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First official look: BMW’s smallest X-model

X factor: The baby BMW SUV, the X1, is expected to arrive in Australia in February with a $55,000 starting price.

Newest member of BMW’s luxury SUV range emerges as X1 images and details released

2 Jul 2009

IT HAS been the subject of a staggered reveal campaign since being revealed as a concept prior to the Paris motor show last September now the 3 Series-based X1 compact SUV has emerged in final production form before going on sale in Australia in February next year.

Biggest surprise is the removal of the bright yellow indicator lenses that were applied to the wing mirrors of the prototypes presented to media in Mallorca in late May, while the concept’s chromed bumper and side skirt inserts have now reappeared in the production car’s matt-black lower sections.

Otherwise, in typical BMW fashion, the X1 is faithful to the Paris concept, putting it somewhere between the 1 Series and current X3 in terms of overall length, width and height. At 4454mm long, 1798mm wide and 1545mm high, it is just 116mm shorter, 57mm narrower and 130mm lower than the X3. It rides on a 2760mm wheelbase.

The X3 is expected to be replaced late next year by a second-generation model that will be larger, more luxurious and probably more expensive when it arrives here in 2011. Unlike the German-built X1, the next X3 will be manufactured alongside the X5 and X6 at Spartanburg in the US.

With an expected starting price of less than $55,000 (around the same as the 3 Series sedan), the X1 won’t be significantly cheaper or smaller than the X3, which now opens at $62,200.

14 center imageWhile that will make it the most affordable of the now four-member X model family, the world’s first compact luxury SUV will be significantly pricier than its most direct rival in Volkswagen’s Tiguan (from $33,990). Priced well above equivalent 1 Series hatch variants, the X1 range will open for around the same money as the 1 Series Coupe here.

More direct luxury SUV rivals will eventually arrive in the shape of the rumoured ‘GLC-class’, based on the Mercedes-Benz B-class, and Audi’s Q3 (due here in 2011), while Mercedes has confirmed a rear-drive version of its X3-rivalling GLK-class will also go on sale here in 2010.

As expected, Europe’s X1 line-up will comprise a single six-cylinder petrol engine and three four-cylinder diesels – all of them meeting strict upcoming EU5 emissions standards – plus both rear-wheel drive and xDrive all-wheel drive versions and BMW EfficientDynamics technologies including brake energy regeneration, an idle-stop function and a gearshift indicator.

BMW Australia’s X1 range will open with the xDrive20d, powered by an aluminium four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel that offers 130kW at 4000rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1750 and 3000rpm.

Combined average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in Europe are rated at 5.3 litres per 100km and 139 grams per kilometre respectively, while 0-100km/h acceleration is claimed to take place in 8.4 seconds. Top speed is stated at 205km/h.

Also likely to be sold here are the X1 xDrive28i, powered by a 190kW/310Nm 3.0-litre inline petrol six, and the flagship X1 xDrive23d, which packs a twin-turbocharged version of the 20d engine, offering 150kW at 4400rpm and 400Nm of torque between a narrow 2000-2250rpm.

BMW says the latter, which will make its debut here in the X1, is the world’s first all-aluminium diesel to deliver a specific power output of more than 100bhp per litre, propelling the xDrive23d to 100km/h in a claimed 7.3 seconds and to a 205km/h top speed, while returning as little as 6.3L/100km and 167g/km.

The xDrive28i is the quickest of the bunch with a 6.8-second 0-100km/h claim (but the same 206km/h top speed), but according to European figures is the least efficient at 9.4L/100km and 219g/km.

The 105kW/320Nm turbo-diesel that powers Europe’s X1 xDrive18d – as well as a rear-drive ‘sDrive’ version of it and the 20d – is unlikely to be sold here. For the record, the xDrive18d is the slowest with a claimed 0-100 time of 10.1 seconds, while the entry-level sDrive18d is the most efficient, returning 5.2L/100km and 136g/km – which BMW says makes it the first vehicle of its kind to emit less than 140g/km.

BMW says standard safety equipment will include DSC electronic stability control, five three-point seatbelts, front/side/head airbags, adaptive brake lights and daytime driving lights. Much is made of the storage solutions to be found in the X1, which will come with a 40/20/40-split, folding rear seatback that is also angle-adjustable and folds down to extend luggage capacity from 420 to 1350 litres.

The X1 presents trademark BMW design elements such as an upright double-kidney grille and a ‘Hofmeister kick’ at the base of its C-pillar, while continuing BMW SUV styling cues including L-shaped tail-lights, a rakish rear window and squared-off wheel-arches with matt-black lip trims. But new additions are the raised foglights just beneath the X1’s headlights.

It is understood BMW has an annual capacity to produce up to 100,000 examples of the X1 alongside the 1 Series and 3 Series at Leipzig, but images of an X1 prototype spotted testing near BMW’s factory in northeast China have led to rumours that BMW’s smallest SUV could also be built there.

Read more:

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First look: BMW gives birth to a baby SUV

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