This smallest SUV from BMW has been on the roads of Europe for the past couple of years, but only now is seeing its American debut. BMW initially withheld exports of its X1 because demand was so high in Europe that it had limited surplus, and a weak dollar did not help the case.
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BMW will not offer all the variations in the U.S. that are available in Europe. The U.S. X1 variants track closely with BMW's current 3 Series. There will be three major model variants: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, and xDrive35i. The first two get BMW's new turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder, while the last boasts the powerful turbocharged 3-liter straight six-cylinder engine.
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Pictured here is the 2-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 245 horsepower. In the new 328i, this engine helps the car average close to 30 mpg, and should produce similar results in the X1. The available six-cylinder engine churns out 306 horsepower, getting the X1 to 60 mph in well under 6 seconds.
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Although part of BMW's SUV line, or a Sports Activity Vehicle, as BMW likes to term it, the X1 reads more like a hatchback. The roofline is not high, easy for any average-size person to see over. It is rated to hold five passengers while maintaining some cargo space.
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The two xDrive variants have all-wheel drive, while the sDrive28i has rear-wheel drive. A good amount of space in the wheel well shows the suspension should support articulation, allowing the X1 to travel over rough roads.
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What should contribute to the X1's success is a base price of about $31K for the sDrive28i. The all-wheel-drive versions will be more expensive. And in BMW's purchasing model, there will be a large number of pricey options available, quickly boosting the price of the car.
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The floor of the cargo area runs fairly deep, but the recline of the rear seats, combined with the slant of the hatchback, quickly reduces that space in its higher reaches.
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Under the load floor is a hidden storage area, which could serve to hold tools or keep valuables out of sight.
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The cabin mirrors that of recent BMW models, and can be equipped with BMW's latest tech. The navigation system stores its maps on hard drive, and includes 3D renderings of buildings along with topographical features. The car also includes BMW ConnectedDrive, with app integration for Pandora, Facebook, and Twitter.
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The iDrive controller is identical to that in other BMW models, providing indirect control of cabin tech functions represented on the LCD. The wood trim around this controller comes as part of the X line appearance package on this car.
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In the rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive four-cylinder X1s, this drive selector controls an eight-speed automatic transmission. The six-cylinder variant gets a six-speed transmission.
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Rear-seat legroom is tighter than in the 3 Series, but the high roofline gives a comfortable feeling of space.
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