By on April 5, 2010

Diesel clatter in a BMW is like watching Bullit to the tunes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In other words, distasteful and illegal in 48 states. And yet, driving BMW’s new X1 is a surprisingly John Deere-like experience. Is this a BMW or the ultimate agricultural machine? Maybe this sort of confusion is the X1’s worst problem.

In this day and age, BMW’s identity crisis justifies a psychological hotline. Ever since Mercedes beat BMW in defining the midsize-luxury-SUV segment with its successful ML, the Bavarian automaker is having a separation anxiety of sorts, racing to create new and increasingly eyebrow-raising niches. The X3 may have invented the premium-compact SUV, but the X6 and the recent 5 GT have been trying to answer questions no one really asked.

You’d expect the X1’s nomenclature to indicate its roots lie in the compact 1 series, but the X1 is actually a chopped 3 series Touring (same wheelbase, different overall length), which makes the X3 the ugly duckling of the BMW family. Expensive and outdated, the X3 is less than 5 inches longer than the new X1, meaning the next generation of the sandwich child of the X series will have to get a serious bump in size and kit to justify the price increase over its baby brother. When it does – likely in 2011 – the X1 will also arrive stateside.

The exterior of the X1 is almost as confused as its identity. Up front, the X-junior bears BMW’s new upright kidney grill. Coupled with the bulbous bumper from the 1 series, the result isn’t completely unattractive – but definitely polarizing. The back is influenced by the 5 GT, with an uncanny resemblance to the E32 7 series, but the way the X1’s design elements connect is what makes it a bit of an odd bird. The proportions are strange, and they aren’t helped by the profile line sweeping from the front to the back – which is handsome on the new 5 series, but feels busy on the compact hatchback that the X1 fundamentally is.

Thankfully, the X1 still provides at least some core BMW experience. The seats are comfortable and grippy, and the thick, neatly stitched steering wheel falls comfortably into the driver’s hands. The driving position is also much closer to a conventional car than a true crossover – so that fans of the genre may be a little disappointed.

The rest of the cabin gets the basics right: everything in eye-level is fairly pleasing to the eye and touch, but as you go down you will discover flimsy plastics not worthy of a car of this caliber. There’s nothing here to make you feel particularly luxurious, and the general design of the cabin is a little dull – even BMW’s signature gearlever is replaced by a run of the mill stick. Annoyingly, there isn’t even a proper armrest.

The newest member of the X series does, however, get the practicalities right. Four passengers will be comfortable and so will their luggage – a huge improvement over the cramped 1 series. At almost 15 cubic feet, the X1’s trunk is smaller than the standard 3 series’. It is, however, significantly more comfortable to load, thanks to the practical benefits of the rear hatch and the slightly raised ride height.

Call me mad, but I’ve actually taken the baby-X to some mild offroading, and imminently proven that the X1 – and its expensive looking bumpers in particular – is allergic to as much as moderate potholes. And unless you don’t live in a country as sunny as mine, you really don’t need xDrive – BMW speak for 4 wheel drive – the car’s minimal clearance will probably limit it much quicker than treacherous mud will.

The X1’s natural habitat is the road, where it offers a good (but mixed) experience. The ride is bad. Blame BMW’s beloved low profile runflat tires for that. In moderately slow driving the X1 feels bumpy and crashes on minor asphalt imperfections, while in higher speeds and flatter roads the experience improves significantly – wind and tire noises are kept at bay, too.

Other than that, the X1 drives like a BMW should, with weighty hydraulically-assisted steering that’s not to anyone’s liking – especially not in town and during parking maneuvers. Thankfully, it’s also accurate and communicative, greatly contributing to a driving experience that’s very close to its road focused sibling. Body roll is minimal and the brakes are excellent, both in pedal feel and bite retention. The well-praised six speed ZF gearbox is well-praised here too, with a smooth and decisive action, but tap-shifters are sorely missed for spirited driving.

The engine is a mixed bag too. With 177 brake horsepower on tap, it won’t set this BMW’s tires alight (or puncture them, for that matter), but 258 lb-ft of torque have their way of getting this crossover to 60 in about 8.5 seconds on paper. Off paper, it feels quicker once the turbocharger kicks in at about 1,500 RPM. But then there’s that John Deere identity issue. The diesel clatter, which is well silenced in the rest of BMW’s diesel-sipping offerings, is present not only while the engine is cold, but also during moderate accelerations, almost never letting you forget it’s down there, and it won’t take regular unleaded without a fight.

