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Compact crossovers are growing in popularity, so why shouldn’t high-performance variants be part of the craze?
Compact/Subcompact Cars: Toyota Prius IV
Just because a car is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good value. Taking into account the five-year owner cost of a vehicle which factors in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing, sales tax and cost for maintenance and repairs, a better picture is painted on whether or not a vehicle is a good bang for your buck.
Consumer Reports has revealed this year’s best new-car value winners, which also takes into account the publication’s evaluation of the car. The less a vehicle costs to own over time, the better value it is.
Headlining the list is the best value car in the compact/subcompact category, the Toyota Prius IV. The Prius also takes home the accolade of being the best overall value for the second straight year.
According to Consumer Reports, the Prius costs just 47 cents per mile to own over five years. Of course there’s also the fact that the Prius gets 44 mpg overall, offering the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that the publication has ever tested. And though it’s not exactly the cheapest car on the market, its depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over five years than its initial MSRP. The Toyota Prius IV has a starting MSRP of $29,245 including destination.
The X1 has been long awaited to make its American debut since the German automaker announced its delay, due to high demand in the European market. Confirmed is the new TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine powering the BMW X1 with 245-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. We are still hoping that BMW will bring its X1 M35i xDrive to America.
The third generation M6 is powered by a new M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine with 560-hp with a seven-speed M-DCT transmission. The 6 Series Gran Coupe will also arrive early this summer to American dealerships.
GALLERY: BMW X1 xDrive28i
Complete details are scarce, but it appears that the X1 xDrive28i will make its way to Stateside sporting BMW’s new TwinPower Turbo 2.0L four-cylinder engine with 245-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The X1 has been a hot seller out in Europe, which was the reason for its initial delay over to America. The German automaker wanted to ensure that its supply would match demand before bringing the X1 over to another market.
If all goes well, the X1 xDrive28i could pave the way to our first M Performance Automobile here in America, in the form of the X1 M35i xDrive.
GALLERY: BMW X1 xDrive28i
The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
The BMW X1 is Europe’s best selling all-wheel drive vehicle, and due to that strong demand, Americans have been denied the privilege of seeing it on our shores. But now rumor has it that the BMW X1 M35i xDrive will make its way to America as the first M Performance vehicle for our consumption.
It has already been confirmed that we won’t be getting any of the already announced M Performance Diesel vehicles, but the X1 M35i xDrive would certainly be an acceptable consolation prize. And since the upcoming BMW M135i won’t be coming to America anytime soon, it certainly makes sense that the German automaker would find the X1 M35i the perfect vehicle to launch the M Performance brand in the US.
The X1 M35i xDrive will feature the same 320-hp performance seen in the M135i Sporthatch that will be making its way to Europe shortly. Along with that, the X1 will get an M-tuned chassis, reworked suspension, refreshed aerodynamic package, and M-specific wheels. It will easily become the flagship model for the X1 if and when it makes it to America.
Hopefully this rumor will pan out in being true, since America is certainly hungry to get their hands on some M Performance models.
GALLERY: BMW X1 with M Package
Despite the fact that it’s available in Canada, BMW‘s U.S. arm has said that due to high demand in Europe and a relatively week U.S. Dollar/Euro exchange rate, it has decided to postpone introduction of the X1 south of the 49th Parallel.
The baby crossover was initially slated to arrive at U.S. dealers sometime in 2010, though now the earliest it will likely surface here is sometime in 2013 after it receives a mid-life freshening.
“Global demand for the X1 is still extremely strong in markets where our volume potential is high for this type of vehicle,” said a BMW executive. “Here in the US, the X3 is and likely will continue to be our volume (crossover).”
So, for those U.S. motorists who want their own X1 before anybody else, in the meantime, there’s only one solution; head North.
GALLERY: BMW X1
[Source: Inside Line]
When BMW‘s X1 luxury crossover model does finally arrive here, it will come equipped with the company’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Making power roughly similar to the inline six-cylinder currently used in cars like the 3 Series, expect it to use the 28i or xDrive28i badge.
