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BMW X1 already a hit

X marks the spot: The BMW X1 is based on the 3 Series Touring.

Small BMW SUV attracts strong pre-sales interest as X1’s local rollout confirmed

15 Oct 2009

ALMOST 1000 potential customers have registered their interest in BMW’s first compact SUV six months before it arrives here, making the new X1 the subject of one of the best pre-sales release campaigns staged by BMW Australia in recent years.

Confirmed for Australian release in April 2010, the X1 initially will be available in two all-wheel-drive diesel specifications, with the xDrive20d priced about $10,000 lower than the ($62,200-plus) X3 from under $55,000 and the higher-performance xDrive23d topping the launch range at more than $60,000.

BMW Australia’s X1 range will be bolstered early next year by the release of the entry-level sDrive20d, which will be priced well under $50,000 and will be powered by the same 130kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine as the xDrive20d but driving only the rear wheels.

At the other end of the X1 scale, the X1 flagship xDrive28i will arrive in a similar timeframe, powered by a petrol 3.0-litre straight-six engine packing 190kW/310Nm.

In line with the 85 per cent demand for diesel versions of the X3, entry-level sDrive18d and xDrive18d X1 variants may also join the range at a later stage, while a base petrol xDrive18i version will enter production in 2010.

14 center imagePowered by a 105kW/190Nm inline four-cylinder petrol engine, the latter will be a six-speed manual-only proposition – as with both 20d (and 18d) models. In contrast, the xDrive23d and xDrive 28i will both come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 18d models are powered by a detuned 105kW/320Nm version of the 20d models’ 130kW/350Nm inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, while the 23d scores BMW’s new ‘TwinPower’ twin turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel four delivering a sizeable 150kW and 400Nm.

Nonetheless, with claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 7.3 seconds, it is not quite as quick as the xDrive28i, which offers the most brisk standing-start pace (6.8 seconds).

Both rear and all-wheel drive 20d models match the 205km/h top speed of the AWD-auto 23d and 28i, but sprint to 100km/h more sedately (in 8.1 and 8.4 seconds respectively).

The xDrive18d is the slowest of the X1 line-up at 10.1 seconds and 195km/h, behind the sDrive 18d (9.6 seconds, 200km/h) and xDrive18i (9.5 seconds, 200km/h).

The xDrive20d uses just 5.8 litres of diesel per 100km and emits 153 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Based not on the 1 Series but the 3 Series Touring, alongside which it started production at Leipzig in Germany this month, the E84-series X1 emerged as a concept at the 2008 Paris motor show. The almost identical production version was revealed in July, before the X1 was launched in Europe in late September.

The smallest BMW crossover will not go on sale in the US until 2011, after the release of the second-generation X3, which will join the X5 and X6 ion production at Spartanburg in the US when the larger, next-generation model launches globally in two years.

Based on a 2760mm wheelbase and measuring 4454mm long, 1798mm wide and 1545mm high, the five-seat-only X1 is not much smaller than the current X3. About the same size as its most direct competitor, Volkswagen’s Tiguan (which is priced between $33,990 and $42,990), the X1 is also shorter than Australia’s most popular compact SUV, Subaru 4.56-metre Forester.

Standard equipment across the range will include twin front, side and curtain airbags, stability/traction control, ABS brakes, five three-point seatbelts and head restraints, air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors and remote central locking.

Confirmed options for both launch models include satellite-navigation and a sunroof, while further options could include a rear-view camera and adaptive cruise control.

Both launch models will have a 2000kg braked towing capacity (750kg unbraked), while the rear-drive sDrive20d’s braked capacity reduces to 1800kg. Tare weights range from 1455kg for the sDrive20d, to 1540kg for the xDrive20d and 1560kg for the xDrive23d.

All X1s offer a 420-litre boot, extending to 1350 litres after folding the 40/20/40-split rear seat, which is adjustable across 11 steps.

The 20d models employ 312x24mm front brakes discs (300x20mm at rear), while the 23d has larger 330mm rotors at all four wheels.

All three models will come standard with 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels with 225/50 R17 tyres, while 18 and even 19-inch options will be available. Ground clearance for all X1s is a tallish 194mm.

The X1 will join BMW’s X5, the first generation of which arrived in Australia in 2001, X3 (here since 2004) and X6, which launched here last year, in BMW’s X-series range, which has attracted more than 30,000 sales locally and more than 1.5 million worldwide.

Aimed at significantly younger urban customers than the X3, the 6000th example of which was sold in Australia in July this year, the X1’s most direct compact luxury SUV competition will come from Audi’s Q3 in 2011.

Before the X1 arrives next April, BMW’s X range will be expanded by the X6 M in December and the X5 M in January.

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