BMW’s entry point to the ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ (SAV) family has been treated to a mid-life update, heralding plug-in hybrid power for the X1 range in 2020.
For now, the facelifted 2019 BMW X1 line-up will consist of combustion-powered variants with an even share to both diesel and petrol power and a combination of three- and four-cylinder engines, but a hybrid pioneer is highly likely to join them Down Under next year.
While BMW Group Australia is yet to confirm exact local options ahead of the arrival in the fourth quarter of this year, product communications manager Adam Davis offered a hint at what to expect.
“It’s expected that the range carries on in terms of variant availability and the hybrid will be a likely starter for 2020,” he said. “Not all of them will be suitable for our market but we’ll look at 25i of course and the 18i as well. The launch range will carry over from pre-LCI (facelift)”.
If it gets the green light, the X1 xDrive 25e will take the total number of plug-in BMWs to five alongside more orthodox options in the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 ranges, as well as the i8 and i3 models.
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On a full charge, the xDrive 25e can travel about 50km thanks to a 9.7kWh battery powering a 70kW electric motor. In hybrid mode, the 92kW petrol engine joins forces with the electric drive with a number of drive modes including Max eDrive, Auto eDrive and Save Battery.
As it stands, the local range includes an entry level 18d, mid-range 20i and 25i performance flagship, but the fresh X1 line-up extends from a three-cylinder 16d with 85kW through 18i and 18d, 25d and 25i. The range-topper carries over with the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder 170kW output.
Choices of front- or four-wheel drive will be on offer depending upon the variant, as will a six-speed manual gearbox and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, but you can expect only the latter to be offered in Australian showrooms.
xDrive 25i versions will be offered exclusively in all-wheel drive with an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. As the performance hero of the range for now, the 25i completes the 0-100km/h benchmark in 6.5 seconds, in stark contrast to the entry 16d’s 11.5s dash.
Beyond the imminent arrival of a hybrid, a significant exterior redesign headlines the update with a new front and rear look that brings the smallest SUV visually in line with its larger siblings, including a larger kidney grille, squared nose, and restyled lights all round with LEDs.
A choice of three new colours completes the 2019 refresh.
There’s also a new M Sport package available optionally to add a high-performance flavour with a rear diffuser, deeper side skirts, fattened wheel arches and more vents added to the front bumper. Below the sportiest package, customers will be offered a Sport Line and xLine grade.
On the inside, the cabin has been refreshed with subtle but effective touches including a shorter-throw electric lever in place of the previous mechanical selector. A 6.5-inch central multimedia screen is standard at the entry grade, but 8.8-inch or 10.6-inch touchscreen displays are available for higher grade variants.
Three new upholstery variations have been included depending on the budget.