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2013 BMW X1 arrives to help U.S. luxury SUV buyers get small

April 4, 2012

BMW's SUV business has never been stronger, and the German luxury automaker wants to stay ahead of rivals Mercedes and Audi with this: the X1, a compact luxury crossover coming to the United States for the first time later this year. Given the demand for all things SUV, and most things with a BMW badge on them, even a $35,000 crossover that's slightly smaller than a Toyota Prius v should do brisk business.

For its American debut at the New York Auto Show, BMW freshened the exterior of the X1, matching the more up-to-date look of the new 3-Series, and gave the interior a minor touch-up. Under the hood, BMW will offer two turbocharged engines, a 240-hp four-cylinder and a 300-hp straight six, both tied to an automatic transmission and stop-start fuel savers. The base X1 can be bought as a rear-wheel-drive only setup with a base sticker price of $31,545, with the top all-wheel-drive version priced at $39,345 -- when it arrives late this year.

BMW didn't release fuel economy figures, but for the moment the market for mini luxury SUVs consists of the X1, the upcoming Buick Encore and...Mini, whose Countryman comes close to the X1 in size and with some crossover in price. Don't be surprised if a few more models arrive by next year.