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2018 BMW X1 Overview
The BMW X1 is an outlier in the German automaker’s lineup. Whereas most of BMW’s model range is comprised of rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicles, the X1 is the first model for U.S markets built on a front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform. This decision angered some of BMW’s diehard fans but has ultimately proved a success—so far, 2017 sales of the X1 are up 15.4 percent. The only significant change for the 2018 model relates to the options list—BMW is dropping both the Cold Weather and the Technology package, whose various features will move to other packages or be offered as standalone options.
What makes the X1 so appealing? Part of it might be the luxurious interior. The previous-generation X1 was criticized by reviewers for not living up to the standards of the BMW badge, due to poor material choices and a cramped interior. BMW remedied these issues with the second-generation model, however. Step inside and you’re greeted with a minimalist interior design featuring high-quality materials and controls within easy reach. A variety of trim choices along with upholstery in either leatherette or real leather help the X1 stand out from the growing crowd of subcompact luxury crossovers. Interior space is quite impressive, with plenty of head- and legroom for rear passengers. Somewhat disappointingly, the back seat doesn’t come standard with sliding or reclining capabilities—those will cost you an extra $300. Cargo space is towards the top of the class, with 27.1 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 58.7 cubic feet with the seats folded.
All X1 models come with BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch screen, which can be upgraded to include a larger 8.8-inch screen, navigation, and touchpad controller. The current iDrive system is liked by many reviewers for its quick response times and user-friendliness, and the optional touchpad allows the driver or passenger to input addresses by writing out letters and numbers with a fingertip.
BMW offers the X1 with just one powertrain option—a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the choice of FWD or all-wheel drive (AWD). Previously, the X1 was only available with AWD. Most buyers will be very happy with the X1’s turbo engine, which provides potent acceleration in any given situation, and the automatic transmission with its smooth and unobtrusive shifting. EPA fuel economy figures stand at 23 mpg city, 32 highway, and 26 combined with FWD and 22, 31, and 25 with AWD.
There will be some who will bemoan the fact that the X1 comes with FWD and doesn’t handle as well as other BMW models. But the X1 is still a capable driver’s machine—the suspension helps keep body motions in check, and the steering provides enough feel for a sporting drive.
BMW equips the X1 with a full set of airbags, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and BMW Assist telematics with automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, and stolen-vehicle recovery. If you want a reversing camera or parking assist, you’ll need to order the Driving Assistance package. The Driving Assistance Plus package further adds automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, city collision mitigation, and pedestrian detection, and unlocks the optional adaptive cruise control. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been the only group to crash-test the X1, where the 2017 model earned Top Safety Pick status.
Pricing for the 2018 BMW X1 begins at $33,900.
Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.
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