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2013 BMW X1 U.S. Debut: New York Auto Show Preview

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The BMW X1 has already been taking to dirt roads and city centers in many other parts of the world for a while now, but we Americans are going to get our first taste of BMW's smallest crossover at the 2012 New York Auto Show this week.

Coming in the fall of 2012 as a 2013 model, the new X1 gets some of BMW's latest technology and powertrain developments, wrapped in a compact crossover body that's aimed at people and families that don't want or need the excess of a larger SUV.

Under the hood of the U.S.-market X1, you'll find two options: the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in 28i models (available in sDrive rear-wheel-drive form, or xDrive all-wheel drive); and the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder in the 300-horsepower xDrive35i. Both engines are paired with an automatic gearbox, start-stop technology, and brake energy regeneration.

If the X1 shapes up like the new 3-Series has, the xDrive28i model may well be the choice of the group, offering good power and acceleration with impressive fuel economy. BMW hasn't yet released estimated EPA figures for the X1, however.

Pricing, on the other hand, is known: the X1 will start from $31,545 for the sDrive28i; $33,245 for the xDrive28i; and $39,345 for the xDrive35i.

The lower end of those figures undercut midsize offerings from the likes of Acura and other brands, but the upper end steps well into midsize crossover territory--before the addition of a slate of infotainment and other options. BMW is clearly positioning the X1 as a premium compact SUV, whatever else it may be.

2013 BMW X1

2013 BMW X1

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Inside the cabin, where owners will spend their time with the X1, the premium positioning is upheld by electroplated trim for the gearshift lever and center cupholders, chrome trim for other controls, and high-gloss black surrounds for the air vents.

On the outside, the X1 offers styling very similar to the X3, though in somewhat more compact form. The characteristic BMW angel-eyes headlights are present, as is the kidney grille, while crome accent strips and LED accent lighting highlight the X1's sporty/aggressive design. Slight tweaks from the European-market version for reflector placement, design details on the bumpers, and other small touches make the U.S. version unique.

The 2013 BMW X1 will be built in the Leipzig plant in Germany.

For more on the 2013 X1, stay tuned for our live photos from the floor of the New York Auto Show.

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