2013 BMW X1 xDrive35i Rocky Mountain Review By Dan Poler
By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel
New to our shores for 2013 is BMW’s X1, a vehicle seen on the roads of Europe for a few years now( Read BMW X1 European Review). The X1 borrows from other BMW platforms – a little from the 1-series, a little from the 3-series, close ties to the X3 – to build a fun, sporty, yet practical compact SUV.
The X1 is available in a variety of configurations starting as low as $30,800 with the 2.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Ours came as an xDrive35i, equipped with BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine good for 300 (!) hp, a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive. Although a great configuration and a good deal of fun to drive, the price of options can quickly add up.
On the outside at a first casual glance one might mistake an X1 for its big brother, the X3 – but as you get closer you notice the size. At a little over seven inches shorter in length and five inches smaller in height, it’s not a very big car particularly for its class. From a side profile, you also notice the long hood beginning at the angular, aggressive headlights; the cabin is set far back in the car.
Our tester came to us in a color BMW calls Glacier Silver Metallic. It looks less shiny and pure than the Titanium Silver Metallic of years past – it seems as if BMW’s silver has picked up some blue over the years. The tester was also configured with BMW’s Sport Line package, adding some nice features like 18” alloy wheels and sport seats with adjustable thigh support, but also some less-than-nice features like door mirror caps and interior trim in high-gloss black – a code-word for “plastic” that doesn’t reflect the character of a premium German vehicle.
Elsewhere inside the vehicle, we find … BMW. The interior is a bit on the small side, but the feel of the leather and the fit-and-finish is timeless; the instrument cluster and controls classic, with their gentle amber glow. A nice touch included in the Lighting Package on our tester was the ability to switch certain amber interior lighting to white for better visibility – the dash still remains amber, however. The iDrive display in the X1 is nicely integrated into the dash; although the display is small, unlike in the new 3-series it doesn’t feel like a stuck-on afterthought. There are a few details in the interior that feel flimsy, such as a second front cupholder that sticks out from the center console like an appendage.
One point we didn’t care for – the coral red color of the leather interior. Very few vehicles can pull off red leather, and the X1 isn’t one of them. The color would be beautiful in a roadster like BMW’s Z4 but it just doesn’t seem right in a small SUV, particularly considering the ever-so-slight blue tint of the exterior.
Driving the X1 is everything expected from the combination of a relatively small and light body with BMW’s 3-liter turbocharged inline-6 under the hood. As we always find with this engine, the 300 hp is ready at a moments notice, and the six-speed shiftable automatic shifts quickly and smoothly. Blessedly absent is the muddy steering feel we’ve found in recent BMW’s with electric power steering; the X1 feels as a BMW should – light, responsive, fun. Other than the relatively high seating position, you forget that you’re driving a small SUV – one might think that the X1 feels like the X3, but the driving experience is really closer to that of the E90 3-series. And that’s a very good thing. Only when you look back and see the hatch do you remember that this is, indeed, a capable little SUV.
Courtesy of that lack of muddiness in the steering, handling is excellent and responsive. The ride is very firm, but capable, holding corners tight and not letting go. Even on a bit of ice in an early-spring storm the X1 performed admirably. We averaged 24 mpg overall during our time with the car, a nice result given the power of the engine.
We like the little X1, with the utility of a proper hatch – although small – but with the handling and performance characteristics of a BMW compact sedan. We think that it will do well here and we look forward to seeing more of them on the roads here in the Mountain West.
BMW X1 xDrive35i Price as Tested: $48,395.00 Engine Type: BMW TwinPower Turbo 24-valve inline 6-cylinder engine with high-precision direct injection, Valvetronic, and Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing Engine Size: 3.0 liter Horsepower: 300 @ 5,800 RPM Torque (lb-ft): 300 @ 1,300 RPM Transmission: 6-speed steptronic automatic transmission with adaptive transmission contrl and ECO PRO mode Wheelbase / Length (in): 108.7 / 176.5 Curb Weight: 3,891 Pounds per HP: 12.97 Fuel Capacity (gal): 16.6 Fuel Requirement: Premium unleaded Tires: Pirelli Cinturato P7; 225/45VR18 Brakes: Ventilated disc Suspension, front/rear: MacPherson strut / Modified MacPherson strut Drivetrain: All-wheel drive EPA Fuel Economy - MPG city / highway / observed: 18 / 27 / 24 Base Trim Price: $38,450.00 Options and Charges Metallic Paint: $550.00 Sport Line: $1,900.00 (18” light alloy wheels, door mirror caps in black, sport seats, high-gloss black interior trim) Cold Weather Package: $550.00 (Heated steering wheel, heated front seats) Lighting Package: $450.00 (Ambiance lighting, automatic high beams) Ultimate Package: $5,000.00 (Premium Package – universal garage-door opener, keyless entry, auto-dimming mirrors, lumbar support, interior mirror with compass; Technology Package – voice-command, real-time traffic information, navigation system, BMW assist with Bluetooth, iPod and USB adapter; Driver Assistance Package – rear-view camera, park distance control)Satellite radio with 1-year subscription: $350.00 BMW Apps: $250.00 Delivery: $895.00 Price as tested: $48,395.00