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BMW X1 (2015) VW Tiguan (2016) New compact SUV in comparison

Stefan Baldauf
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Separated at birth? No, it shouldn't be phrased so cynically. But the fact is: The new generations of VW Tiguan and BMW X1 are conceptually much more similar than was previously the case: The Tiguan is the first VW SUV to be based on the modular transverse matrix ( MQB ) So still driven by transversely installed motors in the base on the front wheels. The new BMW X1 switches to the platform of the Mini ( U KL ) on which the two Vans 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer are already standing. The BMW X1 is now also powered by transversely mounted engines on the front axle.

With the change from rear-wheel to front-wheel drive, BMW is giving up a unique selling point in the compact SUV segment. From a rational point of view, this is a somewhat unfortunate circumstance, because in addition to its lower weight, the new X1 offers significantly better interior space. And if you don't want to get used to the front-wheel drive at all, you can opt for the x-Drive all-wheel drive, which is typical for BMW and is currently available in almost all engines - with the exception of the X1 18d.

Stefan Baldauf /Guido ten Brink
Unusual from VW: The Tiguan has changed a lot with the generation change.

BMW X1 with a surprising amount of space in the interior

Build on the new platforms both manufacturers sporty styled bodies. A lot has changed visually, especially with the Tiguan: It looks significantly more angular and brawny than its predecessor. BMW has refined the design of the X1 in details. Since he was already the athlete among the compact SUV, the two models are now closer from the outsidetogether.

There are minor differences in the dimensions. The new Tiguan grows in length by six centimeters to 4.49 meters. The new X1 loses 15 mm, making it five centimeters shorter than its competitor. The wheelbase of the Tiguan (2.68 meters) exceeds that of the X1 by one centimeter, while the height is two centimeters at 1.63 meters. Those who take a seat in both models will hardly be able to tell the difference, however, should be surprised by the larger space offered by the X1 .

The rear passengers in particular benefit from the changes and enjoy the X1 sufficient head and legroom - even if the optional panoramic glass roof is installed. The same applies to the Tiguan fund. The Wolfsburg man can only outdo the BMW in the trunk. With 615 liters, the rear compartment offers a good 100 liters more volume. The difference in size compared to the BMW is also noticeable in the more standing height under the opened tailgate.

Stefan Baldauf /Guido ten Brink
Both models offer: split foldable and movable rear seat bench, flat loading area.

VW Tiguan with fully digital instruments

In terms of variability, both SUVs are now equally well positioned. Both have a split rear bench seat that can be moved a few centimeters forwards if necessary and whose backrests can be folded away to the level loading area using a switch in the trunk. There is additional storage space under the loading floors.

There are clear differences in the cockpit and operation. While the infotainment system of the VW Tiguan is largely controlled via the touchscreen that is known from Golf and Co. and is located in the center of the dashboard, BMW drivers use the i-Drive controller in the center console and look at on a screen the dashboard. Brand new in the Tiguan are the fully digital instruments familiar from the Passat. They offer the driver the advantage of displaying more information, for example a detailed navigation map, in his direct field of vision. In the BMW, a new head-up display projects its information directly onto the windscreen. Asit was ordered with a smartphone connection and networking of the two, unfortunately could not be tested sufficiently at the fair. Workmanship and choice of materials are at a high level in both vehicles.

Still to be seen as a study at the IAA: Plug-in hybrid Tiguan GTE with a purely electric range of 50 km.

VW Tiguan will not come until 2016

And what about the engines? VW will offer the Tiguan with four petrol engines (125 hp to 220 hp) and four diesel engines with a power range from 115 hp to 240 hp. The basic engines are always connected to front-wheel drive, all other versions have all-wheel drive on board either as an option or as standard. With the plug-in hybrid GTE, a particularly economical variant follows, which is purely electric for a range of 50 km. The Tiguan is also still available as an on-road or higher off-road version and with the sporty R-Line. The Tiguan will go on sale in April 2016 . VW has not yet announced prices. So far, the Tiguan starts at just under 26,000 euros.

At the market launch in October, the BMW will be available with two petrol engines (192 PS, 231 PS) and three diesel units (150 PS, 190 PS, 231 PS): The sDrive 18d with two-liter diesel, front-wheel drive and six-speed manual gearbox is initially the cheapest option at 32,900 euros. All other versions are equipped with all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission as standard and are therefore significantly more expensive. Only when the two three-cylinder units are introduced at the end of the year will the base price drop below 30,000 euros. Analogous to the R-Line of the Tiguan, BMW offers an M-Package for the X1.


VW makes the Tiguan at least visually sportier, BMW makes its X1 more practical. Both models are therefore now much more similar than before. That doesn't make the decision easy for buyers in this segment. Those who choose the purchase price are still better advised with the Tiguan. If it doesn't play the biggest role, it's just personal taste and impressions that decide after a hopefully informative test drive.


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