• Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X1 Caught Testing

With less than a year left until production begins around the world, the second-generation BMW X1 is slowly revealing itself as testing continues on public roads. Caught roaming the streets somewhere in Germany by our skilled spy photographers, the 2016 X1 showcases its production headlamps for the very first time.

Although most of the crossover’s front end is still camouflaged, the new headlight configuration suggests the upcoming X1 borrows its front fascia from the bigger BMW SUVs. We expect the new headlamps to connect with the chrome surrounds of the reshaped, taller kidney grille, meaning the X1 will carry a lot of character up front, albeit it will be less muscular when compared to the X5.

Nonetheless, the next-gen X1 is just an evolution of the current model, so don’t expect any overwhelming changes inside and out except for the introduction of the front-wheel-drive, UKL architecture that underpins the new Mini Cooper and the upcoming BMW 1 Series Active Tourer.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW X1.

Spy Shots

Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X1 Caught Testing Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X1 Caught Testing Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X1 Caught Testing Exterior Spyshots
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The swirly camouflage keeps most of the details away from us, but we have a good idea as to what’s going on underneath that body wrap. Besides the redesigned headlamps and the new kidney grille, the front end will also benefit from a reshaped bumper. The apron will embrace a crisper design with a narrower grille fitted at the bottom, while the fog lamps will be moved further away from the headlights. Around back, a new set of taillights and a redesigned bumper will put a fresh look on the rear fascia. We expect to see a slightly modified tailgate to make its way onto the X1’s rear end too.

The biggest change surrounding the next-generation X1 remains the UKL platform.

Engine-wise, BMW’s smallest crossover is set to receive three different powerplants with power outputs between 136 and around 300 horsepower. A 1.5-liter three-cylinder will sit at the bottom of the range, joining the already-familiar 2.0-liter four-banger and 3.0-liter inline-six. A plug-in hybrid version is also rumored, but it’s very likely it won’t be available at launch.

The biggest change surrounding the next-generation X1 remains the UKL platform. Already used by the Mini Cooper and the BMW Series 1 Active Tourer, the architecture brings front-wheel-drive to the crossover. Although some purists won’t be happy about that, switching from RWD to FWD will enable BMW to increase the X1’s cabin space and reduce production costs. Naturally, the latter won’t bring cheaper X1’s to showrooms, but it will put bigger profits in the company’s coffers.

Why It Matters

The X1 is hugely popular in the compact crossover segment, mainly due to its luxury features, large number of engines and go-fast performance in superior trim levels, which means the next-gen model will have some big shoes to fill. While the front-wheel-drive, UKL platform will upset a few purists, the updated technology and the new engines might be enough to help BMW improve sales of the X1. One question comes to mind though. Will the UKL platform move to other crossovers in the future?

BMW X1 Rendering

2016 BMW X1 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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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
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