steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
edited August 2012 in BMW
Talk about the new BMW X1 here.



  • carfan28carfan28 Member Posts: 43

    This fall, BMW is introducing a car for those who are unhappy with the growth of the 3-series sedan—six inches longer in the past two generations alone. It’s called the X1 and it’s about the same length as the 2003 3-series, yet is more spacious, more useful, and more luxurious.

    From a Car, Like a Car

    Yes, the X designation suggests that it’s an SUV—or SAV for Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW vernacular—but it’s not really. For one thing, the X1 is only 60.8 inches high. That’s at least five inches shorter than most compact SUVs and no taller than the likes of a Ford Taurus or a Suzuki SX4. For another, the X1 is the first BMW X model available in a rear-drive version. From behind the wheel, this X1 drives like a nimble hatchback with a slightly higher seating position.

    The hardware has great DNA, as the X1 is derived from the 1-series model we have in America, which is closely related to the last-generation (E90) 3-series. That means a solid structure, first-rate suspension design, and excellent powertrains.

    The X1 comes as the sDrive28i or xDrive28i with BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo four with 240 hp, or as the xDrive35i with the 300-hp turbo 3.0-liter six (North America is the only market where the X1 gets this bigger engine). Unfortunately, no manual transmission is available, and you can only get rear drive with the four-cylinder. But the four’s automatic is the superb eight-speed ZF unit that we have universally praised in its other BMW applications; the xDrive35i offers only a six-speed automatic transmission.

    Biding Its Time

    The X1 actually was introduced in Germany a couple of years ago (we drove one then) and we are getting a face-lifted version that is very likeable. The interior is richer than we get in American 1-series cars—at least as nice as that of the last-generation 3-series. The materials are high quality, the textures and colors are tasteful, and everything is assembled flawlessly. The premium sense is reinforced by a structure that felt rock solid on the Bavarian roads near BMW headquarters in Munich, and the cabin was hushed even at 100 mph.

    While you do sit a couple inches higher in the X1 than in a BMW sedan, the driving position still feels more carlike than trucklike. Brake feel is superb and the steering precision and weighting are very good, even on the rear-drive model that uses an electrically assisted rack. Moreover, the 2.0-liter turbo/eight-speed automatic combo motivates the X1 effortlessly. Both four-cylinder models should require a bit over six seconds to reach 60, and BMW is estimating about 24 mpg on the EPA city cycle and 33 on the highway with the four-cylinder and rear-wheel drive. At the other end of the economy spectrum, the xDrive35i is projected to achieve ratings of 18/27 mpg.

    Matters of Size

    At 6.5 inches shorter, 3.3 inches narrower, and 4.6 inches lower than an X3, the X1 gives up some space. But the front compartment has generous leg- and headroom and plenty of shoulder room for all but outlying adults. The rear seat offers plenty of head- and shoulder room for two adults, but kneeroom is on the tight side, recalling that 2003 328i. And the combination of the narrow cabin and the large driveline tunnel makes the middle position fairly useless.

    Perhaps the best way to view the X1 is as a 1-series five-door hatchback, reconstituted in a shape designed to appeal to Americans. While this is obvious pandering, at least this faux SUV is well-packaged, relatively efficient, and good to drive. In fact, it drives very much like a BMW car. With base prices ranging from $31,545 for an sDrive28i to $39,345 for an xDrive35i, the X1 likely will find plenty of takers.


    So how does the X1 drive? The xDrive 35i does seem to accelerate like one of those dangerous over-engined sleds from the '60s, but without the danger. Funny thing is, eight-speed gearing and probably 300 pounds less weight make up for a good bit of the sDrive 28i's 60-hp/45-lb-ft output deficit, making the acceleration lag feel like a whole lot less than the one second claimed by BMW (5.3 vs. 6.2). Our rear-driver also benefited from the M Sport package, and so felt perhaps a bit better buttoned-down, but still eager to understeer at the limit, and those limits were less clearly enunciated through the helm of the sDrive 28i, because that's the only model to which electric power steering can be fitted. The all-wheel-drive system crowds the electric motor, so all X1 xDrive models get BMW's sublime hydraulic-assist steering -- an endangered species to be protected and fostered. The six sounds sublime and has no detectable boost lag, but its aging six-speed is slower to shift and less engaging than the rapid-fire ZF eight-speed, which keeps the little N20 humming near its sweet spot. That's why we're guessing the slightly heavier xDrive28i might actually be the X1 to lust after. Couple xDrive with the M Sport package, and it gets a special performance programming algorithm that sends 80 percent of the torque to the rear during cornering, with a bit of braking to the inside wheel shunting torque outward to help rotate the car and ward off the understeer we felt in the rear-driver.

    Both models of the X1 we tested hugged Germany's pristine Gorilla Glass-smooth roads with admirable body-motion control, but the non M-Sport all-season Pirelli P7 Cinturatos wailed like an eliminated "American Idol" contestant -- most unbecoming of an Ultimate Driving Machine. Because we were in Germany and we could, we ran the M Sport version with the high-speed tires up to its 149-mph limit and found it a bit light and wandery as perhaps too much air was crowding in under that 7-inch ground clearance.

    When you see the X1 around other crossovers and SUVs, its significantly lower roofline makes it hard to imagine it as any sort of off-roader, although its superior ground clearance means it might get farther away from help than its subcompact cute-ute brethren before it gets stuck. Of course, if we can all agree nobody's going off-road, maybe the burning question facing would-be Bimmer owners in the showroom is "X1 or 328i Sports Wagon?" The Wangers musclecar fans will have to go for the 35i's 13 lb/hp setup. The auto journalist will always opt for the low-cg wagon. Probably the young BMW aspirant will be delighted with the $31,545 X1.


    So you'd love a small BMW but don't like the 1-series' impractical coupe body? You fancy yourself young and sophisticated and would buy a 135i if you could just get it in chic hot-hatch form? Well, we have good news: come this fall, you can get a subcompact 1-series hatchback with either four- or six-cylinder firepower. Even better news: it's cheaper than the 1-series coupe.

    Here's the catch:
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Too small? Too pricey?
  • andym444andym444 Member Posts: 1
    One thing i dont understand is why the big difference in global pricing of the bmw x1. The entry level here in Philippines (sdrive 18i) is about $70k! I wonder if our tax here is 100%...I got mine for about $80k and its not even as powerful as your 28d in the U.S. Mine is the sDrive 18dMSport...I envy you guys...
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I don't know how our costs of living compare, but that's a big number - easily twice what MSRP here is in US dollars.
  • michrodzmichrodz Member Posts: 2

    We recently test drove a new 2014 BMW X1 sDrive 28i and after a short drive, a strong smell was coming out of the exhaust like burnt tire. This car had 22 miles on it, so I want to think it is nothing related to the engine; any ides what the smell could have been? Thanks.

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