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2013 BMW X1 Debut

Meet the BMW X3's Mini Me.

BMW Research Click to hide

The BMW X1 has been on sale since 2009 in other parts of the world. There was always an intention to bring it stateside, but world demand kept it from our shores. That's about to change, though, as BMW is bringing its smallest crossover here to compete in a burgeoning segment of smaller, more efficient vehicles. With a TwinPower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder serving as the base engine and BMW's 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter engine as an option, the X1 will have as much oomph as its larger X3 sibling. But it'll be about the size of the smaller first-gen X3, making right-sized for most urbanites turned off by either the X3's size or price. Expect the X1 to make some waves.

Who It's For

BMW's ahead of the curve in this segment, as it was one of the first entries back in 2009 and will undoubtedly usher in a list of other smaller, more affordable premium crossovers. Though similar in size to the Range Rover Evoque, the X1 is neither as capable off-road, nor as plush and luxurious. The chief competitor for the X1 has been the Audi Q3 internationally, but that model is still a ways off from being sold in the U.S. Whether cross-shopped with any of the above or even the Infiniti EX35, the BMW X1 will make a mark for small crossover shoppers who want the prestige of a BMW, the utility of a wagon, and a little more space between them and the ground. With a starting price of $31,545, including $895 for destination and handling, the X1 xDrive28i will carry a very competitive price and serve as a credible alternative to even the 3 Series wagon. Adding all-wheel drive will up the point of entry to $33,245, and the top-range X1 xDrive35i with the six-cylinder engine will start at $39,345.

Key Features

The BMW X1 is everything you've come to expect from a BMW, only smaller. It'll come with:
  • A standard 2.0-liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, linked to an eight-speed automatic. A 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 with 300 horsepower is optional, exclusively for the U.S. market.
  • A 14-foot length that puts it in a better position for those who live in urban environments or have tight parking restrictions.
  • Availability of BMW's long list of techno gadgetry, including iDrive, selectable drive modes, and a fully integrated smartphone interface with BMW Apps.
  • Auto start-stop for four-cylinder models and brake energy regeneration to help the X1 achieve high fuel economy numbers.

What We Think

BMW doesn't make too many flops, and we can't imagine this one will be on that small list. The BMW X1 is in a good position to reap a captive audience looking for a smaller crossover with some prestige. We're not sure what to make of its station wagon on stilts appearance yet. It hasn't quite settled with us the way the X3 and X5's looks have.

BMW says the U.S. X1 will be available with plenty of option that will separate it from its larger siblings. It says it's improved materials and designs in the model's refresh, and for the U.S. And the six-cylinder engine it'll have will be exclusively for the U.S. despite being on-sale all over the world. If BMW doesn't cut too much of the luxury and sportiness combination to keep costs down and differentiate it from the X3, we think it'll do just fine in the U.S. amid $4 gasoline. But we also think when it comes down to it, the X1's fiercest competition may not be from Audi or Infiniti; it may be from the more expensive X3.

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