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New BMW X1 grows into SUV size and shape

BMW showed off a completely new generation of its X1 with a gain of over 2 inches in roof height, giving it more cabin space and more SUV-like style.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

FRANKFURT -- Where the current generation of the BMW X1 exhibits more station wagon-like proportions, the new model, just shown off at the Frankfurt auto show, changes its shape significantly, looking more like a smaller version of the X3 SUV. The new X1 also gains BMW's latest headlight, cabin and driver assistance tech.

The new X1 marks the first front-wheel-drive platform car from BMW to come to the US.

With just over 2 inches increased roof height, BMW boasts that passenger space has expanded in the X1, with almost 1.5 inches (3.8cm) more rear passenger knee room. At the same time, BMW increased the ride height, raising the front seats by 1.4 inches (3.6cm) and the rear seats by a whole 2.5 inches (6.4cm). From a side view, the new roofline comes up to a peak just over the front seats, then tapers down towards the rear, echoing the look of the X3.

2016 BMW X1
BMW redesigns the X1 small SUV with more cabin area and a significantly higher roofline. Josh Miller/CNET

BMW notes that a new chassis for the X1 will create a more comfortable ride, and that active dampers will be available as an option, which should adjust for sport or comfort ride modes. At the Frankfurt show, BMW unveiled front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. The all-wheel-drive system delivers torque on demand to the wheels that need it most.

The model shown for the European market comes with five four-cylinder and two three-cylinder engine options, a mix of gasoline and diesel. For the US market, expect the smallest engine to be a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder. The two transmissions offered are a six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic. BMW will likely only offer the automatic in the US.

2016 BMW X1 gains SUV proportions (pictures)

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BMW equips the new X1 with its latest iDrive infotainment system, using a 6.5-inch tablet-style LCD mounted on the dashboard and a jog-dial with an embedded touchpad on the console. iDrive includes extensive app integration both built-in and through smartphone integration.

LED headlights will also be an option, along with new driver assistance features, such as a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with full stop capability, collision prevention with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning.

Pricing is unavailable at this time, although the new BMW X1 goes on sale in Europe this October. US availability will come later.