Bimmer’s front-wheel-drive crossover is getting an update

The second-generation BMW X1 stormed into our lives only two years ago, but the German automaker is already preparing an updated model, as recent spy shots of a test mule X1 have shown. The prototype crossover is heavily wrapped in swirly camouflage, but we can still make out familiar elements of the model. The lack of meaningful updates lends credence to the belief that the updated front-wheel-drive-based crossover is in line for nothing more than a few nips here and a few tucks there.

2019 BMW X1 Exterior

2019 BMW X1
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BMW did a good job in covering the important design areas of the updated X1, but even with the wraps, it’s easy to see that the crossover isn’t going to get any wholesale changes. It is interesting to note, though, that the test mule features bigger-than-usual air intakes, large alloy wheels, and most interesting of them all, dual exhaust tips. These design elements could be clues that we’re dealing with an M Sport version of the X1. It’s either that or BMW could be hoodwinking us into thinking that larger changes are afoot for the updated crossover.

I’m willing to bet it’s the former, though.

This test mule could be an X1 M Sport, and the sportier elements aren’t the only clues that point in that direction.

Notice how the badge on the front fender is hidden? For sure, that’s not BMW’s logo. Could it then be the M logo? I think it is.

Other than that, a lot of the design elements appear to be in their proper places. The only other curiosities are the light fixtures and the front grille. There’s a lot of camo surrounding the headlights and taillights so those could be in line for updates. The headlights, in particular, look slimmer than they used to be. It’s hard to see with the camouflage, but it’s unclear if the separate round clusters of the fog lamps are still in the front bumper or if they’ve been integrated into the main headlight cluster. Either scenario wouldn’t be surprising. The X5, after all, has already adopted that look. No one’s going to be shocked if the updated X1 followed suit.

2019 BMW X1 Interior

2019 BMW X1
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Thanks to the resourcefulness of our trusty spiders, we have an undisguised look at the updated X1’s interior. Unfortunately, all their handwork yielded little in fresh upgrades.

Unless BMW’s up to its usual sleight-of-hand tricks again, don’t expect the interior of the facelifted X1 to be any different from its predecessor.

All the usual pieces are in their proper place. The infotainment screen sitting on the dashboard looks a little bigger. The instrument cluster gets the black panel treatment, though that’s hardly a new development for the crossover.

Should there be any updates in this area of the X1, I think it’s going to be mostly safety and tech upgrades. Perhaps the bigger infotainment system is one those upgrades. Maybe similar updates are in store for its contents, specifically the crossover’s sat-nav system.

As an updated model, the new X1 should also be in line for new options and accessories. Since most of those don’t come standard, we’ll let BMW spill the beans on any developments on that front — if there are any, that is.

2019 BMW X1 Drivetrain

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Drivetrain
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If the updated X1 receives meaningful changes, this is where they’re likely going to come from. The current version of the crossover is powered by a wide range of engines, beginning with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder unit that Bimmer shares with sister company Mini. This engine is rated at 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque.

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is also available on the X1.

This is the only engine that’s available in the U.S. market and it produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Other markets have a detuned version that cranks out 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.

The X1 also has diesel engines in its lineup, most notably a 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit that’s tuned to produce either 187 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque or 228 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, respectively.

Then there’s the hybrid version that utilizes the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Together, the two combine to produce an output of 228 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque.

I mentioned all these engines because some of them — maybe even all of them — could receive slight bumps in power. Updated models typically get this type of upgrade so in the absence of any meaningful changes in the exterior and interior of the X1, this could be where BMW makes up for it.

2019 BMW X1 Prices

2019 BMW X1
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There are only two versions of the current BMW X1 that are available in the U.S.: the sDrive28i and the xDrive28i. Both versions carry the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which means they’re good to produce the 228 ponies and 258 pound-feet of twist.

The sDrive28i starts at $33,900 while the xDrive28i starts at $35,900. Given these price points, the updated X1 should tack on a few extra thousands to these amounts.

2019 BMW X1 Competition

Mercedes GLA-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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The Mercedes GLA-Class is the toddler of Mercedes’ crossover and SUV lineup, but it’s more than held its own since entering the market in 2015. It’s been the subject of its own facelift, too, and the current version of the Silver Arrows crossover has plenty to offer against the BMW X1. Just like its Bimmer counterpart, the GLA-Class is available in the U.S. with just one engine, a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes does claim that the GLA returns up to 35 mpg, which would be better than what the X1 or the Audi Q3 are capable of. The GLA has proven itself up to the task of carrying Mercedes compact luxury crossover affairs. That’s not a bad reputation for a model that sits on top of a small hatchback architecture. Pricing for the Mercedes GLA starts at $33,950.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Volvo XC40

2018 Volvo XC40
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There once was a time when BMW could just rub its nose on Volvo, and nobody would react like it was some kind of scandal. But that’s no longer the case. Volvo has risen from the ashes and become one of the most popular luxury brands in the world. The Volvo XC40 is a good example of that. Between its to-die-for looks, modern interior, and the best technology and safety features of all crossovers in its segment, the Volvo XC40 has become a true contender in the compact luxury crossover race. It’s also powered by a number of engine options, including a line of 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines that produce different amounts of power. The most powerful of the bunch is the T5, and it can produce a healthy 247 horsepower, putting it right in the middle of contention. The Volvo XC40 starts at $33,200. More importantly, the aforementioned T5 version starts at just $35,200.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC40.


2019 BMW X1
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You can be excused for thinking that BMW’s getting desperate by rolling out an updated version of the X1 so soon after it actually arrived as a next-generation model. But BMW’s only adapting to a landscape that has changed dramatically in recent years. Facelifts and updates are happening about as often as a Homer Simpson donut binge. It’s become the de facto move among automakers in this segment, so much so that waiting a few years before developing an updated version has become tantamount to a death knell.

The updated BMW X1 has a lot of potential, especially if Bimmer works out the kinks from the second-gen’s release back in 2016. It’s hard to imagine the automaker not being up-to-task so our hopes are high that when the updated X1 does arrive, it’s going to show that it’s still a contender in this increasingly competitive market.

  • Leave it
    • Lack of meaningful updates could be a sore spot for some
    • Other rivals are bringing their "A" games
    • There should be more to it

Further reading

2016 BMW X1
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Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X1.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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