2011 BMW X1 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010
  • All-new design
  • Smallest of the X-family lineup
  • Five-passenger compact SUV
  • More head and shoulder room than the X3
  • Gasoline and diesel powerplants (market specific)
  • Rear- or all-wheel drive (in some markets)
  • On sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2011


2011 BMW X1Following the success of the X3 and X5 sport-activity vehicles (SAVs), as the company refers to them, BMW unveiled its "" at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Although it was designated a concept car, the smallest SAV from the German automaker was considered a sneak peek at a model BMW was already close to launching. The rumors rang true in September of 2009 when BMW finally took the wraps off the production-ready BMW X1 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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2011 BMW X1The exterior and interior of the all-new X1 don't stray from BMW's familiar styling cues. Looking much like a miniaturized X3 in profile, the front of the X1 bears a striking resemblance to the new 7 Series, introduced last year, while the rear could easily be mistaken for a 3 Series wagon. Rather than introduce a new interior layout, the X1's cockpit should be very familiar to both 1 Series and 3 Series owners. In fact, the X1 and 3 Series share the exact same front seats.

Smaller than both of its siblings (physically, it is only slightly larger than the BMW 1 Series), the X1 offers seating for up to 5 passengers within its cabin. Though the X1 is smaller in size on the outside than the BMW X3, BMW claims there is more front head room, and greater shoulder room front and rear, in the X1. The rear cargo area is accessed via a traditional one-piece lifting tailgate.

Model Lineup

Like other BMW models, the X1 is expected to be offered with a choice of powerplants that designate the specific model. In Europe, BMW will offer a choice of gasoline or diesel engines. In the States, we will likely see the all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i and possibly the rear-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i, each fitted with the same 3.0-liter, normally aspirated inline-6 that is found in both the 1 Series and 3 Series (BMW's new nomenclature puts an "x" or "s" in the moniker to differentiate all- or rear-wheel drive, respectively).


2011 BMW X1BMW will offer the X1 with several different engine choices, based on sales market. European customers, for whom the vehicle will debut in 2010, will receive both gasoline- and diesel-powered 4-cylinder engines with smaller displacement. The U.S. market, which is accustomed to performance-oriented vehicles from BMW, will initially receive the X1 xDrive28i, with a 260-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine shared with the current 1 Series, 3 Series, and X3. The xDrive28i features a standard 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode, and permanent all-wheel drive.

The X1 features independent suspension at all four corners, with damping tuned for a well-controlled ride on the road, according to the manufacturer. Although the X1 xDrive28i is all-wheel drive, it is not intended for serious off-road travel. Also, according to BMW, the ride is more compliant than that found on the X3, which has been widely criticized for its stiff suspension tuning. Standard wheels for the X1 are 17-inch cast aluminum, with 18-inch wheels optional.


Mirroring the safety technology found on the 1 Series and 3 Series models, all X1 models include dual front air bags with dual-threshold and 2-stage smart deployment technology protecting the driver and front passenger. Side air bags, and a front- and rear-seat curtain air bag Head Protection System offer additional protection to occupants.

The extensive list of standard electronic safety aids includes anti-lock brakes and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). The DSC on the new X1 includes BMW's versions of electronic brake proportioning, cornering brake stability enhancement, Dynamic Brake Control, Brake Fade Compensation, Brake Standby, Dynamic Traction Control, and Start-off Assistant.


2011 BMW X1Borrowing a technology from the X6 Series, the X1 xDrive is available with BMW's Performance Control. The system is a sophisticated rear-axle dynamic control which is able to optimize power transfer between the front and rear axles by slightly (and automatically) applying the brakes to the inner wheels during cornering. While the inner wheel is being slowed by the brake action, additional torque is sent to the outer wheel. The automatic braking and torque transfer allow the X1 to rotate quicker on its axis, adding to its sense of nimble performance-oriented handling, the automaker says.
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