130 MPH
Top speed optional 143 MPH
0-60 mph 6.3 seconds


The X1 is equipped with a Head Protection System and Front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags

On the safety side of things, the X1 has a number of features to help keep you and your family safe. For starters, the X1 is equipped with a Head Protection System and Front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags. Furthermore, the X1 is equipped with driver and passenger front airbags with “advanced technology,” dual-threshold, dual-stage deployment knee airbags and front-passenger seat sensors designed to prevent unnecessary airbag deployment. All seatbelts have automatic-locking retractors, with the front seatbelts having automatic pretensioners. There are also impact sensors on the body that will deactivate the fuel pump, automatically unlock all doors, and turn on the interior lighting and hazard lights upon the unfortunate event of an accident.

For 2016, the IIHS put the X1 through its standard crash safety testing, and the X1 performed admirably. The car received a “Good” rating for small frontal overlap, moderate frontal overlap, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints during testing. Furthermore, when equipped with the optional front crash prevention system, the X1 earns an advanced rating. In the 12 mph test, impact speed was reduced by 10 mph. During 25 mph tests, impact was reduced by 7 mph. It should be noted that the crash prevention system also includes forward collision warning that meets the NHTSA’s criteria collision warning systems. As such, these test results led to the 2016 BMW X1 being named as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.


2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 632494

Although switching from RWD to FWD will enable BMW to reduce the X1’s production costs, that won’t bring cheaper SUV to showrooms, but put bigger profits in the company’s coffers. As a result, U.S. pricing starts from $33,900, a slight increase compared to the outgoing model.


Audi Q3

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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Launched in Europe in 2011, the Q3 needed three years to come to North America, but its arrival put a significant hole in BMW X1 sales. Although not quite as sporty as the Bimmer, the Q3 comes with a more luxurious interior and a four-cylinder engine that’s both powerful and efficient. The 2.0-liter mill cranks out 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque and pushes the crossover from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, while returning 29 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in the city. In Europe, Audi offers significantly more drivetrains, starting with the 1.4 TFSI, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet. The 2.0 TFSI is a little less powerful than in the U.S., generating 180 horses. A more powerful version with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet is also available. On the diesel front, there are three variants using a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The base model comes with 120 horsepower and 214 pound-feet, but Audi also offers a 150-horsepower and 251-pound-feet version. The range-topping model generates 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. Pricing starts from $32,900.

Read our full review of the 2018 Audi Q3.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 700306

Brought into showrooms for the 2015 model year, the GLA-Class is Mercedes’ first venture in this market. Specifically designed to compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, the GLA slots right below the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, formerly known as the GLK-Class, as the smallest crossover in the company’s lineup. Much like the Q3, the GLA crossed the pond to the U.S. with just one engine, a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of twist. Merc claims the GLA250 can return up to 35 mpg on the highway, which places it above the Q3 and the X1. While the U.S. gets just one engine, European customers have access to crossovers with the smaller, 1.6-liter four-pot. The GLA180 comes with 120 horsepower and 148 pound-feet, while the GLA200 cranks out 156 horses and 184 pound-feet. Three diesels round out the lineup, starting with the 1.5-liter rated at 108 horsepower and 192 pound-feet. A 2.1-liter oil burner is also available with either 134 horses and 221 pound-feet or 168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. Pricing starts from $33,400 in the United States.

Check out our full story on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.


2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 632441

As the first mainstream BMW that ditches RWD for a FWD layout, the X1 received a lot of heat from old-school enthusiasts. However, that shouldn’t stop it from selling more than 100,000 units a year globally with an all-wheel-drive system on the options list for most models and standard for the range-topping trims. The updated engine and the extra interior space brought by the FWD layout will probably bring even more customers into dealerships. The fresh styling that makes it sleeker and more appealing to look at is another key factor that will favor the new X1. However, now that the crossover sports a UKL platform underneath, I can’t help but wonder whether the Mini Countryman isn’t the better option here. It’s definitely cheaper in S trim and with AWD and an automatic, and it should handle about the same. It’s only fault compared to the X1 is that it doesn’t have a BMW badge...

  • Leave it
    • FWD platform likely to be a disappointment for old-school enthusiasts
    • The most expensive vehicle in its segment
    • Needs more engines in the U.S.


2016 BMW X1 Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 623444

We based our rendering on the idea that the next X1 will be an evolution rather than a revolution. The biggest change will be, of course, the new headlamps, which will get the car’s fascia more in line with the rest of BMW’s SUVs, like the X3 and X5. Also, the kidney grille will be in a higher position and will have less height and width than before. Also, the lower air intakes at the front will be significantly larger than the current generation.

Spy Shots

March 17, 2015 - BMW X1 loosing camouflage

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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November 11, 2014 - BMW X1 reveals its interior

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Interior Spyshots
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July 10, 2014 - BMW X1 starts dropping cammo

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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January 17, 2014 - First winter testing

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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Nothing new here, except that we get to see the X1 in the powdery white substance that is foreign to us Floridians.

December 10, 2013 - 2015 BMW X1 begins road testing

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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2016 BMW X1 Exterior Spyshots
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Unfortunately, the prototype is so heavily camouflaged in these spy shots, so we cannot make out any of the details. What we do know is that this is, in fact the new X1, and that it is a good ways away from production. We’ll keep an eye out for more prototypes out testing and update you as soon as we catch them.

Update History

Updated 09/21/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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