BMW furnished a new 2013 model X1 for a full week of test driving. It was actually called the x Drive 28i model, and although it was noticeably small, it came loaded down with a lot of special features that made this BMW somewhat special. It has just enough of a sporty feel to make the drive enjoyable.
The 2013 BMW X1 is not really a new car, but it is new for the US market. It was introduced in 2009 and has been in Europe and Asia and selling fairly well. Production facilities apparently were not able to provide the output for an additional market and a guessed-at demand in the US.
First of all, this car has power. It can get up and go. The test model was equipped with a 2 liter, 4 cylinder engine, 16 valve, and matched to an 8 speed automatic transmission. There is an available 3.0 liter six cylinder turbo matched with a six speed automatic. I suppose that the turbo 6 would be much faster than my 4 cylinder, but I was pleased enough with the power available.
There are four trim levels – Base, X-line, which is slightly more stylish, Sport Line, and M Sport Line. Out test drive model was the Sport Line which included nicely bolstered sport seating, 18 inch alloy wheels, an aluminum trim package, and an extra charge of $1900. The interior stitching was a nice red color which contrasted well with the black leather.
We hear the phrase, “It's what's inside that counts.” With the BMW X1, that is probably more true than false. The interior is really nice, outfitted with an abundance of options, and very functional. The test drive model has the expected navigation and satellite radio, real-time traffic information, key-less entry, panoramic moon-roof, auto-dimming mirrors, lumbar support, automatic high beams, ambient interior lighting, rear view camera, park distance control, heated steering wheel, and even retractable headlight washers. There was also a multifunction sport steering wheel that was easy to navigate and utilize.
From a beginning MSRP price of $32,350, all those extras and options really pushed the price upwards. Bottom sticker price came to $45,595. Mileage was EPA rated at 26 mpg average, but I achieved an overall average for the week of almost 30 mpg.
LIKES: pre-set buttons on the radio, large cargo area, knob-controlled iDrive system, folding rear bench seat, and a very multi-adjustable seat.
DISLIKES: cupholders are terrible, start/stop system is annoying, and the ingress/egress always gets your pants leg dirty. Let me explain those dislikes in more detail. Americans seem to always have one or two beverage containers with them when they are in a car. Even a sole driver can have a bottle of water and a cup of hot coffee at the same time. My first time in the car, I could not find the 'between-the-seat-in-the-console' holder. It was cleverly hidden by the armrest which was pulled forward. To access the cupholder, it is necessary to push the armrest to the rear, which now becomes unusable for its intended purpose. BMW, apparently catering to the US market, has added a second holder that protrudes upwards out of the center stack area to the right side. It can be easily pulled out, which I chose to do for the remainder of the week. It is ugly, obtrusive, and protrudes into the passenger's leg room. If the road is bumpy, coffee or soda is easily sloshed onto the passenger's lap area.
There is a standard start/stop system called “Brake Standby, Start-off Assistant.” I was not impressed. Possibly it helps with mileage, but is jars the passenger compartment when it operates. While sitting at a long traffic signal, the brake pedal was depressed. When the light changed, the brake pedal was released and the entire cabin shook. The car did not lurch, but the engine is designed to fire back up in conjunction with the brake pedal.
My third dislike came because a week-long deluge of heavy rains, severe flooding, and a wintry mixture of slush. That added an abundance of mud and messy substances to the extra large rocker panels along the side. The rocker panels are very attractive and stylish when the weather is clear. But in even a mild situation of rain and mud, it is almost impossible to enter or exit the car without getting your pants quite dirty. I even attempted to slightly catapult myself over the rocker panel, but it didn't work.
It might appear I am unhappy with the BMW X1, but that is not the case. I really did like it and enjoyed all the pleasures of driving that it allowed me. When there is an over-abundance of great things, the few small annoyances stand out noticeably. The wintry mix of weather offered a multitude of opportunities to experience the x Drive all-wheel-drive system,which works really well. Hopefully, the buying public can look beyond those three little dislikes I mentioned and enjoy all the amenities of this small sized “beamer.” It worked for me.