Get a Look at BMW's Ultimate Outdoor Machine

Starting this fall, the new X1 will take you from the city to the glorious woods.
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Starting this fall, the new X1 will take you from the city to the glorious woods.

When BMW released its first SUV, the X5, it insisted on calling it an SAV, or Sports Activity Vehicle. It’s no beast of burden! said the Bavarians. That self-conscious nomenclature has carried through to BMW’s current truck line-up, even though all models (save the rakish X6) provide a fair amount of utility. (Activity is also present, especially in the insane, twin-turbo V8 X5 M and X6 M).

The newest addition to the SAV clan is the compact X1, which for the first time is based on Mini’s front-wheel drive architecture (American will only get AWD variants, however). Gone are the last model’s inline six, rear-drive platform, manual hand-brake and hydraulic steering—vestiges of that car’s E91 3-series platform that we really liked.

However, it’s a touch lighter, bigger inside, and will improve on the old car’s economy by almost 20%. These cars make great all-arounders, like Subaru Outbacks with better interiors and appropriately German driving dynamics. With good power from a 2-liter turbo, BMW’s excellent all-wheel drive, and just enough ground clearance for small logs and streams, this is the car to take camping this fall when it debuts. 

Photos by BMW