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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 BMW X1

Munich, Germany – It’s a good thing the 2013 X1 35i has tie-down floor straps in the hatch, because with the much-loved 300-hp, 300 lb-ft 3.0L turbo-six under its hood, this compact crossover has what it takes to make quick work of a few loose grocery bags.

Coinciding with the launch of the BMW X1 in the US, the six-cylinder version of BMW’s popular SAV (sport activity vehicle in BMW parlance) joins our 241-hp 2.0L turbo-four model that has been on sale here for over a year. And aren’t we lucky, as North America is the only market where this hot-rod all-wheel-drive 35i is sold.

First Drive: 2013 BMW X1 35i luxury cars first drives bmw
2013 BMW X1 35i. Click image to enlarge

I’m not sure how many of us pragmatic Canadians will pony up the extra money over the four-cylinder 28i model, as that car’s excellent fuel economy, quick shifting ZF eight-speed auto and eager engine make for an appealing combo. But if you’re into dusting off just about every other crossover on the road with the aid of one of the finest six-cylinder engines money can buy, well, your chariot awaits.

Pricing for the X1 35i has yet to be announced, but the current X1 28i starts at $38,500, and when looking at the 3 Series sedan, the upgrade from four to six cylinders costs $7,600.

We’ll see the 2013 BMW X1 35i in September, and the features from this X1’s mid-cycle refresh will also be found on the 2013 X1 28i. There are some styling tweaks, auto start-stop, brake energy regeneration, and an Eco Pro mode that modifies HVAC function for more efficiency and coaches a fuel-friendly driving style.

The X1 35i only comes with a six-speed auto, and while it’s not as slick as the four-cylinder’s eight-speed ZF, this engine has such a broad torque curve that six cogs seems just fine. The US-spec cars we drove were fitted with the M Sport Package that adds a sports suspension, 18-inch wheels with summer tires, an algorithm that sends 80 percent of the torque to the rear wheels when cornering, M aero body bits, and various trim upgrades.  Over the smooth German roads the X1 35i felt secure and poised, with hot-rod acceleration and a lovely soundtrack just an ankle-flex away. BMW claims a 0 to 100 km/h dash of 5.6 seconds.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).