Casting a verdict on the BMW X1 isn’t a “good car, bad car” affair as with most cars, because you have to put it in context, and right now you can’t. BMW want us to believe that their newest crossover is the opening shot in a new and busy segment which will be populated by the upcoming Audi Q3 and Land Rover LRX, but as of the present, the X1 can’t be readily compared to any vehicle on the market.

Even more confusingly, the X1 isn’t a bad car – it handles well and has some practical edges. The downsides – a mediocre cabin, iffy ride comfort with the stock runflat tires, and noisy engine – place it closer to the 1 series in the BMW quality hierarchy. In the end, it all boils down to pricing. UK pricing of the X1 place it close in price to an equally equipped 3 series sedan, but significantly cheaper than the more spacious 3 series touring.

In this price range the X1 can make sense for people looking for added practicality and raised ride height, who are willing to sacrifice some refinement and cabin quality. But it also comes mighty close in price to the larger Audi Q5, which makes me wonder: is there really a place for another sub-niche in the niche of the century?

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67 Comments on “Review: BMW X1 xDrive20d...”


  • avatar

    People always talk about how ugly the X series is. I love the X6, although I don’t see myself getting into another SUV for a while.
    This is nice, but way too small for me. The women will snap em up.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Like most cars, I naively told myself “I’ll probably appreciate the X6 more once I see it in person.” Unfortunately, it recently joined the ranks of the Aztek and Crosstour for me. I couldn’t possibly envision a more pointless vehicle on the road, and this is supposed to be something of an age of austerity. Double weird.

      This isn’t too bad, but I can’t imagine crowding the compact SUV segment any more than it already is.

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      Then you are in a minority, I saw an X6 in a parking lot last week and I was astounded at how tall and slab sided it was, and how small the cargo space was. At least the X5 had the redeeming virtues of a station wagon sized rear and a potential third row seat. The X6 was just big ugly and pointless, doing nothing that an AWD 5 series couldn’t do better in less space. I suspect the same criticism can be leveled at the X1, although it is better packaged a 3 series touring would do it better.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I totally agree. I won’t argue that the X6 isn’t pointless and absurd and a scourge on the BMW name…

      …but I do think it looks like the urban warrior car of the future. It looks like the car that the hero would drive through the post-apocalyptic wasteland, if the hero were driving something shiny and magically invulnerable.

      Me, I like sitting as low as possible, so I’d never get an X6. But I do think it looks better than most of the other stupid SUVs out there.

      And Slow Joe – we know wer’re in the minority. We read about it enought.

    • 0 avatar
      gsnfan

      The 5 series GT has better proportions. The X6 just looks awkward.

  • avatar

    How do other dimensions and curb weight compare to the X3? Then again, the 1 and 3 coupes are also too close for comfort.

    Should handle well, at least.

    BMW hasn’t shifted many SUVs in the US so far. And it’s also possible the the owners of BMW SUVs are less likely than those of BMW cars to be active on car sites like this one. So while TrueDelta has had reliability stats for BMW coupes and sedans, we’re still trying to get enough owners involved for the SUVs.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Yech. I hate the looks, and a noisy Diesel is inexcuseable today. And too much money just to save a buck on gas.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Um. Priced diesel lately? $2.919 per gall this morning in SW Michigan. Premium gasoline? $2.999.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Diesel pricing is seasonal.

      But noisy diesel is, yes, inexcusable, as is turbo lag (especially with BMW.. Where’s the VVT?!)

      Also, this thing shouldn’t be more than, say, 3200lbs, and diesel highway mpg should be at least 36, preferably more than 40.. Otherwise it’s a fat pig that’s fat and a piggy.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Is there any way that a vehicle TTAC reviews could have adequate interior materials, aside from the inside of the car being hewn from a solid chunk of old-growth oak and augmented with hand-polished titanium and lamb’s nose leather?

