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Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 BMW X1

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/6/2015 Karla Sanchez

Demand for premium compact crossovers is growing, with the Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3 serving as prime examples of that growth. Now, BMW has answered the call with a new X1 that boasts a more exciting design than the outgoing model. Below, we take a look at the styling differences between the new 2016 X1 and the model it replaces.

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Perhaps the biggest change made to the X1 is that it rides on a new platform, namely Mini’s front-drive-based, transverse-engine ULK platform. The most obvious effect this has on styling is the shorter dash-to-axle ratio. Although the X1 keeps its signature kidney grille and halo ring headlights, its nose looks completely different. Unlike the long hood on the outgoing X1, the new X1’s snout is shorter and fuller, making it look more like a crossover than a lifted wagon. The fact that the crossover is now 1.7 inches taller also helps in this regard.

From the side, the new X1’s sharply raked windshield reminds us of the European-market BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, which makes sense since that car also uses the same ULK platform. Since the new X1 is 1.1 inches shorter, it looks more plump than the model it replaces. However, it’s just an illusion seeing as it’s actually 0.9 inches narrower than the outgoing model. The more angular rear quarter window also lends the new X1 a sportier appearance.

Around back, the 2016 X1 mimics the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer again with its flatter rear end. The outgoing X1’s bulbous rear end is now slab-sided, while an integrated roof spoiler adds some visual flair to the overall appearance. Thanks to its new crossover-like stance, the X1 looks a bit more rugged and almost like a mini X3.

The old X1’s interior left much to be desired, but that changes in the new X1. Nicer materials are used inside so it doesn’t look as drab as before. While the old X1’s touchscreen was integrated deep into the upper dash, the touchscreen is now propped on top of the dash. The audio system and its row of buttons on the center stack also moved below the buttons and knobs that used to be located above it. The shift knob is also different, as well as the divider between the front driver and passenger seat.

What do you think of the BMW X1? Does it look better now that it's more CUV-like, or did its wagon-like stance help set it apart? Let us know in the comments below.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 BMW X1

Last week’s edition of Refreshing or Revolting focused on the 2016 Lexus ES, and even though it boasted a subtle design change, opinions on its appearance were strong.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i

“That grille is not revolting. It's disgusting, and to and to think every Lexus has it now,” said frcastellanos.

andrewz2021 was on a totally opposite playing field, saying “Absolutely refreshing! The front was executed perfectly. I'm really digging the new lights designs. The interior upped a whole notch, making it extremely beautiful.”

Other readers were rather neutral like RCD, who said, “Looks less like a potato and more like a vicious potato, but it's still a potato nonetheless.”

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