Mini happy returns . . .
BMW says its new 1-Series wagon is aimed at a new market, writes PAUL GOVER in Europe
FIRST it was the Mini, now it’s the One. All-wheel-drive is taking a tighter hold on the BMW Group as the German luxury-car maker works to strengthen its key cars against the growing threat from compact SUVs.
The Mini has already been previewed as an all-wheel-drive wagon called the Crossover Concept in the lead-up to this week’s Paris Motor Show and now BMW has revealed its X1.
The 1-Series wagon is more than just a BMW body flopped over the Mini’s mechanical package and BMW says the two vehicles are totally different and aimed at very different buyers.
The Mini is intended for adventurous twentysomethings and the Concept X1 — not that the name is fooling anyone — will go into production as a safe and practical family car.
There have been rumours of the X1 plan for close to two years, much as there were early leaks of BMW’s plan to downsize the successful X5 wagon into the X3.
Details will not be revealed until the start of the Paris show, but BMW claims the X1 is an extension of the Sports Activity Vehicle concept that it developed.
It talks about ‘‘cool elegance, modern style and variable function’’ for a vehicle that is obviously a puffed-up, high-rider 1-Series hatchback. It has a similar five-door body and, like the Subaru Forester, is not intended for serious off-road work.
It is previewed at a time when BMW is facing tough challenges. Volvo has just put its XC60 allwheel-drive wagon on the road, Volkswagen has a three-month waiting list for its compact Tiguan SUV and Audi has confirmed it will have a Q5 to sit below its existing Q7, with the potential for a smaller Q3.
BMW is not revealing the mechanical package of the X1 Concept until the show, but it should have a diesel engine, full-time AWD and wheels of at least 18 inches.
On the body front, the shape has been chosen to reflect the X1’s wide track and higher ride height, with squared-off wheel cutouts, black body surrounds, silver roof rails and a small spoiler above the rear window.
Heaven X1: the new BMW 1-Series is far more than just a BMW body flopped over the Mini’s mechanical package.