BMW's newest addition to its crossover lineup, the X1, is also the smallest. Sold previously in markets outside the U.S., the X1 hits dealerships in fall 2012 as a 2013 model and will be available with a choice of turbocharged engines. The subcompact premium crossover segment is a new one in the U.S., and recent entrants include the Mini Cooper Countryman and upcoming Buick Encore.
Familiar design cues make the X1 immediately recognizable as a BMW, including a twin-kidney grille that dominates the front end. It's bordered by quad headlights behind clear covers. From some angles, the X1 looks a little like a hatchback car, but it's enough of a crossover overall to avoid that designation in the market. Exterior features include:
- Available xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with LED halos
- Turn signals integrated in the side mirrors
As is BMW tradition, the X1 has a driver-centric dashboard that brings a streamlined appearance to the cabin. BMW says it improved the controls and touch-points of the X1 for its U.S. debut, but some of the surfaces in the cabin — like the grab bars on the doors — have a low-grade feel that's out of place in even an entry-luxury crossover. The rear bench seat is more accommodating for adult passengers than the crossover's small footprint suggests. Interior features include:
- Available navigation system
- Joystick-like gear selector for the automatic-transmission
Under the Hood
Two engines are offered in the X1. A 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard while a 300-hp, turbo six-cylinder is available. Both engines work with an automatic transmission; a manual isn't offered. Mechanical features include:
- Fuel-saving stop/start engine technology (four-cylinder)
- Four-cylinder X1 can have rear- or all-wheel drive; six-cylinder models have all-wheel drive
Safety features include antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, which are required on all new cars beginning with the 2012 model year.
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