BMW’s smallest SUV, the BMW X1, grows bigger just for the Chinese market with the introduction of the long-wheelbase version at the ongoing 2016 Beijing Auto Show. The extra X-ness comes mainly in the form of an elongation of the rear seating quarters. From the standard F48 X1, the Chinese-special X1 L gets an extra 12cm of metal between its wheels.
Depending on the position in which the rear seat bench is set, users enjoy up to 13cm of horizontal adjustability as standard. Mainland Chinese buyers jumping over from the previous-generation E84 X1 will find themselves blessed with between 5 and 18cm of additional rear-legroom.
Boot capacity has also grown from the regular model's 505 to 675 litres, depending on the position of the rear seat bench. Left in the standard seating position, boot capacity is identical to the standard model; fold the 40:20:40 split seatbacks down, up to 1,650 litres of storage space is at the owner's disposal.
Elsewhere, within the cabin the familiar BMW trademarks such as a driver focussed cabin architecture is augmented by soft touch leathers and accent strips in the instrument panel that run along the door panels lending to a uniform interior ambience.
The long-wheelbase X1 comes with a choice of three turbocharged petrol engines:
- sDrive18Li: 1.5-litre 3-cylinder, 136hp
- sDrive20Li and xDrive20Li: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, 192hp
- xDrive25Li: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, 231bhp.
On the outside, the increased wheelbase lends itself to a bolder overall look for the X1. This is accentuated by larger double-kidney air inlet grille, a three-section lower air intake and the signature BMW greeting formed by the twin circular headlights and fog lamps at the lower regions of the front end.
Underbody protection elements in the front and rear also interact with the square contours of the wheel cut-outs to accentuate the X1’s SUV lineage. The body’s character lines now feature alongside the longer roofline, which climaxes at the flanks with the black Air Blades positioned on the rear windows. The rear of the X1 is highlighted by the striking L-Shaped rear lights
Two trim lines are on offer at the outset, churned out by BMW Brilliance’s Tiexi plant in Shenyang.
There is xLine which features:
- Roof rails and side window surrounds in ‘satinated’ Aluminium.
- Satin Silver side skirts.
- 18-inch bi-colour Y-spoke design light-alloy wheels.
- Underbody protection at the front and rear in matt Satin Silver.
- Interior trim: sports seats upholstered in perforated leather and with decorative stitching
- ontour lighting.
- Accent strips for the instrument panel in Pearl Gloss Chrome.
- Genuine matt-finished oak trim.
Alternatively, Sports Line trim features:
- The BMW double-kidney air inlet grille bars, air intakes, side window surrounds and the exterior mirror caps are finished in high-gloss black.
- Underbody protection at the front and rear and its side skirts are painted in the body colour.
- 18-inch bi-colour light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design.
- Sports seats hemmed in perforated leather and with decorative Sports Line stitching at the sides and centre armrest.
- Interior finished in black leather with red contrast stitching and interior trim strips in high-gloss Black with Coral Red.
In the sDrive20Li and sDrive18Li variants, power is channelled to the front wheels, whereas the xDrive20Li and xDrive25Li variants utilise BMW’s xDrive smart all-wheel drive system to actively distribute power between the four wheels depending on the driving requirements. The system works alongside BMW’s stability control system to dial-out under- and over-steer by portioning torque to the corner with the most grip. The xDrive package also includes Hill Descent Control.
In addition to the usual array of active safety features expected of a present day BMW, the X1 L also comes with an enhanced stability control system that comes replete with an Active Differential Brake (ADB) and Performance Control functions claimed to further enhance the dynamic cornering characteristics of the BMW X1 by distributing engine power and braking force in the most efficient manner. All model variants ride on run-flat tyres as standard.
The exhaustive list of drivers assistance systems fitted to the X1 L include:
- The Navigation system beams route guidance via arrows and high-quality multi-view map images on the 6.5-inch Control Display.
- The Navigation Plus suite adds to that with an 8.8-inch Control Display, an instrument cluster with extended features, a split-screen function for the Control Display, an iDrive Touch Controller button and the BMW Head-Up Display.
- The BMW Head-Up Display projects information – including the current speed, Check Control messages and readouts from the Speed Limit Info system
- Other Driving Assistant functions include Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display, the anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, as well as Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function.
Being a Chinese-market special, the new long-wheelbase BMW X1 will not be reaching Malaysian shores anytime soon. However, interested punters for BMW's junior SUV in our shores might be interested to know the imminent arrival of locally-assembled variants which do promise the possibility of either better specs, better pricing, or both.