After several months spent "exploring the possibilities," BMW today confirmed that it will indeed bring its new X1 mini-crossover to America starting sometime in 2011. Set to launch in Europe this fall, the smallest member of BMW's "X" gang displays the same design sensibilities and advanced technologies found in its larger kin. Originally shown in concept form at last year's Paris Auto Salon, the five-passenger X1 was designed to accommodate both rear- and all-wheel drive as well as a number of different powertrain combinations. With its U.S. debut still two years off, BMW has made no comments regarding specific details in either of those key areas. While it has said that Euro-spec X1s will offer a choice of four engines -- including three diesels -- as well as RWD/AWD configurations, the engine menu for the U.S. is rumored to be confined to two gasoline engines, likely variations on the corporate 3.0-liter inline-six in naturally aspirated and turbo form. BMW claims that in addition to its superior driving dynamics, the X1 "will set new benchmarks in the premium compact segment for efficiency, comfort and utility." Making good on that promise includes giving it a full complement of standard safety/security features and cabin amenities like a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat that can be lowered to increase cargo space from 14.7 to 47.3 cu ft as well as an optional Panorama glass roof.
All versions of the X1 also will benefit from BMW's EfficientDynamics engineering strategy, which aims at reducing emissions and fuel consumption while enhancing total performance. In real world terms, that means we can expect to see features like engine-idle start/stop, regenerative braking and a shift-point indicator light. No word how the X1 will be priced when it does go on sale here. However, a starting point in the $33,000-$36,000 range would seem likely.