Just a few weeks ago, the new entry level Sports Activity Vehicle from BMW, X1, made its debut in Europe. Those of us that live in the U.S. would have to wait until 2011 to see the X1. Automobile magazine Autoweek shares with us their impression of this car that BMW has high hopes for.
“BMW has been spectacular in its reinvention during the past decade. It moved away from traditional volume-selling models, often becoming the first European luxury-car maker to enter important new market niches–much to the chagrin of Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which have attempted to follow its lead.
But if you thought BMW had every luxury niche covered, think again. With the arrival of the X1, it has become the first European luxury-car maker to make a compact SUV, setting up a likely sales battle against class favorites such as the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V and, from the Europe perspective, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Ford Kuga.
Slotting beneath the X3–which will grow in size, performance, features and price when a U.S.-built, second-generation model arrives next year–the X1 represents another part of BMW’s plan to achieve more than 2 million sales annually by 2020. It isn’t set to reach North American showrooms until mid-2011, 18 months after it goes on sale in Europe but ahead of the planned arrival of rivals such as the upcoming Audi Q3, Range Rover LRX and Mercedes BLK.
The exterior shape of the X1 was first revealed on a lightly veiled concept at the 2008 Paris motor show. The new four-door follows the BMW trend toward taut surfacing, edgy detailing and provocative shutline architecture. The smallest of BMW’s X-cars is slightly shorter and narrower but taller than the 3-series Touring, the wagon version of BMW’s most popular model, with which the X1 shares its 108.7-inch wheelbase and much of its mechanical hardware, engines included.”