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First Drive 2013 BMW X1 xDrive25d By Henny Hemmes

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2013 BMW x1 xDrive 25d

SEE ALSO: BMW Buyers Guide

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

GARCHING, Germany, June 27, 2012. It has lasted a while before BMW made the definite announcement of the date of the US market introduction of the X1. Originally the X1 was planned for arrival early 2012, but the BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany, could barely made enough of the X1. Since its market launch by the end of 2009, nearly 300,000 units have been sold worldwide.

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Its popularity in China is so high, that the X1 for the Chinese market will be built in the recently opened plant in Tiexi, in the province of Shenyang. For the time being BMW will build the model destined for North America in Leipzig.

Last year at the Detroit Auto Show, BMW said to expect to bring the X1 to the US at the very earliest in the fourth quarter of 2011. Later, this was pushed forward to fall 2012 and confirmed during the world debut of the renewed X1 at the New York Auto Show.

The sales success alone is not enough to keep buyers interested in BMW’s smallest X-model, that up till now does not share the looks of the X3 and X5. With a face lift, the 2013 model has been updated and with its new nose with wider kidneys, now shares the modern look of its larger siblings. Other details of the refreshed body are redesigned headlights and mirrors with integrated turn signals.

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The interior of the X1 has been updated with a slightly restyled center console. But, to be honest, even though the quality of the materials is improved, the ‘dog nose’ (as my Australian colleague/co driver calls it) surface of the dashboard and the grain of the leather look a bit dated. As you may expect in a modern BMW, the ergonomics are top, seat comfort is excellent and there is enough room for five passengers and nearly 15 cu-ft. of luggage. For the first time BMW offers two lines for the X1: the xLine (xDrive) and Sport Line (rear wheel drive), while enthusiast may opt for an M Sport Package.

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In Europe, we have a choice of 3 petrol engines: sDrive 18i and the 20i as both sDrive and xDrive, while the 28i is only available as xDrive. The diesel comes as sDrive 16d , s- or xDrive18d and 20d and xDrive25d. The X1 has already EfficientDynamics technologies, such as brake energy regeneration and now the 28i models also get Eco Pro mode with Start Stop.

New is also the availability of the 8-speed automatic transmission.

In the US, there will be to versions: the rear-wheel drive sDrive28i with the 240 hp 2-liter Twin Power Turbo four-cylinder engine. The all-wheel drive xDrive35i with the 300 hp 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine is exclusive to the North American market. The 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine is teamed to a 6-speed Steptroninc automatic transmission, that delivers the torque, with a max of 300lb-ft to the wheels. The xDrive 35i sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and BMW estimates an EPA mileage of 21 mpg combined.

New diesel engine
This week, the 2013 X1 was available for the first test drives near BMW’s headquarters in Munich. Much to the regret of my fellow correspondents and myself, we could only drive the new xDrive25d. We would have liked to have a short stint in one of the petrol models, as the new diesel engine will not be offered in the US. No such luck, because the Leipzig plant starts production of the petrol versions in the first week of July.

So we took the wheel of one of the xDrive25d models, all painted Valencia orange, which is one of the new colors that BMW is offering for the 2013 X1. Midnight blue, Mineral silver and Silver metallic are also new. So far, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe had the exclusive ‘rights’for the orange, but from now on the M6 and soon the X1 can be seen in this flashy color.

BMW did not change suspension of the X1, that is built on the former 3 Series (E91) platform and proves to be well fit to deal with the top diesel’s 218 hp and 332 foot-pounds of torque. Here in Europe, we love diesel engines and this new one make no exception. It uses less fuel compared to the 23d in the outgoing model. BMW gives a mileage for the X1 xDrive 25d of 5,5 liter/100 km (Eu cycle), or 42.7 mpg.

The suspension is stiff, especially noticeable on the speed bumps and cobblestones, at higher speed is well balanced and provides a confident feel and you do not get in trouble when you drive quickly in the corners.

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On the Autobahn you do not hear much of the engine, but you do at higher speeds, which in most countries make the department of finance very happy. When driving within speed limits (50 mph on the two lane country roads), there is some wind noise, though that’s not so exceptional in a nearly 61 inches high car.

If the suspension setting will be different for the models that are exported to North America is not known. We will have to wait to test drive them later. Please stay tuned to The Auto Channel for more news in this respect.

The 2013 BMW X1 will arrive in the fall. Prices start at $ 31,545 for the BMW sDrive 28i. and $ 33,245 for the xDrive 28i.. The xDrive 35i starts at $ 39,345. (All prices including 545 $ 895 destination and handling.)