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      I can guarantee you that not only TTAC gave a dishonorary mention to the X1′s interior. It’s a point I’ve seen mentioned in every review. Besides, it’s all a matter of relativity. It’s better than the 1 series, but doesn’t come near BMW’s usual standards. And yes, the old-growth oak helps.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      Would you rather that they said everything was perfect when it’s not, or that they neglect to provide any insight on the interior quality at all? That said, he claimed it was good until you got to the parts most people might not notice or touch and that it was out of character with the manufacturer (BMW). Another factor here is the expectations of the different reviewers which won’t always be the same.

      If you’re the sort who doesn’t care about that then ignore it. Personally. I spend more time inside my cars than I do outside looking at them. I care about the interior and my opinion of the quality will vary based on the price of the vehicle and my expectations of it relative to others in that range.

    • 0 avatar
      thirty-three

      Hard, cheap-feeling plastics seem to be the norm these days. The new 328i I sat in last week had a cheaper-feeling interior than an old 90s Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Good interior plastics is one of the great mysteries. How to do it is well known. I think it is cost. Just how much extra does it cost to supply decent plastics? $100 extra? BMW has designers/engineers that know how to do it on other lines.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @Bancho:

      I’m not expecting them to always say things are great, but when pretty much every review says that the interior materials are ‘sub-par’, it starts losing meaning as well.

      One thing that bugs me is the obsession with multiple axes of comparison; it ends up in mass confusion. Any given car is compared to cars that are its own price, cars that are in “its class”, cars that are cross-shopped, and on and on. All of those comparisons might end up different – a car can be wonderful when compared to the other cars “it competes with”, but if all those cars are crap for the price, it could still be a lousy car for the money. And the opposite could be true, or any combination of all of those.

      So you end up knowing very little, unless you’re an obsessive car-follower. That may indeed be the case for a lot of TTAC readers, who can parse the various comparison metrics, but for people who show up here wanting to know *just* what a car is like, or what it’s like relative to its price, it’s very confusing.

      As an example, I found this site while looking for reviews of Saab 9-5s. I was looking for an ’05 or so, used, but the review spent so much time obsessing over its being “old” and having a mirror adjuster that was in some other car and having an engine that wasn’t “in its class” that it was essentially useless. I love the car. When I get in it, I don’t think, “Oh, frequently cross-shopped german cars made on the blogsalon N platform with V6s are 8% smoother and have better plastic on the trunk liner”. I think about the car I’m actually IN. I have a feeling the reviews might be more accessible to the average review-seeker – whose business I know TTAC needs – if they were a little less navel-gazing and -obsessively- critical. I ended up becoming a regular reader due to stuff like CC, the editorials, and the interesting commenting; even if I were to look for a new car now, I wouldn’t put much stock in TTAC’s reviews due to their apparent hypercriticality.

    • 0 avatar
      Matzel

      @ PeriSoft:

      I think your constructive criticism is valid. I enjoy perusing TTAC for entertainment value, but like you, I probably wouldn’t put much stock in TTAC’s reviews due to their apparent hypercriticality, if I was looking for a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      @PeriSoft,

      Saying that the X1′s interior plastics are subpar would be both inaccurate and bad journalism. I didn’t say the entire cabin reeked of Aveo plastics – I specifically explained that while the more touch-common surfaces were nicely coated and of good quality, you could clearly see cost cutting was at play with the rest. Besides, I don’t always criticize interiors. Had this been a review of, say, a modern day Audi, I would probably have next to nothing to say about the interior, quality-wise. You may or may not rank interior quality as an important factor in your car purchase, but I will report it anyway. As you can see, some people think otherwise.

      As for comparisons, I think they are essential. Most car purchases aren’t emotionally-motivated – you’re basically looking for the best deal, and you’d look for it in the constraints of your budget and technical requirements. Moreover, in a world as varied as ours, you can’t judge a car strictly absolutely speaking. The VW Polo may very well be the best supermini, but compared to say, an S-Class, it’s worthless.

      Relativity is important specifically with the X1 – it’s simply hard to relate to other cars, so you can’t judge it properly. In your case, you love your Saab and it’s great. But loving it is an emotional decision, and I try to separate it from reviews I write.

