2016 BMW X1 new car reviews

We recently got a chance to spend some time with the BMW X1 xDrive28i. This is the newest, smallest and least expensive of BMW‘s Sports Activity line of vehicles.

Other staff views

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard

With a curb weight of some 3600 pounds and a $34,800 base price, there is nothing really small about the X1. Still, we found this MINI based, transverse engine, essentially front wheel drive BMW to be totally enchanting.

While perhaps all wrong by BMW standards to have a car be primarily front wheel drive, equipped only with an 8-speed automatic transmission and be powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, this is a very compelling vehicle for a huge segment of people.

Outside we liked the styling, and the shear practicality of the X1. It is easy to get in and out of, has room in the back seat and room behind the back seat. BMW claims a best in class, cargo capacity of 58.7 cubic feet.

Inside, we fund typical BMW interior quality with (optional) leather seating surfaces and a typically BMW taught layout of controls. Niceties like sunroof, decent stereo with Sirius XM and Bluetooth capability were all there as well.

On the road, we love BMW’s 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo engines. They claim this one is all new, yet again and it is said to have 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque. Bottom line, this drivetrain is smooth fast and entertaining, even in a vehicle with this much weight. Zero to sixty time is said to be 6.3 seconds, which is plenty fast enough to take the kids to school or get to work on time.

We also achieved the claimed 32-mpg in combined driving, which we feel is exemplary for a vehicle this fast, big and comfortable.

From a handling and driving perspective, this thing feels like a big Mini, which is a good thing. The front wheel drive bias is easy and forgiving and you can toss this thing into a corner, just as you can a Mini, with complete confidence and big grin on your face.

Who would have thought, when that first Ford Explorer came out in about 1991, that this type of vehicle could handle and drive like this and get over 30 mpg. We have come a long way, baby!

While we didn’t get time to go seriously off-road with the X1 and it is not designed to complete with a Jeep or Land Rover, the X1 is equipped with BMW’s all wheel drive XDrive system, so muddy roads, wet grass and snow will not likely slow the X1 down.

While BMW makes no mention of towing capacity on its U.S. website, German sites claim 2000 kilogram towing capacity (when using trailer brakes) which translates to about 4400 pounds U.S. So, it looks like you can tow your small race car on an open trailer in style with this one.

We really only had two complaints. First, the stock seats were not that comfortable in the 800 miles of driving we did. Optional seats in the M Techniques package offer additional lumbar support, which might solve this problem.

Second, we feel while the base price of $34,800 is not that off-putting for a vehicle of this size and quality, but the option list would soon have you well into the forty thousand dollar range, where you can buy of other good vehicles.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
GTwannaB HalfDork
9/23/16 9:22 p.m.

So these are popping up all over my town and I think they are just perfectly proportioned hatches masquerading as little SUVs. I think this would work perfectly for a daily in a crowded city but I also cannot stop but see a AWD Mini with really expensive body control module issues.

Shaun HalfDork
9/23/16 10:26 p.m.

My wife and I thought we wanted a Mini until we sat in one and looked (briefly) at the goofball interior. Too bad the seats in this car are not as good as they look in the photo of this great looking interior. The Mini brand has pretty much jumped the shark anyway, BMW may as well just head downmarket and squish Mini back into being Mini.

bluej UltraDork
9/23/16 11:57 p.m.

The lack of a tow rating killed it for us, otherwise we'd have one in the garage most likely. We ended up with a Linc MKC that we're very happy with, instead.

JtspellS SuperDork
9/24/16 12:05 a.m.

Will say this, when I was still at the dealership we had one come in from auction and yours truly ended up getting it for inspection, whilst it is not a good looker I can say that it while in sport mode can and will beat up on a WRX in a straight line time and time again and truly make said WRX owner all sorts of confused.

Did like it for what it was, a wonderful DD for SWMBO.

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
10/4/16 12:18 p.m.

What I find interesting is how similar in size they are to my gen 1 X3.

That was a very under-rated vehicle.

Get the non-s 3.0i with the six speed and you really had something.

wheel track (width counts mirrors and is practically useless unless you are measuring for a garage) X3-5' X1-5'1"

Ground clearance x3-8" X1-7.2"

Wheelbase X3-110" X1-105"

Length X3-180" X1-175"

Interior dimensions almost same

Weight X3-4012 X1-3660 (this is x3 six speed manual vs x1 8 speed auto)

lb/hp X3-15.43 X1-16.05

Here's the difference

Torque X3-225 ft-lbs. @ 2750 rpm X1-258 ft-lbs. @ 1250 rpm

Depending on how tune friendly that gearbox is, this might be something else all together.

Vigo PowerDork
10/6/16 4:44 p.m.

Ive seen X1s in person and find them pretty nice looking. I think it's a good move. I also agree that it seems preferable to have a BMW like the X1 in this size bracket and make MINIs mini again.

Our Preferred Partners