2013 BMW X1

First Drive

Advocate WHEELS editor

If you’re looking for a premium small SUV and you don’t have lot of stuff to haul around, BMW’s 2013 X1 might be just what you’re looking for. Small, agile and buckets of fun to drive, the X1 is a good blend of form and function. BMW calls the X1 a “Sport Activity Vehicle,” and it competes in the premium sub-compact SUV
segment.

Available with an Inline 4-cylinder turbo engine (X1 xDrive 28i) or an Inline-6 turbo (X1 xDrive 35i), the X1 can scoot from zero in 6.3 seconds or 5.3 seconds respectively. The X1 sDrive 28i has the same 4-cylinder turbo and can make it to 60 in 6.2 seconds.

The 28i models have a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, while the 35i gets a 6-speed automatic. The xDrive (AWD) models vary power between the front and rear wheels, improving traction, handling and power in all weather conditions. The xDrive system is intelligent, fast and precise.

Indeed, during our week with our test X1 xDrive28i, we found handling superb on wet and dry roads. The X1 is agile, quick and responsive, sticking the corners and easily holding its own in the left lane of the interstate. The turbo 4 in our xDrive28i kicked out 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque for a satisfying driving
experience.

Inside, the X1 cabin cocoons occupants in sumptuous leather. A wide navigation screen is at the top of the center stack and controls are navigated via BMW’s iDrive controller on the center console. The system can take some getting used to, but once you master it, the buttons and controller are intuitive.

The electronic shifter, too, took some getting used to. “Reverse,” for example requires the driver to push the button on the shifter and move the handle forward. Somehow, we found it confusing to push the shifter forward to make the car go backward, and we had to look down each time to assure the car was in reverse. It’s a minor quibble, but we didn’t want to wind up on a Liberty Mutual Insurance “Humans” commercial by driving the test car through our garage wall.

When it comes to interior space, cargo room can be as much as 47.7 cubic feet with all three sections of the 40/20/40 rear seat folded flat. BMW says that’s enough room for two 46-inch golf bags sideways or lengthwise.

Thanks partly to the 8-speed transmission and an auto stop/start feature (that can be disabled) EPA mileage estimates for the X1 are very good. Our X1 xDrive28i was rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, for a 26 mpg average.

The X1 gets a “marginal” score in the small overlap front test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but still earned a coveted “Top Safety Pick” award from the group.

The BMW X1 xDrive28i starts at $32,350, but options can boost the price quickly. Our test car, decked out with significant options, had a sticker price of $45,595, including $895 in freight.

With its low center of gravity and small size, the X1 is a well-built, agile and fun-to-drive German automobile.

2013 BMW X1

xDrive28i

Engine:

2.0-liter Inline turbocharged

4-cylinder

Horsepower:

240

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

Test model base price:

$32,350 ($45,595 as tested)

EPA mileage rating:

22 mpg city / 33 mpg highway