The much-anticipated BMW X1s are at dealerships now, instead of the fall, as previously expected! They’ve been available in Europe since 2009, but because of high production demands, release to the U.S. was delayed. Now that they’ve arrived in the States, sales are expected to skyrocket, as they have in Europe and other countries across the globe.
Recently, while I was at my local dealership, I saw two 2013 BMWs X1s being prepped for display. Not content to remain on the sidelines, I didn’t hesitate when given the opportunity to take one for a test drive. As an owner of an X5, and having previously driven an X3, here are my impressions.
The X1s external dimensions are smaller in all directions than other BMW SUVs. In comparison, the X3 is 183 inches long, 74 inches wide, and 65 inches high; the X1 is 177 inches long, 71 inches wide, and 61″ high. However, if you put a X3 badge on an X1, it would be hard to tell them apart, unless they were parked next to each other.
Inside, the styling of the X1 it is very similar to the larger X Series BMWs, but some concessions have been made to accommodate the smaller cabin size. There are fewer interior accents, but otherwise you won’t see much difference in its décor. If you’re familiar with the instrumentation layout of other BMW SUVs, you’ll feel right at home with the X1 layout
The X1s interior design differs from the larger X Series SUVs in some key ways. Here are 6 interior differences I noticed.
- As in traditional sports cars, the parking brake in the X1 is engaged by pulling the lever next to the center console, instead of an electronic toggle switch.
- The gear shift has the older slide-style design, instead of the electronic joystick seen in other models.
- Despite the reduced interior area, the front seating is still comfortable, partly because of the ample head room design of SUVs. However, rear passenger seating is confining, particularly if the front seats are fully pushed back.
- If you don’t pack lightly, you might have some problems fitting everything in the trunk. The X1 has slightly less than 15 cubic feet of cargo space, compared to almost 28 cubic feet available in the X3.
- If you’re accustomed to the high seating position in most SUVs, you’ll quickly notice the difference when you slip behind the wheel of the X1. Instead of getting a bird’s-eye view of my surroundings, I felt more like I was sitting in a passenger car.
- The X1 only had one permanent cup holder for the front-seat passengers, but BMW apparently noticed the deficiency and attached a second cup holder to the console.
Taking the X1 for a Drive
I started the twin turbo 4-cylinder 28i engine and headed out to find some winding roads. After all, you haven’t fully tested a BMW unless you see how it reacts to lateral Gs. It was no surprise that the X1 has great handling DNA, which is typical of bimmers. It stuck like glue to the road, and the 240 hp 28i engine had plenty of power. Without a doubt, with the larger 300 hp 35i engine, the X1 will be even more of a blast to drive.
My Final Verdict
I think the X1 is too small for a SUV. Perhaps, because I own an X5, the size difference is too much of an adjustment for me. However, if you’re looking for a scaled down SUV that provides plenty of horsepower and creature comforts, you’ll enjoy the X1. With an estimated gas mileage of 22/33 mpg, and a base price $6,000 less than that of the X3, it has immediate appeal for anyone looking for an SUV that will provide the ultimate driving experience.