At roughly 14.5 feet long, 5.8 feet wide, and 5 feet tall, the X1 measures several inches shorter, skinnier, and narrower than the X3 -- the smallest SAV the automaker currently produces. In fact, the X1 is just over 1 inch wider, 3 inches longer and 4 inches taller than the 128i, with a wheelbase exactly 4 inches longer than the compact sports coupe. Needless to say, this is not a large vehicle.

The X1's interior layout stays true to current BMW design theory, with well-placed controls and high-quality materials. Of course, small exterior dimensions translate to less interior space and subsequently, less cargo volume -- a defining point for the segment. BMW says the X1 has 14.7 cubic-feet of usable cargo area with the rear seats upright. Rear seats folded flat, that figure increases to a more useable 47.3 cubic-feet.

BMW offers the X1 in either sDrive rear- or xDrive all-wheel drive versions, with a variety of engines to choose from. In Europe, the initial powertrain range will feature just a single gasoline engine for the all-wheel drive model -- a range-topping 258-hp 3.0L straight-six. BMW claims a 6.8-sec 0 to 62 mph sprint for the gasoline-powered X1 xDrive23i, along with combined fuel economy of 25 mpg.

As with most of BMW's lineup, the optional equipment list is quite extensive. Bi-Xenon headlamps are available, as is a panoramic sunroof, leather sports seats, a storage package, tow hitch, roof rails, automatic climate control, a Pro Logic 7 Hi-Fi stereo, BMW iDrive/navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and a rear-view backup camera.

BMW will bring its X1 to European showrooms this fall, while U.S. buyers will have to wait until early 2011 to park one in their garage. BMW has not finalized engine choices for the U.S. market, but it's a good bet that the six-cylinder xDrive23i will be on the list, and a diesel-powered option is a possibility.