OK, this is a first. I get my review vehicle for this week and always enjoy going out to see it for the first time and seeing what my initial impression is. So I walk out to take my first close look at the 2013 BMW X1, a vehicle many listeners have asked me about. I was confused. I had the cocked head look, and in my best Scooby Doo voice, said ERR? I wondered, WHAT IS THIS? Is it an SUV, is it a car, is it a hatchback?
Turns out, it is officially an SUV, so once I got past that I could commence with the testing and evaluation of this BMW. My tester is officially named the X1 xDrive28i. BMW does love their letters and numbers in their names, but I digress. As the name suggests, it is based on the 1-series platform, the xDrive tells us it is all-wheel drive, and the 28i-well, I find no correlation to anything. We know the xDrive 28i is the 4-cylinder version, and the xDrive35i is the 6-cylinder version. Both are turbocharged.
This SUV is small, but make no mistake, this is a BMW all the way and it has all the driving characteristics of a BMW. X1 is 6.5 inches shorter, 3.3 inches narrower, and 4.6 inches lower than an X3. It handles great, it rides very well, and the suspension system gives you a real sports car feel. In a rare Dallas snow, I got to test the very capable all-wheel system and it was awesome.
Under the hood, it is 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo producing 240-horses, but feels like more, it is very responsive. The engine is hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission, resulting in very good fuel economy. To aid in the fuel economy, the X1 has the increasingly popular start/stop technology, which kills the engine when stopped, but allows the accessories to continue to run. When you release the brake, the engine starts and you drive away. I will say the transition when starting back up is a little more evident than in other vehicles I have driven, but it’s livable when you consider the resulting gas mileage improvement.
You can load up the X1 with huge array of packages. The one I am driving comes with the Sport Line package, which gives you 18” wheels, sport seats, and aluminum trim inside. It also has the Cold weather package, which has heated steering wheel and heated seats. In addition, it has the Driver Assistance package, which gives you the rear-view camera. Next is the Lighting package which gives you Xenon headlights, ambient lighting and automatic high beam lights. Those total around $4300.
For another $6650, this one has the Ultimate package, which is keyless entry, moonroof, power seats with lumbar support, voice command, real time traffic, navigation system, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. All total, this one has roughly $12,000 worth of options, but I can’t imagine there is anything left you can get on it.
The interior is terrific and it has very comfortable seats. Back seat room would be tight for two adults, but good for children, and the headroom is fine for someone 6’2” or less. You get 25.0 cubic feet of cargo space in the back, much more room than most trunks in smaller cars. If you fold the rear seat down, room increases to 56.0 cubic feet.
The X1 drives and handles great, looks good, and gets super gas mileage. If you want a small, luxury compact SUV, this one is terrific.
What I liked most: The fuel economy and the ride and handling.
What I would change: X1 needs more front seat travel to get really comfortable.
MSRP: $45,595 as equipped.
Fuel Economy: Getting stated mileage, 22 in town, 33 highway and 26 overall.
Warranty: 4 years/50,000 mile bumper to bumper INCLUDING full maintenance, and 4 years of roadside assistance with unlimited mileage.
2013 BMW X1 in a few words: The Ultimate Driving Compact SUV.
Car Pro Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.