Jeff Vaughn - WXYZ - If you are looking to get behind the wheel of the Ultimate Driving Machine, the BMW X1 crossover is a good place to start.
The X1 is the entry-level BMW Sports Activity Vehicle. The X1 is the smallest in the family of X3, X5 SUVs. BMW also offers an X6 Sports Activity Coupe.
The X1 is one of the cheaper Beemers offered, and even though it's a crossover, it drives like a car, which means you get all the pure joys of driving a vehicle with German engineering and additional cargo not offered in a sedan.
Bayerische Motoren Werke provided me with the X1 xDrive 28i for this review. I found the little crossover fun to drive, a bit pricey and a little too rugged for such a sophisticated brand.
The X1 is not the best looking BMW with its long nose and station wagon look, but under the hood the crossover is a sheep in wolf's clothing. The 2.0 liter TwinPower Turbo 4 cylinder paired with the xDrive 28i all-wheel-drive launches the crossover from stop light to stoplight and gives the driver added traction around turns. According to BMW the xDrive 28i will go from zero to 60 mph in a pulse quickening 6.3 seconds.
The X1 stops as fast as it goes. I found the crossover to have ample braking power. Every 2014 X1 comes with all-wheel antilock disc brakes standard. The X1 also features automatic brake drying for inclement conditions.
The X1 I reviewed is priced at $36,125. Pricey for a car that doesn't offer GPS, electric seats or back-up camera. The interior is spartan. You could spend the same on a fully-loaded Ford Escape and get all the bells and whistles. The X1 is an entry level BMW, but I expected something more for the money. Yes, the performance is there, but this crossover lacks in creature comforts offered standard in cheaper models. Simply put, I don't think the model justifies the price tag.
Here's a look at my LOVES, LIKES and DISLIKES:
LOVE: The performance. The X1 offers the best of both worlds: Quick acceleration and impressive fuel economy. The X1 gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway. Although the Eco-Pro feature robs horsepower, it's a fair trade-off.
LOVE: The driver's seat lumbar support. I didn't like the leatherette seats, but the support was there.
LOVE: SUV stance. I dare you to look at the X1 and call it an SUV. It's too low, less than 61 inches tall. It's a crossover that's more car than SUV, but the visibility is better than a car. It drives larger than it is. Maybe it's the oversized steering wheel and long hood, but it was a pleasant surprise.
LIKE: Interior tie downs. The X1 not only has added storage, but plenty of built-in tie downs in the rear, and passenger doors. Good for keeping stuff in place when you press on the gas.
DISLIKE: The Leatherette seats. I found the standard Leatherette fabric too rugged and abrasive. The fabric is better suited for a true outdoorsy SUV (think Jeep) not for the grocery-getting X1.
DISLIKE: Limited rear seat room. Place a kid in the back and you will have to move your seat up, substantially.