Used 2013 BMW X1 Review
Looking for a fun-to-drive small luxury crossover that offers respectable utility along with dimensions that are actually small? Then you need to put the 2013 BMW X1 on your test-drive list. Smaller than its X3 brother but still related to both the 1 Series and 3 Series, the X1 offers the impressive performance you'd rightly expect from such a pedigree. And the X1's notably leaner dimensions -- it's 6.5 inches shorter in length and nearly 5 inches shorter in height than an X3 -- give it a more agile demeanor than its larger and heavier crossover rivals.
Although new to the U.S. market this year, the BMW X1 has been on sale in Europe for more than three years. This entry-level model sports plenty of power, as buyers can choose between a 240-horsepower turbocharged inline-4 engine and a 300-hp turbocharged inline-6 -- the same engines BMW offers for the much heavier X3. Either way, the baby Bimmer manages to be both quick and fuel-efficient. With the four-cylinder engine in place, the X1 gets to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and can deliver an EPA-calibrated 33 mpg. When the inline-6 is the engine of choice, 60 mph appears in 5.3 seconds and 24 mpg highway is the EPA number.
That's all pretty impressive, but the X1 does have a couple drawbacks. As you can likely deduce, the X1's smaller size translates to less interior room, particularly for cargo and rear passengers. It's also worth noting that while the BMW X1 sports an attractive base price, the bottom line can quickly escalate, as most optional features are grouped into expensive option packages.
The BMW X1 falls between smaller, agile crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and larger, more luxurious crossovers like the Audi Q5. You might consider the Acura RDX or Infiniti EX, both of which make driving and passenger comfort top priorities. For more overall practicality, the BMW X3 might be a stronger choice. Overall, we're impressed with the 2013 BMW X1 simply because it effectively combines a useful passenger package with the driving dynamics you expect from a BMW.
performance & mpg
The X1 sDrive (rear-wheel drive) 28i and xDrive (all-wheel drive) 28i are powered by a turbocharged 2.liter inline-4 that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic is standard, as is a stop-start system that shuts off the engine to save fuel during periods when the vehicle is at rest.
According to BMW, the X1 sDrive28i will go from zero to 60 mph in a swift 6.2 seconds, with the all-wheel-drive xDrive version just 0.1 second behind. EPA-estimated fuel economy is impressive at 24 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined for the sDrive, and 22/33/26 for the xDrive.
The X1 xDrive35i gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, matched to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard. In Edmunds testing, the X1 xDrive35i sprinted to 60 mph in a quick 5.8 seconds. The EPA estimates stand at 18/27/21, which is actually better than some less powerful rivals.
Every 2013 BMW X1 comes standard with antilock disc brakes (with automatic brake drying), front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints and stability/traction control and (on xDrive versions) hill descent control. Optional equipment includes front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Also available is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
We've always been huge admirers of BMW's inline-6, but for once, it's not the best choice. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 feels like a perfect match for the X1's nimble character. Although the four isn't quite as smooth or melodious as the six, it could never be described as harsh. The extra gears of the eight-speed transmission make a positive difference in making the most of the small engine's power.
The X1 28i model also benefits from a fuel-saving stop-start feature not seen in the xDrive35i, and although its intended contribution to fuel efficiency is admirable, its operation is not endearing. The engine and steering wheel shudder noticeably when the engine shuts down and again when it automatically refires when your foot moves from the brake pedal to the accelerator. The sensation can be disquieting and annoying, but thankfully you can manually disable this feature if you so choose.
Even without the optional M Sport suspension, the 2013 BMW X1 handles itself well on winding roads. There's a fine balance of low-speed ride comfort and high-speed stability. With its smaller dimensions and lower center of gravity, the X1 feels significantly more agile and responsive than the X3. It never quite replicates the sedan experience -- partly because BMW's 3 Series sedan is so sublime -- but for a crossover, the 2013 X1 is undeniably impressive.
The X1's cabin is typical BMW, meaning clear gauges, sensible ergonomics and solid build and materials quality throughout. BMW's iDrive electronics interface works well for controlling various infotainment and vehicle configuration functions. Like all such systems, it can seem complicated before you acclimate yourself.
Up front, the well-shaped buckets provide proper support, and legroom is generous. The rear seat is a bit flat in comparison (to allow it to fold down somewhat flat), and as expected, legroom for taller adults is a bit tight back there. The driving position is more SUV than sedan. You sit high and peer down the sculptured hood. The wheel is chunky and the elegant dials are instantly familiar.
With the rear seats up, cargo capacity rates 14.8 cubic feet (about the same as a midsize sedan). Fold them down and space opens up to 47.7 cubes.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.