Frankfurt LIVE: 2016 BMW X1

BMW\'s has revealed its first-ever front-wheel based car for the U.S.

BMW has officially lifted the veil on its second-generation X1 Sports Activity Vehicle. Marking a major departure from every BMW that has been sold in the United States to this point, the 2016 X1 will ride on a front-wheel drive architecture.

Bucking the automotive trend of growing with every new model iteration, the 2016 X1 is actually about an inch shorter than the car it replaces. The 2016 X1 is, however, slightly wider and taller than its predecessor.

Despite its smaller footprint, BMW has increased the X1's rear-seat legroom by 1.5 inches in standard form and by up to 2.6 inches with the SUV's optional adjustable rear seat. Thanks to its taller roofline, both front and rear seat passengers sit higher up than in last year's model. BMW says the 2016 X1 will be the roomiest vehicle in its class.

Your gear should also be more comfortable in the new X1 as BMW says cargo space is up by about 15 percent. Power-folding rear seats and a power liftgate promise to make loading the X1 even easier.

For those with a sporting side, the 2016 X1 will be available with an optional M Sport package. As with other BMW M Sport models, the X1 M Sport will boast an M Steering Wheel and M Sport Seats to go along with its track-tuned suspension.

The X1's standard equipment list includes power front seats, a 6.5-inch high-resolution infotainment screen, SensaTec seating surfaces and a seven-speaker audio system. Available extras include a panoramic moonroof, leather upholstery and an 8.8-inch high-resolution screen with Navigation.

The overall exterior shape of the X1 hasn't changed much, but the 2016 model has a better balance to our eyes. Most notably, the X1's transversely-mounted engine has allowed for a much shorter hood area. Styling has also been brought up to date, with the 2016 X1 mimicking the larger X5 SUV. LED daytime running lights are standard while LED headlights are available through the Premium Package.

Standard 18-inch wheels fill the X1's more pronounced fender flares. Buyers can also specify optional 19-inch wheels.

In the U.S. the X1 will initially be offered in xDrive28i form. Power for that model will be provided by BMW's latest 2.0L TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder generating 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. BMW notes that those figures make the X1 the most powerful entry-level model in the segment.

Shifting through an eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system, the X1 xDrive28i can scoot from 0-60 in 6.3 seconds. Top speed is capped at 130mph in standard form, but the X1 can be uncorked to 143mph with an optional package.

A front-drive version of the X1 is expected to eventually be offered.

U.S. fuel economy estimates have not been released. Despite gaining about 130 pounds, the 2016 X1 should be more efficient than the model currently sitting in BMW showrooms.

The BMW X1 will be available with a full suite of safety features, including Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beams, Frontal Collision Warning and City Collision Mitigation. The X1 will also be available with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Park Distance Control.

Pricing will be announced closer to the 2016 X1's fall launch date, but expect an MSRP starting in the low $30,000 range.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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