Power will be rated at around 240-hp and an impressive 260 lb-ft of torque and this engine will be the base offering for the X1 range says BMW representative Dave Buchko, suggesting that a more potent offering (perhaps a 300-hp X1 xDrive35i) is also in the works. With that output, look for a 7.4 second 0-60 mph time for rear-drive models and a 7.8 second time for AWD ones.
What isn’t yet clear is if BMW will offer a diesel 4-cylinder model currently available in Europe, making 163-hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. A new, less-potent 2.0-liter, has just been introduced in Europe making 184-hp and 199 lb-ft of torque.
Look for the X1 to arrive some time in early 2012.
BMW has regularly attended the RETTmobil show and this year is no different with the German automaker planning to showcase a variety of custom vehicles at the annual emergency services expo.
This year, BMW will be highlighting an iDrive integration system, allowing a 5-Series Touring model to have its lights and sirens controlled directly by the same system BMW owners use to operate everything from the navigation to the radio. In addition, the 5-Series Touring will feature a uniquely-designed floor extension that allows emergency responders to access their equipment.
Joining the 5-Series Touring model will be BMW’s X1, X3 and 3-Series Touring all of which will be sporting the traditional Notarzt graphic scheme seen on German emergency response vehicles. See them all in the gallery below.
GALLERY: BMW RETTmobil 2011 Emergency Vehicles
BMW will expand its Chinese joint venture with local automaker Brilliance, in an effort to build 300,000 cars per year in China. BMW’s joint venture near Beijing currently builds the 3-Series and 5-Series, and will add the X1 crossover in 2012.
Plans call for new factories dedicated to vehicle assembly, stamping and a paint shop. These plants will be good for an additional 200,000 units according to BMW.
With China now serving as BMW’s third largest market, expanding domestic production makes sense for the brand, with BMW Chaiman Norbert Reithofer noting that “BMW vehicles are very popular in China. We anticipate that this growth will continue in the future.”
[Source: Inside Line]
With the extreme popularity of the BMW X1 crossover within Europe, sales in the United States have been delayed until the end of 2012. The X1 was formally launched in Europe in November 2009 and was initially planned to launch in the US earlier this year.
The delay has been caused by the Leipzig plant, which can barely keep up with European orders. Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW exlplained that the X1 “was always going to be a niche vehicle” in the United States with expected sales of less than 5,000 units.
The X3 appears to be appealing to American buyers due to its increased size, selling 5,710 cars in the first quarter alone, compared to just over 6,000 for the whole of 2010. X3 sales peaked at 34,000 in 2004, and O’Donnell expects sales of 25,000 for this year. “It is very hot–and hot all over the world,” O’Donnell said. “My only risk is they may divert units to China and Germany.”
BMW is offering the X1 in several different four cylinder engines in both gas and diesel options. The gas engines include the xDrive28i (245hp) and sDrive18i (150hp). The diesel engine comes in four different configurations: sDrive18d, xDrive18d, sDrive20d and xDrive20d. The most powerful diesel engine will have 177hp. The X1 will be offered in either a 6 speed manual transmission or an eight speed automatic transmission.
While Audi’s plans for the U.S. market originally did not include the compact Q3 crossover, but Audi is re-considering the decision to not import the car after seeing the segment expand with offerings like the MINI Countryman, BMW X1 and the Nissan Juke.
While the Q5 starts at $35,200, Audi would likely have to price it closer to the MINI Countryman which retails between $21,650 and $26,950. A sub-$30,000 price tag might be uncomfortable for Audi and its positioning as a premium brand, but with the small crossover segment growing, it could be a chance for Audi to increase their overall volume in North America.
The Q3 would likely be powered by the corporate 2.0T engine, with the possibility of a 2.0L TDI diesel engine as well. The diesel offering could allow the Q3 to stake out a niche within the segment, and remain consistent with Audi’s overall diesel strategy.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Audi has released a number of sketches showing their forthcoming Q3 crossover, based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, that will serve as an entry-level vehicle for the brand.
