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2012 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review

Since luxury brands are popular right now, is it safe to assume that any vehicle BMW slaps a propeller badge on will sell like hotcakes? No, it isn’t. It all depends on how far you’re willing to push the envelope in creating vehicle categories no one really asked for. Case in point: People are probably still scratching their heads trying to figure out what a 5 Series Gran Turismo is.

BMW X1 xDrive28i 2012 vue 3/4 arrière
For Canada, the X1 crossover (pardon, Sports Activity Vehicle or SAV in BMW-speak) seems to be just right. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/

If a vehicle is the right size and priced smartly, customers will flock from every direction. For Canada, the X1 crossover (pardon, Sports Activity Vehicle or SAV in BMW-speak) seems to be just right. We like quality products, we don’t buy large quantities of big vehicles and our environmentally friendly consciousness prevents most of us from driving around in gas guzzlers.

A little truck
The X1 is about as small as a BMW “truck” can get. To put its size into perspective, I parked it alongside a Dodge Caliber, and besides about 2 inches of extra width for the Bimmer, their dimensions were very similar. Don’t worry, the comparison with the Dodge stops here.

It’s also pretty close in size to BMW’s own 3 Series Touring wagon, with which it shares its wheelbase. The latter may soon be retired from the Canadian lineup (we think) and it’s all the X1’s fault.

Actually, it may be our own fault. While we’re buying only a few Tourings a month, the X1 is selling very well. So well, in fact, that for the last few months, it’s been outselling every other X model in BMW’s portfolio, including the brand new X3.

Turbo 4-pot
The X1 marks the return of 4-cylinder engines for BMW in our country, and more will follow under the hood of the Z4, the 3 Series and the 5 Series. And before you conjure up memories of that 170-horsepower, 2.3-litre 4-banger in the Z3 way back in 2000, know that the X1’s engine is much more potent.

BMW X1 xDrive28i 2012 vue côté gauche
The X1 is currently selling better than the other X models in BMW’s lineup. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour/