Mini happy re­turns . . .

BMW says its new 1-Se­ries wagon is aimed at a new mar­ket, writes PAUL GOVER in Europe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

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.

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