List: Ten Things We Like About The BMW X1

By Tom Martin

May 20, 2013


1. In urban driving the size is small enough, the steering quick enough, and the suspension taut enough that the car can be used as a 'cut and thrust' vehicle. The turbo four is a willing participant too, though for best response you need to have the transmission in “Sport” mode.


2. The car works well in tight areas like parking garages because of the quick steering combined with a pretty tight turning radius.


3. Our tester had BMW's reverse camera, which is helpful, if not high-res, and the front and rear parking sensors, which are very useful because of BMW's radar display, which shows the position of encroaching objects.


4. The ride height is just about perfect. You sit slightly above where cars normally place you, which gives good visibility, but low enough that you don't have to climb up into the car.


5. Eco Pro mode, which manages shift points and throttle response is the rare Eco setting among cars we've tested that slows the car down but doesn't seem to kill the drive. The engine is kept as very low revs, yet has enough low-end torque that it feels a bit like a diesel.


6. The seats are quite comfortable, reflecting one of BMW’s strengths.


7. The rear seats have enough head and legroom for those over six feet, two inches, at least.


8. The total cargo area with the rear seats folded is large enough for lots of purposes. It won't carry a twin mattress, but will handle a 60-inch LED TV.


9. The ride quality is very well balanced. The ride is firm and well controlled, with limited body roll, but the settings take the edge off urban bumps and expansion joints.


10. The wide torque band of the BMW turbo four (240 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque from 1250 to 4800 rpm) make the car feel responsive and capable in town and on the highway. It doesn't hurt that the X1 xDrive28i weighs 1000 pounds less than many SUVs.

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The BMW X1 is the smallest and least expensive X series car, though some specifics may better communicate the idea of the X1. The car is 176.5 inches long, which makes it six inches shorter than a 3-Series sedan. The X1 with all-wheel drive and a four-cylinder turbo engine weighs 3726 pounds, which is about 300 pounds more than a rear-drive 3-Series sedan with the same power plant. The base price of the X1 is $30,800, though with AWD that figure is $32,500. So, we might say, the X1 is smallish, but not small, and at the lower end of BMW's pricing scale, but not inexpensive.
We've been driving the X1 in our standard daily commuter mode, and here is what stood out as likable qualities.