      I can understand your claims of hypercriticality (sometimes I find some reviews over-critical myself), but I don’t think that this review was particularly harsh or picky. At any rate, when you’re buying a car, you’d want to hear all the facts, regardless of hypercriticality.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @Tal Bronfer,

      I see your point. And I suppose I should have been a bit more specific – Comparisons are perfectly valid, but I think it would be useful to have them in a bit more of a ‘standard’ way, so people who don’t have experience with a lot of different cars can get more out of them. Saying, “This is as good as an Audi” means nothing to me, since I haven’t driven an Audi, but, taking NG Saab 9-3s as an example, saying, “You shouldn’t have a $34,000 sport sedan with a creaky, hollow door handle, and it’ll piss you off every time you get in” is clear even to people who’ve haven’t driven anything bigger than a ten penny nail.

      And I didn’t mean to single your review out as a quintessential example; I’ve seen others unleash far worse savagery. In fact, it was its general even-handedness that provoked my response: If even this guy complains about an interior, what hope is there from anyone else? :)

      I’ve actually considered writing a TTAC-style review of my 19-month-old son’s Cozy Coupe (“Hard plastics throughout” “One of the only sedans in a class overrun with convertibles”) but I can’t justify the time when it’s pretty likely that it’ll never see the other side of a ttac inbox! :)

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      @PeriSoft,

      Saying “this is as good as an Audi” would be generalizing. And generalizing tends to be incorrect. There are different Audis and different BMWs, and for different people.

      I understand what you’re saying – that TTAC’s reviews should appeal more to the general public by avoiding direct comparisons to unfamiliar cars. TTAC’s reader demographics aside, I think that every smart consumer would care to research the vehicles being compared to the review’s subject. Specifically here, I didn’t make any such reference (but sometimes I do).

      On the other hand, I also understand from your post that you don’t like criticism of interiors. It’s true – we review cars, not furniture. But many people spend hours upon hours in their cars every week, and the interior is an important part of their wellbeing, just like the ride comfort and driving dynamics (at least for us car buffs). Some cars shouldn’t place interiors high up in their priority lists; the X1, however, should.

      As I said, the interior isn’t terrible. It’s just not up to BMW’s usual standards. And you don’t have to be a garage geek to know that BMW knows how to make a good interior.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      heh heh. Lamb’s nose leather.

      I kinda noticed that about the reviews too. Then again I drive a 2002 Ford Taurus, which has what one reviewer called a “Tupperware” interior. So anything looks good to me.

  • avatar
    discoholic

    So effectively the buyer gets a 3-series with a few more inches of seat height, which in return means worse fuel economy, a ruined ride, and a somewhat challenging profile of the car (to me, it looks exactly like what it is: a 3-series on stilts).

    Add to this the agricultural diesel, plastics that wouldn’t look entirely out of place in a car that’s half the price, and the stigma of driving an SUV (which, ironically, it isn’t).

    Could someone enlighten me as to why I should choose this over a 3-series?

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      I think you got the hang of it.

      The thing about the diesel engine is that it’s not to blame. It’s actually a great engine, but it’s noisier than average and the lack of proper sound isolation (at least in the engine bay area) is really out of place.

      Oh, and you can get it with BMW’s six cylinder mills. Which, of course, bumps the price significantly.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      There is no point in the Lexus RX350 either but it still sells to a certain demographic. However, I am yet to be convinced that there is much overlap in the traditional BMW car demographic and those who want an SUV with an luxury badge. Maybe that explains the low sales.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “There is no point in the Lexus RX350 either but it still sells to a certain demographic.”

      The point of the RX is that it’s Lexus’ best-selling product and makes Toyota a boatload of money. Period, full-stop.

      The point of the X1 is, ah, well, I’m not sure. As far as I can tell, German automotive product planning is an exercise in defending every possible niche for every brand out of sheer hubris. If Audi, for example, were to show a three-row, two door A8-based coupe with ten inches of ground clearance (let’s call it a Sports Coupe Tourer, and the production model the Q9-and-seven-eighths), BMW and Daimler would be scrambling to ensure they aren’t left behind in a Sports Coupe Tourer gap.

      At which point, Audi would add a convertible or somesuch nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Sure, ease of loading kids in car seats in and out. That and those of us with oddly long torsos who find it a challenge to not have our heads hit the roof of most cars with a sunroof.

      Hey, you asked!

