The refreshed BMW X1 is fully loaded with shiny new things

First previewed at the Paris Motor Show in 2008, X1 is BMW’s smallest, entry-level sports activity vehicle (the company’s parlance for SUV). Its first generation (E84) ran from 2009 to 2015, with the current model making an appearance afterwards.

Though still subsumed within this generation, the new X1 we saw in Munich, Germany has been bestowed sweeping changes that make it look more aggressive. It also has more contemporary toys, and is now perhaps skewed further for alignment to its intended audience. “Our target market is very youthful, modern, and active. They live in an urban environment, but also have an active lifestyle and like to go outdoors,” said Birte Voorgang, one of the X1 product managers attending to our group of motoring media from all over the world.

The author smiles after a short drive aboard the new BMW X1 just outside the BMW Group facility in Zeppelinstraße, Munich, Germany. | This photo by Amanda Poh

“We start with the exterior changes. The base BMW X1 to xLine, Sport Line, and M Sport have all been “given a standalone visual presence tailored precisely to its character profile.”

“We’ve updated the exterior design quite a bit with a larger kidney grille, and completely new front bumper, making the exterior design even more expressive,” reported Voorgang in an exclusive interview with WHEELS.PH.

“We’ve integrated the new LED foglights into the now-bigger outer inlets… giving it a broader stance. We have new LED headlights with a more modern hexagonal design. All these revisions mean a stronger look on the fascia. The large grille, whose kidneys now merge in the center, are more coherently designed with new adaptive LED headlamps. The iconic grille contributes to a rather menacing front – sort of like a bull with a nose captured in a perpetual snort,” he shares.

Voogang leads us towards the vehicle’s side and gestures, “The X1 is still a true X model with typical X proportions – a long wheelbase, short overhangs – and what we have also done for the facelift is introduce new colors.” One of the additions to the palette (the others being Jucaro Beige and Misano Blue) is called Storm Bay, which now makes its way into BMW’s compact segment for the first time. The new BMW X1 also receives newly designed 19-inch shoes.

“In the rear, we have made the new X1 even more sporty with bigger exhaust pipes which are now 90 millimeters instead of 70 millimeters,” she continued. The X1 also sports new full-LED taillights. A new inlay in the body-color rear apron adopts the car’s main body color as standard. As part of an optional lights package, a side mirror-mounted LED projector assists by illuminating the door area. It also projects a classy “X1” logo on the ground.

Instrumentation and controls are slightly slanted towards the driver.

Inside, the X1 gets “updated lines” as Voorgang put it. There are lots of new things to see up front, such as contrast stitching on the dashboard, along with a bigger 10.25-inch control touch display (as an option).

Its infotainment system now plays nice with Apple devices through wireless-capable CarPlay. Too bad for Android Auto holdouts, though, as it doesn’t have this compatibility. And if you choose the aforementioned optional lights package, aside from the side mirror-mounted LED lighting, you get your druthers from six colors for ambient lighting because, yes, the stop-and-go traffic can bore you to death.

Even before this most recent revision, BMW already equipped the X1 with a wireless phone charger – located conveniently in the armrest. Of course, the feature makes a return here. And because, Voorgang averred, “the X1 stands for spaciousness and roominess, the rear seats can be moved 13 centimeters back and forth to give you more room in the rear seats or in the trunk.”

We got behind the wheel of the diesel-sipping xDrive25d for a romp around the periphery of the BMW Group München Zeppelinstraße facility. It was a sunny but cool day in the birthplace of the Oktoberfest, and the X1 gave power on demand – its 231hp and 450Nm proved easily reachable low on the torque band. Its engine was polished and totally un-diesel like, to put it simply. It was an enjoyable drive as the open spaces and squat buildings revealed themselves gradually outside the X1’s large windows. Even when seated in the back seat, the SUV surprised with space – something not immediately obvious when viewed from the outside.

The X1 is characteristically an X model as gleaned from its long wheelbase and short overhangs.

There’s no official word yet on when the new X1 will reach the Philippines – or which variant/s will be available. Suffice it to say that it’s definitely worth waiting for, and BMW clearly wanted this vehicle to fully deserve the “new” prefix before the X1 name.

The new X1’s rear seats can be moved forward or backward by 13 centimeters.

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