It was back in October 2014 when BMW produced the first vehicle at the Araquari Plant, the Group’s first car factory in South America. Since then, the 3 Series has been joined by the X3 and X4, with the smaller X1 crossover now being made in Brazil as well. An xLine version painted in Cape York Green, the first compact crossover from the U11 generation has rolled off the assembly line.
Adding the X1 is part of an investment worth 500 million BRL ($100 million) announced in November 2021. BMW Group plant in Araquari, Santa Catarina has a total area of 1.5 million square meters, of which 112,893 square meters are constructed. It’s the largest car factory from a luxury brand on the continent, hosting all the facilities necessary for bodywork, welding, painting, and assembly.
Initially, BMW will sell the X1 in Brazil exclusively with front-wheel drive and gasoline power. Customers can either go with the base sDrive18i or pay extra for the sDrive20i in xLine or M Sport trim. The entry-level engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline unit with 156 horsepower and 230 Newton-meters (169 pound-feet) of torque while the more potent mill is a 2.0-liter rated at 204 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). Regardless of the engine, the X1 comes only with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
All three versions come as standard with full-LED adaptive headlights while the wheel size depends on the trim level: 18 inches for the sDrive18i, 19 inches for the sDrive20i xLine, and 20 inches for the sDrive20i M Sport. In some markets, customers can opt for an even larger 21-inch set as an M Performance Part upgrade.
Besides Brazil, BMW makes the X1 in Regensburg (Germany) where the fully electric iX1 is also manufactured. This week, it introduced the long-wheelbase version at Auto Shanghai 2023 and will assemble the bigger X1/iX1 in China only for the local market. Later this year, a first-ever M Performance version will be added to the lineup as an M35i model.