With most of today's so-called compact SUVs bulking up to the size of yesterday's midsizers, finding a truly small crossover SUV can be a bit of a challenge, especially in the premium brand arena. But now that BMW has brought the X1 to the United Sates, there is now a truly compact luxury sport crossover.
The BMW X1 may be lean, but its fun-to-drive personality is certainly plus-sized. Nearly 7 inches shorter in length and 5 inches shorter in height than its "compact" X3 sibling, the X1 also weighs about 400 pounds less and sports the same muscular engine choices. This imbues it with nimble handling and quick acceleration. The main downsides are that there's not much cargo space and a potentially high price. But overall the BMW X1 makes a great alternative for sport sedan enthusiasts who'd like more utility than the sedan body style offers.
Current BMW X1 Specs
Introduced for 2013, the BMW X1 is offered in three trim levels that correspond to engine choice and whether it is rear-wheel drive ("sDrive") or all-wheel drive ("xDrive"). Thus there are the sDrive28i, xDrive28i and xDrive35i.
The 28i versions come with a turbocharged 2.0 liter inline-4 that generates 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 35i packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic is standard for the four-cylinder, while the 35i's six-cylinder is matched to a six-speed automatic.
Standard feature highlights of the 28i versions include 17-inch wheels, automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, Bluetooth and a sound system with a CD player, HD radio and an iPod/USB interface. The xDrive35i adds 18-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof and eight-way power front seats. Most options are bundled in packages whose highlights include keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a rearview camera. There's also a trio of "Design Lines" as well as the M Sport Line which add various cosmetic and performance-enhancing features.
In BMW X1 reviews we found the turbo-4 and eight-speed automatic a perfect match for the X1's nimble character. There's always plenty of power on tap, and the 28i versions benefit from a fuel-saving stop-start feature not seen in the xDrive35i. Even without its optional M Sport suspension, the X1, thanks to its smaller dimensions and lower center of gravity, feels significantly more agile and responsive than BMW's X3. Despite its sporty demeanor, the X1 also provides a fairly compliant, if slightly firm, ride that should please most folks looking for a compact SUV with the personality of a sport sedan.
Although rear seat room is close to that of the X3, the baby Bimmer offers only 47.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity -- the price paid for its smaller, more maneuverable footprint and shorter stature. Furthermore, although the BMW X1's base price is very attractive, it rapidly inflates should you check off just a few of the expensive option packages.
Read the most recent 2015 BMW X1 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used BMW X1 page.