Click above for high-res gallery of the BMW X1 Concept
In a move that marks a significant departure from its current direction, BMW will offer both all- and rear-wheel drive versions of its upcoming BMW X1 model. Up to this point, consumers have only been offered all-wheel-drive mechanicals under the skin of the BMW X6, BMW X5 and smaller BMW X3. The German automaker cites weight savings and gains in efficiency as the reason why its newest and smallest SAV loses its front driveshafts, but be assured that it's also a cost-saving maneuver as automakers squeeze to keep prices down. As the models will appear virtually identical from the outside, BMW will offer the rear-wheel-drive version with a special "sDrive" badge to differentiate it from the xDrive-equipped all-wheel-drive model (of course, you'll have to squint to discern the badge differences between a rear-wheel-drive "BMW X1 sDrive28i" and the all-wheel-drive "BMW X1 xDrive28i"). Built on the 3 Series platform (and set for production at the same Leipzig plant), the showroom version of the X1 is expected to look much like the X1 Concept shown in Paris last week. There has been no word on when we'll see it on this side of the pond, but those in Europe should look for the X1 to appear in showrooms sometime in 2010.