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      The thing about the diesel engine is that it’s not to blame. It’s actually a great engine
      I have that engine in a 1-series and it’s not that agricultural. I’ll have to try an X1 to see if it’s really that different in there. Is sound insulation really that expensive?
      Still not sold on BMWs on stilts though. Makes roughly as much sense as Hummers on low-profile dubs.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    I see no point to this vehicle. BMW should stick to what they do best. ie build one of the best sedans in the world. Why they, and Porsche, went into the crossover business is beyond me. Does the profit really support the amount invested? I guess it must since they continue to make them, but I would never buy one, and as my handle implies, I like the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Well, the Cayenne makes a lot of sense for Porsche. After all, they’re a company that produces niche-oriented, expensive sport cars – with the Cayenne they’ve reached to a much greater audience and thanks to its twin brother, the Touareg, also got great profit margins. I like to think of it as necessary evil – it’s the Cayennes we like to bash that help Porsche produce the cars we love so much.

      With BMW, it’s different. Again, the X5 makes a lot of sense for BMW (and for many other people who buy them) and it’s a volume seller in the US. The problem is that with its recent niche cars (and I’m not excluding the 5GT) BMW is aiming at smaller and smaller audiences and creates an overlap between its models. You can’t create a clear, solid brand image with so many confusing models. Besides, BMW isn’t a niche car maker like Porsche, and they don’t need massive volume sellers different from their usual portfolio as with the Cayenne.

      And, indeed, they pay less attention to their core products. The 1 series should have had serious attention already, and I can’t avoid the feeling that the new 5 series isn’t as good as its predecessor was when it was first introduced (not to mention the E39). The 3 series is also getting a little long in the tooth.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      The Cayenne is much like the Boxster/Cayman – if you don’t see several everyday, you’re likely driving with your eyes closed.
      (Yes, yes… As long as you live/work/drive near the middle/upper-middle class…)

      As psarhjinian noted about the RX “It makes Toyota a boatload of money. Full stop.”

      Right, wrong, or indifferent, the demand exists for jacked-up station wagons and it’s a profitable demand to satiate.

  • avatar
    jet_silver

    This car is smaller, uglier, and more expensive than a Subaru Outback, with a tractor engine of similar power but more torque. Sounds like a winner.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      The Subaru Outback diesel makes only 150hp.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      @Mirko Reinhardt

      The Subaru Outback 3.6 makes 256hp and is still cheaper than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Just looked it up: Base Outback 3.6R: 49,000€. Base BMW X1 2.0D xDrive: 34,400€. Not sure how you get the idea that the Outback would be cheaper. The X1 is priced to compete with the RAV4 in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      @Mirko Reinhardt

      What are your sources? Checking against UK pricing, this X1 is about 30,000 euros and the 3.6 Outback is 8,000 euros dearer. Not small change by any means, but nothing like the figure you quoted.

      In fact, the Outback 3.6R is 5,000 euros cheaper than the diesel X1 in Israel. We’ll have to wait for American pricing to cast a direct verdict.

      This comparison is a little unfair, however, as you’ll want to compare this Outback to the xDrive28i, which costs more than 41,000 euros, significantly more than the Subaru.

    • 0 avatar
      drivebywire

      Is this really a serious conversation comparing a BMW (even a 1 series) to a Subaru? ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Yes, it is. The Outback is an excellent car. And as stated, the X1 is far from perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      @Tal:
      Subaru price list: http://www.subaru.de/fileadmin/downloads/modelle/Outback/PreiseDaten/outback-spec-19.pdf

      BMW price list:
      http://www.bmw.de/de/de/newvehicles/_shared/pdf/pricelist/X1_pricelist.pdf

      Sure, comparing a 2 liter diesel to a 3.6L gas engine is weird… which was why I brought up of the Boxer Diesel Outback… but wsn brought it up. I’d bet a 49K€ Subaru has all the stuff standard that you find in BMW’s encyclopedic options list.
      Weird that the pricing structure is so different in Israel, which I thought would be similar to Europe price wise… do you have any weird import tariffs?

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      49,000 euros sound like a mighty lot for an Outback. UK pricing is much more reasonable, at about 38,000 euros. Do you guys have added import tax on foreign cars?

