The New BMW X1 – A Preview of the Next MINI Countryman & Clubman

Today BMW fans are either celebrating a new model or mourning the passing of their small rear wheel drive crossover. Either way you’re looking at the first front wheel drive based BMW to be sold globally. This new X1 also has something in common with all future MINIs. Like the forthcoming Clubman and Countryman it is based on the the larger version of the front wheel drive UKL platform. This means it’s not just a new X1 but a sneak peak at a number of things we’ll see in the 2016 Clubman and 2017 Countryman. Just what are they? Read on.

F48_X1_379

BMW of North America will likely import two petrol variations of the X1 and one plugin hybrid. There’s an outside chance for a four cylinder diesel but sources tell us that’s still up in the air. We’ve already scooped the plugin hybrid and how it relates to the MINI. So lets turn our attention on the two petrol power plants that will make up the vast majority of sales.

First to the market for the X1 will be the 28i powered by the same B48 variation of the BMW 2.0L found in the new MINI JCW. Toned down in power delivery (and noise), this engine’s 228hp is seen as the base in the North American market due to the weight of the X1 – 3600 lbs. While it’s down almost 70 lbs from the previous X1, it still requires a healthy power figure to keep on par with competitors. We expect MINI to use a similar strategy and use this 228hp version of the B48 for the Cooper S variations of both the Clubman and the Countryman. Moving down the ladder a bit, this means we may well see the 190hp version of this engine (used in the F56 Cooper S) offered in the Cooper Clubman and Countryman. This would give it performance roughly on par with the small F56 based Cooper.

F48_X1_347

Where does this leave potential JCW variants? We’ve told you previously about MINI’s plans for a 300 hp crossover. This new X1 will be laying the ground work for that in its 35i variant released either late this year or early next. Matching the output of the previous X1 35i, this new version will feature a 300 hp engine derived from the B48 and exclusively coupled with all wheel drive.

Even if these new larger Clubman and Countryman MINIs weigh near 3,500 lbs, the combination of all wheel drive and 300 hp should motivate them to 60 mph near or under 5 seconds. Couple this is the new Aisin 8 speed automatic (a transmission we expect to be used across the MINI range in the next two years) and you have a dramatically different performance level than any MINI before it. Granted the question remains, will it feel like a MINI?

With an increase in size and weight, that remains to be seen.

For more on the new BMW X1 (including full specifications, galleries and videos), head over to our sister site BimmerFile.