Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios and to AAA Midwest Traveler magazine's online Web Bonus.

 It's summertime, and BMW's X1 is grillin'.

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The most obvious change in the updated 2020 BMW X1 is its more robust grille. Photo provided by BMW

Among the biggest changes to the updated 2020 edition of BMW's compact crossover is its notably larger grille -- a change not to be taken lightly. After all, there are few styling cues in the automotive world more iconic than BMW's twin-kidney grille. And, as far as BMW fans are concerned, stylists mess with it at their peril.

In the case of X1, that grille's twin kidneys have (gasp!) become one. That is to say, the formerly separate "kidney" sections are now spliced together via a bit of hourglass-shaped chrome trim, with the result being one big, bright, shiny grin on this small crossover. The reaction of the Bimmer faithful will be interesting to see.

Other exterior changes include new tinted LED taillights with L-shaped light bars, twin tailpipes that boast a diameter nearly an inch bigger than before, new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs and three new "metallic" paint colors: Storm Bay, Jucaro Beige and Misano Blue. (Who comes up with these names?) Alas, fans of Estoril Blue Metallic (who comes up . . . ?) will be in mourning. That color's been discontinued.

Inside, X1 updates include a standard infotainment display with navigation and Apple CarPlay talent that grows from 6.5 inches to 8.8. There are also minor interior trim enhancements. (Hey, the lower dash and door panels now color-match if you spring for the optional Dakota leather package. Hot dog!)

As before, X1 can be had with front- or all-wheel drive, the front-driver called sDrive28i while the all-wheel drive edition wears the moniker xDrive28i.

Regardless, every 2020 X1 will be powered by a carried-over 2.0-liter turbo four that lays down 228 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque through an also-standard eight-speed automatic transmission.

In the biggest mechanical upgrade, that eight-cog auto shifter, BMW says, has been improved with revised gear ratios for enhanced routine-driving performance while, at the same time, boasting smoother shifts that are "almost imperceptible."

BMW says the front-driver will reach 60 mph in 6.6 seconds while the AWD model makes the same trip in 6.3 ticks.

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Photo provided by BMW

Among X1's standards are 18-inch wheels, power tailgate, rear-view camera, power seats and a suite of active safety nannies, including Lane Departure Warning, Pedestrian Warning with braking, Frontal Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation with braking, Speed Limit Information and Auto High Beam function.

Option packages include:

  • Convenience, which brings along power-folding mirrors, universal garage-door opener, Comfort Access keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, adjustable lumbar support, LED fog lights and satellite radio.
  • Premium, which includes all of the above plus heated steering wheel and heated seats, LED headlights with cornering lights, head-up display and upgraded navigation.
  • Luxury, which adds Dakota leather and a choice of interior accent trims.
  • M Sport, which offers a choice of 18- or 19-inch wheels, each shod with specific tires, a choice of standard or M sport suspension, paddle-shifters for the transmission, sport bucket seats, and unique interior and exterior styling cues.
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Photo provided by BMW

Among X1's a la carte options: Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, sport buckets, park assist, Harman-Kardon Premium Sound, heated seats, heated wheel, Dakota leather and exterior metallic paint.

Look for the updated 2020 X1 to arrive in showrooms late this year. BMW has yet to announce pricing, but we figure, with the changes as modest as they are, this X1 won't venture too far north of its current base price: $35,945 for a front-driver, $37,945 for an AWD model.


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