The Q3 is unlikely to come to North America, but its unveiling at the Shanghai Auto Show should give a clue as to where Audi anticipates a fair portion of sales to come from. Its main rival, the BMW X1, is notable for being rear-drive-based as opposed to the Q3′s front-drive underpinnings, but nobody buying this car will notice or care which wheels are being driven.
Styling-wise, the Q3 looks about the same as every Audi on the market today, while the Tiguan’s lineup of gasoline and diesel 4-cylinders will provide some oomph.
Gallery: Audi Q3 Sketches
Purists may scoff at the 4-door MINI Countryman and its betrayal of “brand values”, but BMW’s bean counters are laughing all the way to the bank as the company credits the newest MINI with helping profits surge 15-fold in 2010. BMW’s net income was recorded at 3.23 billion euros in 2010, up from 210 million euros in 2009.
BMW also credited increased demand for the 5-Series, particularly in China, as well as the new X1 crossover. The launch of the re-designed X3 and 6-Series should help BMW deliver a record 1.5 million vehicles in 2011.
The thought of a front-drive BMW was inconceivable less than 5 years ago, but the Bavarian luxury car maker appears to be planning an onslaught of front-drive models for launch by 2016, including a couple crossovers, a sports car and a new compact.
The first front-driver will be a 1 Series GT, another pointless crossover, but one that BMW evidently feels earns a spot in its lineup. The silver lining is that it will share a platform with the wonderful MINI Clubman, giving it excellent dynamics even if its technically a “downmarket” car. More intriguing is the BMW Z1, a compact roadster that would mimic the Lotus Elan of the early 1990′s by sending power to the front via a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
A compact, as well as the next generation 1-Series will likely follow suit, since 1-Series drivers apparently don’t know or care about which wheels are being driven. Naturally, a whole new range of MINIs will follow, including an all-new variant said to be the size of the original Mini Cooper.
[Source: Inside Line]
BMW has always been known for their trademark inline-6 engines, but the recent industry-wide trend of downsizing has led to BMW adopting turbocharged four-cylinder engines as an alternative to smaller, naturally aspirated I6 engines in the name of efficiency.
First to get the turbo-4 treatment is the X1 small crossover, although Jim O’Donnell, head of BMW USA, said that more are on their way. Likely candidates for this engine are the 3-Series and Z4, whose rivals, like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, SLK and Audi A4 and A5 already offer a turbo 4-cylinder as the base engine. The X3 could also be a candidate, as Audi’s Q5 shares the same 2.0T engine and doesn’t seem to fare any worse than its 6-cylinder siblings.
Expect an announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. With the X1 hitting 60 mph in about 6 seconds while returning a smidge under 30 mpg on the European highway cycle, we’re pretty optimistic that these new BMW four-bangers will be just fine.
BMW has just announced a new turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplant that will first appear in the BMW X1. Replacing the current 3.0-liter straight-six overseas, it will be found under the hood when the X1 hits dealers in North America.
The new TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine displaces just 2.0-liter but makes 245-hp at 5000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at just 1250 rpm. To achieve this result the engine uses BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve control system, as well as a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct-injection.
Compared to the old 3.0-liter straight-six, the turbo-four makes 13 fewer horsepower, but 30 more ft-lbs of torque. BMW claims an improvement of 0.7 seconds to 62 mph with the manual and 0.3 seconds with the automatic, resulting in a very impressive 6.1 second (or 6.5 second) 0-62 mph time.
Along with improved performance, the TwinPower Turbo 4-banger also gets improved fuel economy, with BMW claiming a 4.8-mpg improvement to 29.8-mpg. (On the European test cycle).
Set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the N20 engine is likely to find it’s way under the hood of numerous new Bimmers, including the 3 Series, X3, Z4 and even the 5 Series.
Get AutoGuide’s 2011 Geneva Auto Show preview here.
GALLERY: BMW X1 xDrive28i
Official release after the jump: