By on August 12, 2020

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i Fast Facts

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (228 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,500 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

23 city / 31 highway / 26 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)

10.3 city, 7.7 highway, 9.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $37,200 (U.S) / $42,100 (Canada)

As Tested: $48,645 (U.S.) / $55,404.73 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,580 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Crossovers often get mocked by auto journalists as “tall wagons.” These scribes – and there are many, myself included, who have used this term – don’t understand why people don’t buy actual wagons.

Indeed, just the other day, the section of the Twitterverse reserved for auto writers had a discussion about why the public likes the much-loathed crossover so much.

There’s the obvious reason, of course – most of the people in the car-buying public are either not car enthusiasts, or they’re enthusiasts forced into crossover life by budget and life needs. We’ve been over this before.

Ride height and the availability of all-wheel-drive were also tossed out as reasons for the crossover love. One thought that I didn’t see – perhaps today’s Gen X and older Millennial buyers remember the shitty wagons of the ‘80s (the same ones that give Radwood attendees funny feelings in their pants) and just don’t want anything to do with the word?

That’s not a shot at those who like old wagons. Like what you like, I won’t judge. But perhaps the 42-year-old accountant who has kids and pets and stuff to haul has only bad memories of the Ford LTD his parents dragged him to Boy Scouts in.

I bring this up not because the conversation about crossovers seems never-ending in car circles, but because the 2020 BMW X1 I’m about to cover straddles a weird line. BMW would call it a crossover (actually, in their brand speak, it’s a “Sports Activity Vehicle”), and most likely you would too, but the ride height, or at least the seating position, felt lower than most.

And of course, it’s all-wheel drive.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

I’m not here to debate whether it’s a crossover or wagon, but rather, to state that to this reviewer, it felt closer to the latter than the former. And that’s fine, unless the word wagon makes you make the same face I make when confronted with broccoli. Which for many people, it does.

It’s more than fine, actually, because while it has some flaws (a couple that seem unusual for BMW), it’s not a bad little grocery-getter, should you have the means.

[Get BMW X1 pricing here!]

The biggest flaw was the steering – it felt a bit stiff and artificial, and any road feedback seemed to be too easily filtered out. BMW steering may be, in general, a little heavier and more artificial than it used to be, but typically the car/crossover in question still feels connected to the road in a way that backs up the Ultimate Driving Machine marketing spiel. Here, it’s disjointed.

The 2.0-liter turbo-four also struggles a bit at lower RPMs, but if you kick the spurs, you can get the X1 moving. It’s a weird driving experience – the X1 is a small crossover/wagon, but it feels heavy. It rides stiffly, to boot.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Where the X1 is stronger is in its luxury game. Yes, BMW sticker prices have a tendency to get ridiculous, and we’ll get there in a bit, but even if BMWs feel a bit bloated, in terms of both content mix and actually physical use of space, these days, the cabin still has enough of an upscale feel – and enough space, comfort, and quiet – to make John in middle management glad he stretched his payment budget.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that iDrive is not nearly as confusing as it once was.

Driving the X1 for a week gave me mixed feelings – it didn’t perform quite as well as other Bimmer crossovers I’ve driven, at least not until you pushed it, at which point it came alive a bit. But it was nice and pleasant all the same.

Style-wise, the updated-for-2020 X1 looks a bit like a shrunken version of the brand’s larger crossovers. It carries traditional BMW trappings such as the modernized version of the twin-kidney grille, and the shape (narrowing towards the grille) of the headlamp gives it an angry look. The lamps themselves are now hexagonal in shape. A gently sloping roofline tapers off towards the back. Other changes include larger grille openings and different bumpers with “sharper” lines and larger openings, as well as larger exhaust-pipe openings. The rear lights are also updated.

New interior trim bits, including different stitching, new wheel designs, and three new available colors are also part of the updates, along with the option of a lower dash that color-matches the leather.

The inside is familiar and handsome, marred only by a tacked-on infotainment screen and a mass of too many buttons for audio and climate controls.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

As is often the case with German luxury, eye-popping options pricing is a problem. While the base price for the xDrive 28i was a reasonable $37,200, it quickly shot up to $48,645 as-tested. The $4,950 Premium Package had a lot to do with this. The package included power-folding mirrors, keyless entry, moonroof, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto-dimming side-view mirrors, lumbar support, ambient lighting, heated front seats, satellite radio, LED headlamps and fog lamps, navigation, satellite radio, and a head-up display. This replaces a Convenience Package you’re saddled with when you choose the Mocha Dakota leather ($1,450), and it adds a few features beyond what that package offers. Also, some of the features can be added without ticking the box for premium.

These pricing games are annoying, and they’ll continue as long as luxury-brand buyers continue being laydowns. Why tack on nearly 5 grand for features that are standard in many non-luxury vehicles, and require that the buyer spend at least over 2 large on the Convenience package if he or she wants to already drop more than a g-note on a nicer interior? At least the two packages, and an even higher-end Luxury package don’t require you to spend more on the interior to get them. Same for the individual options.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Other options included the paint job – $1,200 for a metallic light blue/gray – and 19-inch wheels ($600), sport seats ($400), adaptive cruise control ($1,000), wood interior trim ($350), sliding and reclining rear seat ($300), and parking assistant ($200). Standard features included automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, forward-collision warning with collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, speed-limit info, automatic high beams, USB, Bluetooth, and a power tailgate.

If you could live without satellite radio and navigation and a moonroof, you could equip an X1 at a reasonable price. Go for the no-charge paint, interior, and interior trim, and select judiciously from the option list. Live in the South? Ditch the heated seats. Use CarPlay to provide you with nav and your own music and skip XM. Save a grand by not using adaptive cruise. Drive the old-fashioned way.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

By skipping the metallic paint and higher-end interior materials, I built a sub-$40K X1 with all-wheel drive online. You could add one feature, such as heated seats, and be at or just over $40,000 with D and D, depending on which feature you pick. Even if you pick most or all of the features offered individually, you can keep the price under $45K.

At the price, the X1 would be a reasonable entry point to the brand for the well-heeled family buyer. And that buyer would get a decently performing, upscale errand-runner.

But as is, BMW’s pricing strategy sours the experience.

And whether you call it a wagon or a crossover or whatever, that’s disappointing.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

50 Comments on “2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review – German Wagon, German Luxury Price Tag...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Still can’t figure out why anyone thinks that these over priced monstrosities wearing kidney grilles are worthy of any of their money.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      And if this is indeed the Truth About Cars, why is no mention made that this is the same UKL2 platform as the MINI Countryman?

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_UKL_platform

      Overpriced and underbaked. Typical present day BMW nonsense. And just enough ground clearance to sail over clumps of grass in a country driveway. The center instrument panel “integration” with the surrounding plastic is horrendously awful. Just a pathetic showing all around.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      You could buy a CR-V, switch out the grille and save yourself at least fifteen grand. No one would notice the difference.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Somewhere in the last 10 years, BMWs base seats went from ok to garbage. When we drove the X1, I didn’t even need to drive it. The seats were awful enough to pass on the vehicle because any seat upgrade came with another $10k of frivolous options.

    The X1 is a $30k ride selling for a 30-40% premium.

    If you want something this size, Acura, Toyota, Mazda and Volvo all make better versions. So does Audi and Mercedes if you have more to spend.

    • 0 avatar
      punkairwaves

      At a pre-pandemic auto show I never gave a thought to the seats of any of the vehicles I sat in until I tried the BMWs. They got my attention in a bad way. They were shockingly uncomfortable compared everything else on the floor.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    $48K for a BMW crossover starter kit that looks like everyone else’s $35K crossover just isn’t on my radar screen. Is it better then a Santa Fe/Equinox/Edge (V6 standard)/Envision? Probably, but is it THAT much better?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Some would argue RWD bias AWD for the BMW but the average BMW CUV owner doesn’t care or doesn’t know.

      The guys who know and care about that stuff own the sedan or coupe BMWs.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The original X1 was RWD-based but this one is a transverse FWD-based crossover.

        The only dynamic appeal is that it isn’t slow. 0-60 is like 5.9. Although the JCW Countryman is the same platform and it offers even more speed for a price in the 40s.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Forgive me, I thought xDrive was still RWD biased even in a transverse application (like 60/40 by default.)

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Yes, that is not the case. The AWD system on FWD-based BMWs is 100% FWD unless slippage is detected.

            Starts at page 15 of this link:
            f48.bimmerpost.com/forums/attachment.php?
            attachmentid=1287020&d=1443221524

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Then the “poser” designation has gotten even worse.

            I’d rather spend equivalent or Less money on a FWD Mini. Even the higher hp/torque models with decent options are just under or just over $40K MSRP.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            On Audis, you can lock the car into AWD by turning off the stability systems all the way. I wonder if BMW has this as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            FreedMike a lot of AWD crossovers have that feature, otherwise if the car detects slippage at all fours it simply won’t go. At least that’s how it is on my Escape. Turning off the nannies allow the wheels to spin and dig for traction

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Driving in snow while locked in AWD is a total blast.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            With the traction control off in a snowy parking lot the twin-clutch rear diff in my Regal will let you do some very nice pirouettes.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Are you getting old Tim? The average new car is $37k. Why wouldn’t a decently optioned BMW be $48k? A 1982 318i with cloth seats and a manual transmission was $18,200 or $50,006.77 adjusted for inflation.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Let’s see, a FWD “BMW” with what appears to be Corolla-level steering? BMW is just phoning it in. This would be ludicrous at $35k, never mind $47k. But I’m sure there’s a whole cadre of entry-level managers who are eager to lease for 3 years, and then it goes to Carmax, and then to your local BHPH lot.

      No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      No, the average new VEHICLE is $37k. The average new car – personified by the Camry or Accord, is about $30k before negotiations. Camry TRD, with a V6 runs $32k, roughly the same price as Accord Sport. These are well equipped cars. Stripped versions are $26-28k. I’m calling these average cars, but they’re really full size cars. A true mid size car is a Civic which is under $25k, 12 grand less than the average you quoted.

      This gives a better sense of the amount of bloat and sticker fat added to SUVs, especially those with rattly turbo 4s and interiors that feel a generation behind like the X1.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “No, the average new VEHICLE is $37k.”

        Yes, what people actually choose to buy to get around in. That you can buy a Versa for 10k is neither here not there.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    My new neighbor has an new X1. She recently kicked her balding husband out of her life, took his son, half his money, and his whole soul. With those things, she is renting the house next door, working on her oil paintings and pencil sketches, and leasing the Bimmer.

    She is the kind of 50-something woman who has no interest in automobiles at all, but simply feels she “deserves” a BMW. I bet a good number of these CR-V look alikes will end up under similarly big butts.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Is this one of the FWD based crossovers?

    Which particular 2.0T engine powers it? BMW has largely moved to a new 2 liter typically designated with “30”, but this one seems designated with the old “28.”

    Is there any Sport/M-Sport packages? What do you get, for how much?

    Were BMW wagons of the last ten years cheaper than this? More expensive? What about the GT weirdos… which you could actually get with 6 cylinders after the wagons went all turbo four? It would be interesting to put all this complaining about “the price of options” in some sort of perspective.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    These are remarkably unimpressive. A neighbor has one with the M Appearance package which makes it double hilarious.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    We are leasing a GLC300. A friend recently bought a new CRV. If I closed my eyes and rode in both, other than the leather seats and the better stereo, I likely wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Actually, I might be able to, as there is more space in the CRV.

    The difference in these types of vehicles is mostly the badge and a few interior bits.

    Next time we’re in the market, I’d love to try this experiment with my wife. Sadly, she’s not impressed with my sneaky parlor tricks that reveal things like this, and people buy cars for completely biased reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “But what will the neighbors think if we’re driving a mere Honda?”

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      I, too, am leasing a GLC300. When I got mine a year ago, I cross shopped the CR-V and the SantaFe. The issue was real world pricing. All three ended up around $400/ month with $2K or $3K down. I figured if the payments were all about the same, I’d rather drive the GLC300. I think that I got an unusually great deal, shopping with the USAA auto insurance buying service. But again, the point is not the sticker price, but what the out the door deal is. Since the X3 is the BMW that compares with the GLC300, I would NEVER pay anywhere near these lists prices for a small X1.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Since the CRV has an interior noise level of 72db at 70 and the GLC is 68 at 70 and 3 decibels represents a doubling of acoustic energy, I’m curious why you didn’t notice such a huge difference? The GLC is significantly quieter.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Noise measurements don’t account for road surface differences, the stereo being used or the HVAC fan speed. Aren’t those noise tests all performed with windows up/HVAC and radio off? I’ve never done that.

        Also, we ride around without the cargo cover in the back of the GLC, which likely contributes to an increase in noise.

        When you replace tires, there’s usually a change in tire noise, too.

        I get why the interior noise level measurement is done… It’s just that there are too many variable to direct compare vehicle to vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        grein002

        10 decibels represents a perceived doubling of sound volume. 6db represents a perceived 50% increase in sound volume. 3db is the smallest decibel increase that humans are typically able to discern in most environments. It would not surprise me that the dfference between 72db and 68db might not be readily noticeable, especially considering other factors such as the spectrum of noise in each case.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, here’s how to solve the price problem:
    https://www.carmax.com/car/19173460

    Drop a couple extra grand on the Maxcare warranty, and you’re set. At +/- $30,000, with that kind of mileage, it makes sense. But forty-nine large? Nope.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Wow….the lease company likely made money on that deal…just avg 6k miles per year!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Not uncommon at all with used luxury-brand cars – if you read the fine print on those super-low lease deals you see, they’re typically “ultra low mileage leases.”

        The previous owner of my car put less than 10,000 miles a year on it.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        My IS300 lease is just about to pass the 1.5 year mark and I just crossed 6k miles. Total. I didn’t drive a lot as it is, but since March it sits 6 days a week and when it does go out it’s usually less than 10 miles total. I’ve put gas in it once in the last 2 months and it was at half a tank.
        I may be forced to buy it at the end.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      … and if Carmax is asking that much, the real market price is a few grand less than this.

      In the mid 20’s, yeah, this makes sense. Good find. Just need to find one with the upgraded seats. The base seats in the X1 are just bad.

  • avatar
    kavatski

    We’ve had a 2019 X1 for just over a year and still really like it. After trying out a number of its competitors, the X1 was the only one that really hit the mark for us in terms of size (not too big, not too small), premium feel, and the driving experience. I agree, the steering is a bit uninvolving, but my wife doesn’t care and the rest of the drive is sporty enough to suit me—and that’s saying something given that my usual ride is a Cooper S hatch. Zero regrets in choosing the X1.

    That said, here in Canada the X1 is packaged and priced differently. Our “Premium Enhanced” uplevel version with most of the desirable goodies and leather stickered for C$49k or US$37k before fees. At that price, I’m happy. But at US$49k (C$65k)? No. Here, that’ll almost get you into a base X3 M40i.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    My brother was interested in X3 and after rebates and costco price it was $45k before tax. Why would anyone take an X1 over X3 given close pricing range ? My brother didn’t buy the X3 as the seats were too hard and he liked his VW Golf Alltrack much better than x3.

    • 0 avatar
      bufguy

      I traded my 2013 X3 for a 2018 Alltrack….I prefer the Alltrack….A brand new Alltrack SE was cheaper than my 3 year old 13 X3 CPO. The Alltrack handles better and the interior finished just as nice….add the 6 year warranty and the Alltrack is a much better vehicle

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife, after her 2003 MINI Cooper S went to the great car scrapyard in the sky, went on a car shopping jaunt by herself.

    One of her test drives was in a X1 much like this one – 2.0T, architecture based on the MINI Countryman, AWD, heads up display.

    Her response? “It drove like a small mini van. It reminded me of the Countryman (we used to own). It was okay.”

    The car she liked the most? An Audi A4 quattro with a stick shift but the miles were to high. She ended up with 11 year old Infiniti just for the large interior room, an important consideration with a 6’7 teenage son!

  • avatar
    Danddd

    On my second 3 series wagon. I loved the performance feel of my 06 wagon, fun to drive and all with the added bonus of hauling capability. The 16 lost the steering feel and I won’t be back when the time comes to replace, which will be a while. That being said, there isn’t a wagon available in Camry or Accord type pricing. I’d be all over an Accord wagon. There seems to be a stigma against wagons. Twice I’ve been told ‘such a cute car’. What every guy wants to hear, LOL. Why wouldn’t you want the combo of spirited driving and hauling capability… because most people don’t have the cognitive capability of desertion.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I know you can do this with any premium-priced product but, in this case, it’s really eye-opening if you expand the class to include non-premium brands. Is the X1 really better than, say, a CX-5? Is it worse?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    That’s not a BMW wagon. This is a BMW wagon:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/vellum-venom-vignette-bmw-328-328/

    And it is just as delightful today as when I picked it up in Munich nine years ago. As reliable as sunrise and sunset too.

    That said, the X1 is perfectly fine for what it is, a MINI Countryman in adult clothing. Of course it’s overpriced – all of these silly crossovers are. But it’s no wagon.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ajla: “So put a $100,000 tax on ICE powered cars” Within the US, and considering SCOTUS cases in last 25...
  • MRF 95 T-Bird: I used to see a turquoise MX-3 with the 1.8 V6 in my neighborhood up until a decade ago. It’s been...
  • spookiness: I was in school in northern Europe in the very early 90’s and there were quite a few of the prior...
  • Scott_314: Politician: if you want 100% EV in 2030, fine. But that means 10% EV in 2021 and 20% EV in 2022. So put a...
  • ajla: “In most areas (even Montana, USA), there are sufficient L2 or better public charging stations _already_...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber