The BMW X1 is a compact luxury crossover that seeks to blend diminutive dimensions with the luxury and performance associated with the blue roundel automaker. The X1 actually launched in other global markets in 2010, but strong sales meant BMW simply didn't have the production capacity to make examples for the U.S. until now.
The X1 that recently launched in America is actually a mildly facelifted, mid-cycle update of the X1. Outside, its design has been lightly reworked from the debut model to be a bit more aggressive, although it is still clearly a BMW crossover that looks like a 7/8ths-scale X3 from most angles. More body-color painted accents make the refreshed model stand out a bit more, while new headlamps and available LED accent lighting (included with the Xenon light package) bring the X1's look in line with the rest of BMW's lineup.
Inside, the X1 is similarly updated with some enhanced materials and additional chrome touches. While modern and luxurious, the overall design doesn't break much new ground given that the X1 was launched about three years ago. BMW's familiar switchgear, including its iDrive interface and its automatic transmission joystick, are included.
Measuring just 175 inches from head to toe, the X1 is BMW's smallest crossover. Although the rear seat area is a bit small, cargo room checks in at a healthy 14.8 cubic feet. A 40:20:40 split-folding rear seatback can be lowered to increase luggage capacity from to 47.6 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The X1's powertrains mirror those of its X3 big brother. These include, BMW's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (X1 sDrive28i and xDrive28i) and 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder (xDrive35i) will be offered. The four puts out 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the U.S. market-exclusive six is rated at 300 ponies and 300 lb-ft of twist. To save gas, the sDrive28i is equipped with an automatic start/stop function and standard rear-wheel drive, resulting in fuel efficiency of 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Both the xDrive28i and xDrive35i feature all-wheel-drive and are rated at 22/30 mpg and 18/27 mpg, respectively.
Let's Talk Tech, Features
To keep picky customers cozy in any weather condition, the automatic climate control system offers a choice of five different climate control modes. The standard audio system includes six speakers, a CD drive and an AUX-IN connection for external audio devices.
Optionally, MP3 players and other data or music storage devices can be integrated in the in-car entertainment system via a USB interface system.
BMW X1 models equipped with the Business or Professional navigation system also feature the new-generation iDrive operating system with center console-mounted controller and direct selection buttons, functional bookmark buttons below the climate control panel and either a 6.5- or 8.8-inch Control Display.
Of course, it wouldn't be a modern BMW without a wide range of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive.
To supplement the optional sensor-equipped Park Distance Control system, one can also add an optional rear-view camera. BMW ConnectedDrive also offers in-car internet access and innovative solutions for the integration of smartphones and external music players.
BMW has expanded its new "Line" (read: trim level) strategy, first seen on the new 3-Series, to the X1 with three new options: X Line, Sport Line and M Sport Line.
The X Line brings undertray elements for the front and rear fascias, side-skirt covers, matte-finish air-intake and kidney-grille slats and 18-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels. The interior is upgraded with a leather-wrapped multifunction sport steering wheel and copper-colored trim, while Nevada Leather upholstery and matte-wood trim is optional.
The Sport Line brings air intakes and kidney grille slats in high-gloss black, black-chrome tailpipe finishers and 18-inch double-spoke alloys in addition to the xLine's undertray and side-skirt elements. The cabin benefits from sports seats, a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel and gearshift lever with red stitching and black high-gloss interior trim with optional aluminum accents.
Those who enjoy spirited driving should opt for the M Sport Line, which adds a sport suspension, 18-inch M double-spoke wheels, an M Aero kit, shadowline trim and high-gloss roof rails. The cabin gains sport seats, an M sport steering wheel, Dark Aluminum or Light Fineline wood trim and an anthracite headliner.
Other optional feature bundles include the the Cold Weather package, Lighting package and Premium package. The Driver Assistance package, Premium package and Technology package can be ordered together as the Ultimate package.
Safety features on the X1 include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. Optional safety features are plentiful, including: adaptive headlights with cornering lights, high-Beam Assistant, park distance control, rear-view camera, cruise control with auto-braking, and automatic/advanced emergency call in the event of an accident.
The X1 has compact premium crossover segment completely to itself. Possible alternatives include slightly larger (and much more costly) models such as the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class and the Range Rover Evoque Five-door.