      And yes, we have equal taxing on cars at about 83% as of now. You get a refund for ‘green’ cars, but it’s not usually translated to consumer pricing. The X1 costs 300,000 NIS (about 61,000 euros) and the 3.6R Outback costs 275,000 NIS (about 56,000 euros). BMWs are usually overpriced here, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Ouch, 83%, that’s nearly as bad as Norway. I’m not aware of any huge import taxes here. Do the UK prices contain any kind of VAT? German prices always include 19% VAT. Which still doesn’t explain the inflated Subaru price.
      Subarus are exotics at least in Northern Germany, but I’d consider the diesel Impreza – if it’s really that good. There’s no Subaru dealer in a 50 km radius around my home town, so I didn’t have a chance to drive it yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      I think it’s the rarity (oddity?) of the Subaru brand that makes them so expensive at your side, but go figure. Israelis have a strange automotive taste: they always like the quirkiest cars, but not because of their quirkiness – just because they offer better than average reliability. And an automatic gearbox. Back in its day, the Subaru Leone was a hysterical bestseller around here, and ever since then the local dealers have very close ties with Fuji Heavy Industries. I figure that helped them get an attractive price.

      For the past 5 years, Israel’s bestselling car – by a large, large margin – is … the Mazda 3, though I doubt most of the (fleet) buyers really appreciate the fact that it’s actually quite a fun car.

      Anyway, I’ve stopped moaning about the taxation. It doesn’t help. I’ve heard that the boxer diesel is OK but far from class leading (but didn’t drive it myself – it’s not sold here) – but I still have a strange thing for Subarus…

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    in other markets they are selling a plain rwd model… sDrive20d

    since it has no real 4wd ability any which way why not get the rwd model and just pretend like any other urban cowboy?

    sure it’s a lot of money but it is a bmw

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Where’s the joy?

  • avatar
    stuki

    This thing is _less_ spacious than a 3 touring? Ouch! And here silly me though wagon intenders cared about space.

    It’s looking increasingly like BMW’s gamble that run flats would improve fast enough, so their early adoption of them across the line gave them an advantage as others later had to scramble to catch up, isn’t working out as planned.

    I did a back to back test drive of a 5 wagon with standard tires, and one with runflats; and the run flats are truly appalling. I then drove the GT, which is engineered and tuned specifically around the runflats, and the run flats still suck. And worse, in an effort to reduce their perceived suckiness, BMW softens bushings and whatnot enough to make the cars wallow in the fast and uneven stuff. I can’t imagine any reason other than stubbornness still keeping them around. Or perhaps unusually treacherous roads in China or something.

    As an aside, I actually like the way the Crosstour looks from most angles, much better than either the GT, or the X6. Or even the ZDX, which is bulky enough to look better in full wagon (MDX) guise. The Crosstour is still slim enough that I can imagine it would look a bit pear shaped with a fuller rear.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    How is the mileage?

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Sorry, didn’t measure it. I had the car for a pretty short while. The official combined figure for this drivetrain is 40 mpg – though my guess is that you’re not likely to go anywhere near it. This is manufacturer data, not an EPA figure. This sort of data always needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and I don’t usually include it in my reviews.

  • avatar

    Glad you liked the interior. One of the weirdest comments about a BMW I received was the only time I heard from a user of a BMW SUV, who – get this – traded his X3 for RAV4. He said that X3 “was the best engineered car he ever had, with ideal handling at any speed, but creature comforts were nowhere near RAV”. I made a WTF expression… considering how much a BMW SUV costs. So whenever someone reviews a BMW I scan the article to know if they screwed up AC setup or something.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    The X1 is to the X3 / x5 as the Audi TT is to the VW beetle.

    They chopped half of the height off the car and added no real value to it. I think it looks good (relative to the other Xs) but represents a total capitulation to the market. The x1 is a SAV/CUV/monster for women who want a slightly higher riding position. (Cue the Q5 and GLK)

    I can see the marketing ‘Perfectly sized for parking at Bed Bath and Beyond, the X1 comes with an optional frappechino machine built-in. Small purse-sized dog not included’

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    @Tal Bronfer,

    Ah yes the E39. The holy grail of BMW’s (at least for me) I just love the look of those cars. It’s a shame that there are not many low mileage examples that people are willing to part with around here. Almost all have been bastardized or trashed. I bought my E46 convertible because I did not like the direction that BMW was headed. When they get rid of the runflats, and bring back the dipstick, I will be back. Thanks for the well written review.

