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2013 BMW X1 Overview

Complementing its X3, X5 and oddball X6 “Sports Activity” vehicles, aka crossover utes, BMW is set to debut its smallest, coziest high-end mini-ute, the 2013 X1, in the U.S. market as early as the fall. Expected to be available in the traditional 28i and 35i versions, this time there’s a slight twist with the base X1 sDrive28i offered only in a rear-wheel-drive configuration. The X1’s xDrive28i and xDrive35i will, of course, continue to feature Beemer’s xDrive “intelligent” all-wheel-drive (AWD) technology. The German automaker lauds the introduction of this subcompact 5-passenger crossover as a notable precursor to a lineup-wide reworking for the 2014 model year and notes that the X1 will preview a few of the tweaks and twists anticipated in next-gen X series.

Though the brand new X1 is expected to offer a pair of turbocharged powerplants, a surprisingly roomy cabin and an acceptably spacious cargo area, a number of disparagements are already being voiced by reviewers and fans. First off, no diesel engine is yet foreseen in U.S.-marketed X1s, nor is a stick-shift transmission visible in this little Beemer’s future. Additionally, a few early reviews of the X1 opine that, despite its base designation, a goodly amount of this compact crossover’s interior materials ought to be closer to BMW’s usual stringent standards in their luxury-class lineup. Considering such lofty competition as Audi’s Q5, Land Rover’s Evoque and Acura’s RDX in the high-end compact crossover niche, not to mention more economical and practical offerings like Volkswagen’s Tiguan and Nissan’s Rogue, it’s hoped that Beemer will rectify these perceived shortcomings at some point.

In any case, look for the 2013 X1 sDrive28i and xDrive28i to sport a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine mated with an 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This potent little four-banger should put out some 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and will feature auto engine stop/start and regenerative braking.

For the xDrive35i, expect a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder (I6) to again cohabitate with the 8-speed shiftable automatic for 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. No auto stop/start with the I6, but it does retain brake regeneration capability. The xDrive AWD system in both the xDrive28i and the xDrive35i, meantime, will provide the bulk of its considerable torque to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions, switching power instantaneously from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip as conditions necessitate. Alas, gas mileage won’t be available in either X1 engine assignment for some time yet.

Details are sketchy as to standard exterior and interior accoutrements in the new X1 trims, but it’s expected that Beemer’s unique and aggressive exterior lines will be bolstered by 17- (28i) and 18-inch (35i) alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights. Inside this debutante, look for U.S.-oriented glitz that will likely include leather and chrome accents, polished surfaces and, according to a number of early reviews, entirely too much plastic. Leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control and power accessories should adorn the 28i trims, along with cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering and an MP3-capable single-CD player with USB connection. The X1 xDrive35i, meantime, should add a rear spoiler, power moonroof and driver memory settings. Major options are expected to include a hard-drive-based navigation system, satellite radio, a power sun- or moonroof and Bluetooth hands-free communications technology.

Safety-wise, specifics are again sparse, but look for the obligatory 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags and front side-mounted airbags. Then there are likely to be the recently introduced programmable LED daytime running lights and adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, as well as the traditional post-collision safety system.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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