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The brand’s smallest SUV is also its least expensive model.

BMW has been talking about bringing its subcompact X1 SUV to America for years, but strong demand in other markets kept the X1 from our shores. Now it’s finally here. Perhaps as compensation for waiting, we’re getting one version you can’t buy elsewhere: the six-cylinder xDrive35i. It comes with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic. Although it’s the quickest X1, it’s also the thirstiest. We prefer the xDrive28i, which uses BMW’s excellent direct-injected, 2.0-liter turbo four. Its 260 lb-ft of torque nearly equal the six-cylinder’s 300 lb-ft, and acceleration to 60 mph is just a tick behind. Auto stop/start helps the 28i achieve better fuel economy in the city, and an eight-speed automatic transmission helps make it more efficient on the highway. There’s a rear-wheel-drive version of the X1, the sDrive28i. It uses the same turbo four and gets even better mileage (33 mpg on the highway). Unfortunately, it alone among the X1 variants has numb, electric power steering, which is anathema to a true BMW. For those who aren’t bothered by that, the sDrive28i is the lowest-priced BMW you can buy — although its standard-equipment list is lacking. Actually, all versions of the X1 are less expensive than equivalent 1-series, which should make the X1 as popular here as it has been elsewhere.


Infiniti EX35

Mercedes-Benz GLK

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new for 2013

The X1 is not an all-new model (it’s been out elsewhere since 2009), but it is brand-new to the U.S. market. It’s smaller than an X3, and it’s the least expensive BMW you can buy, undercutting the 1-series coupe by a couple hundred dollars.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; ABS; a tire-pressure monitor; and hill-descent control are standard. Rear- and sideview cameras and lane-departure warning are available. Xenon adaptive headlamps are included on the 35i and are optional on the 28i. BMW Assist is optional.

High Mileage


CITY 18–24

HWY 27–33


Bargain price

Rear- or four-wheel drive

Expected luxuries are optional


xDrive35i not much cheaper than an X3

Base Price Range: $31,545–$39,345


DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive35i

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 240 hp, 260 lb-ft

3.0L turbo I-6, 300 hp, 300 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6- or 8-speed automatic


CAPACITIES: Towing 3000 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 27.6/63.6 cu ft

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