    • 0 avatar
      Tal Bronfer

      Unfortunately for us car nuts the runflats aren’t BMW’s only problem nowdays. The electro-hydraulic steering they’ve introduced with the F10 5 series is yet another worrying sign of the Mercedesation of the brand. And the grotesque, overweight X5M and X6M monsters. And I haven’t even talked about the front wheel drive rumors. Sheesh.

      I live in Israel, and the situation with used Beemers here is just plain sad. You actually can’t (and I mean can’t) get a 6-cyl manual E36 which hasn’t been completely raped or involved with a head on collision with a semi trailer. It’s a damn shame, I love those cars.

  • avatar
    daga

    I wouldn’t give MB props for ‘defining the midsize-luxury-SUV segment with its successful ML’. At more than 3x the ML’s volume stll today, the RX has dominated that segment since it stomped on the ML when it came out a year or two later. The only thing the ML defined was a horrendous lack of quality during the Schrempp days.

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    I rather take 335D any day over this tractor. 485ft/lb, 6 sec 0-60 mph, 36 mpg highway & $4500 BMW financing credit + $900 Federal Eco credit. Am I missing something?

  • avatar
    kadett72

    Another BMW member of the NPV (No Purpose Vehicle) family.
    When I first heard of the X1 I thought “why?”. Who needs a car that’s too small to carry anything larger than a Gucci bag, too tall for the garage, and can’t handle terrain rougher than the country club car park?
    Oh, forget I asked…

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    In many countries it is priced to be cheaper than a 3 series wagon, so in that aspect the whole thing works. Unfortunately BMW had to make the decision to make it feel cheaper as well, otherwise people might not dish out more for the ‘real thing’. I guess like similar tall offerings this will be more popular with the crowd for whom it is the last BMW, rather than the first. In that sense mildly self defeating.

  • avatar
    horseflesh

    Any truth to the rumor that this thing is the base platform for the Mini Countryman?

  • avatar

    Check out the new April Autos Issue from Consumer Reports to see how BMW and other brands rated this year. The content is free online at http://www.2010AnnualAutoIssue.com.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    @ Dr. Kenneth Noisewater,

    “Also, this thing shouldn’t be more than, say, 3200lbs”

    Surely you jest. If this weighs less than 4000lbs, I’d be shocked.

    As for the rest of the car, I can only say, sigh.

  • avatar
    Kres7787

    Hi,

    Well I’m waiting on my delivery of 18d sDrive X1 and it’s painful. I love the car. I’ve driven a test xDrive 18d and it’s a thrill and joy to drive. And it looks great to me though that shouldn’t really be discussed as it’s a personal taste to everybody.

    So since I’ve driven it, I’ll give some feedback to mentioned bad sides of the car:

    Engine noise – Really not that bad. I was saying to the seller that drove with me during the test drive that I’ve heard complaints about the engine noise and that I can’t see what that was about. The engine growls very nicely. It feels solid and powerful (in that range). I quite liked it.

    Wind noise – There is extra wind noise due to big side mirrors.

    Bad looks – Looks great to me? So if it’s ugly to you, don’t buy it.

    Price – Doesn’t feel really expensive for fun that you’re getting for driving a “SAV”, at great MPG rate and a premium badge.

    Bad interior looks – If you don’t tick the right extra interior options it does look a bit dull inside. I didn’t ordered sat nav, which means it lacks a nice big screen in the dash and MMI. Didn’t wanted to throw in extra 1500 EUR into the car just so the interior would look better with nav since I don’t need it.

    Ride comfort – I took 17″ rims, which means full comfort that it can offer. I had no complaints really on the comfort even though the test X1 I drove had standard seats and bigger rims. I took sport seats.

    So anyway, I’m one of those that obviously love the car. It’s a specific car. It can either be loved or hated. Most of you guys fall under the later it seems. Which is alright. There are plenty of cars to chose from! Good luck with your choices.

  • avatar
    RockyMountainSaaber

    BMW, what an excellent job of keeping your cars assembled in China, both 3 and 5 series, which will triple production in 2012 a secret. Yep, your 2011′s, a good portion made in China, better check your build sheets (if the dealer gave you one).
    Any of you BMW lovers told that when your stating you would like to upgrade in your 1967 VW pleather seats for real leather for $750? MADE IN CHINA Now when I get in a 50K car, I don’t like plastic seats, shouldn’t leather be standard, can’t get a Saab without leather. You will sweat like the shoppe it was built in.


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