In BMW-speak, Sports Activity Vehicle or SAV, is the functional equivalent of crossover SUV. BMW's SAVs use car-type unibody structures, feature raised ride heights, and stay true to BMW's core value of excellent handling. The first BMW SAV, the X5, was released as a 2000 model. The second, the X3, debuted as a 2004 model. Starting in early 2011, BMW will add a third SAV, the X1.
The 2011 BMW X1 will be positioned below the X3 in both size and price. With its smaller size, the X1 is sure to be more nimble than the other BMW SUVs. BMW says the X1 will come with high-precision power steering and high-performance brakes.
Like the X3, the X1 will offer seating for five, but it will be about 4.5 inches shorter on a wheelbase about 1.5 inches shorter. Cargo capacity will be 16.8 cubic feet with the 40/20/40 split rear seats up, and 47.3 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
Initially, the 2011 BMW X1 will be offered as one model called xDrive28i. BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system will be standard. The lone engine will be a 3.0-liter inline-6 making 258 horsepower at 6600 rpm and 228 pound-feet of torque at 2600 rpm. BMW says 0 to 60 will arrive in 6.8 seconds. To improve fuel economy, the X1 will feature Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop, and a gearshift point indicator.
Equipment and features are sketchy at this time, but the X1 will come standard with such safety features as six airbags, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, electronic stability control and adaptive brake lights. The X1 has achieved the highest rating of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test, which bodes well for its IIHS and NHTSA crash scores on this side of the pond.
Optional equipment will consist of a Panorama glass roof, Xenon headlights, Adaptive Headlights with a High-Beam Assistant, a USB interface, and Performance Control, which applies brakes on the inside wheels in corners to help rotate the vehicle and give it a sportier character.
It is unclear if BMW's iDrive control interface will be standard, but it will come with models equipped with the optional navigation system. Now easier to use in its fourth generation, iDrive provides a central interface for controlling the entertainment, navigation, communication and climate functions.
Look for the 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i early in 2011. More engine options may follow, including a diesel, and BMW may make a rear-drive model available as well.