After considerable success everywhere else in the world, the BMW X1 launches officially in the U.S.at the New York International Auto Show this week. The Littlest X Sport Activity Vehicle will make its debut armed with state-of-the-art powertrain technology. Dealers will get X1s in September/October 2012 and prices will start at $31,545 (including $895 Destination and Handling).
The X1 model—produced at BMW Plant Leipzig— will take the leap across the pond with new interior designed surfaces, more polished controls and high-quality touches. It's the most important of two new models at the Show— the other is the Gran Coupe. The X1 made its world debut in Frankfurt in 2009, but demand has been so great in other markets that it made no sense to lower its profit potential by sending it to the U.S. Simply put, BMW could sell every one of the popular Onesies it could crank out in more lucrative markets, and every X1 sent to America would be dollars—make that euros—left on the table.
At the time of its mid-cycle facelift, with increased production capacity at the Leipzig plant, BMW can at last send the X1 our way—and priced to compete in the U.S. With a base MSRP of $31,545—including destination charges—the X1 will be priced so far south of the popular X3 that it is likely to establish its own market. Three variants will be available; the now-familiar N20 two-liter turbo four will power the X128i in rear-drive and all-wheel-drive versions—which means that BMW’s X no longer stands for AWD—while the AWD X135i will be powered by the N55 twin-scroll-turbocharged three-liter six that now provides at least 300 horsepower to just about everything in the BMW armada.The profile of the X1 is defined by a main character line that rises steadily to the rear of the vehicle while another line visually extends the contours of the side window surrounds towards the rear. The pronounced side skirts and the bulging wheel arches add sporting flair. Finally, turn signals are now integrated into new exterior mirrors.
Inside, the side of the center console angled towards the driver is now shallower, spotlighting the driver-focused cockpit design. Electroplated trim surrounds the gearshift lever and center console cupholders, a chrome strip for the headlight switch and edging of the Control Display – when the optional navigation system is specified – all add finishing touches.
The variants of the BMW X1 offered in the US market will be powered by BMW TwinPower Turbo gas engines. This package of technology consists of twin-scroll turbocharging, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-Vanos variable camshaft control. Both the 6-cylinder inline engine under the hood of the BMW X1 xDrive35i – developing 300 hp – and the 240 hp 4-cylinder engine powering the BMW X1 sDrive28i and BMW X1 xDrive28i deliver instant power, impressive acceleration and exceptional efficiency.
Both engines are paired with an automatic gearbox and extensive BMW EfficientDynamics technology. Features including the Auto Start-Stop function (28i only), Brake Energy Regeneration and demand-based operation of ancillary units help to achieve a unique blend of performance and fuel economy.
The BMW X1 sDrive28i with rear-wheel drive and the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i will be offered exclusively in the US market. The intelligent all-wheel drive of the BMW X1 xDrive35i and BMW X1 xDrive28i varies the distribution of drive between the front and rear wheels, as required.
By the way, that $31,545 base price is for the RWD X128i; make it AWD, and the base goes up to $33,245. If you’re enchanted by the notion of a 300-horsepower BMW churning up the ice with all four wheels up the Mackenzie River ice road in February, you may already be salivating at the notion of the $39,345 X135i. Expect the X1 in U.S. showrooms in September or October.—Paul DucheneBack to News