I love BMWs, so when I heard about the new engine and vehicles, I got this itch to go drive one. I went over to Open Road BMW and was lucky enough to try out the X1. Don’t let the X fool you into thinking the X1 is an SUV (or SAV in BMW’s definitions), because it definitely does not feel like one. The chassis is based off of the old 3-series and 1-series, which by no means makes the X1 anything other than sporty. Normally I would mention the price between the variations and the options, but it’s a BMW, so you should not be worrying about prices as much. Just a note: a top spec X1 xDrive28i is just shy of $43000. I am instead going to concentrate on the sensation and practicality of owning an X1.
There are 3 variations of the X1: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, and xDrive35i. The sDrive might be hard to come by due to it being rear wheel drive only; you will have to search around or order one through BMW. The xDrive28i is equipped with the new 242 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque, twin-scroll, turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder, replacing the old inline 6 to provide as much horsepower while improving fuel economy to 33-mpg highway. The smaller engine barely contributes to the fuel economy. The main factor is the 8-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, but you only need up to 7th gear for most Jersey highway speeds. The 8th gear is mostly for speeds higher than 90 mph, and it is not good to go that fast no matter how much money you save. There is still a little lag due to the turbo but it is not a nuisance. Just pop the shifter into S-mode and brace for the immediate acceleration. I will tell you a trick that many people, including some dealers, don’t know about. When you press the peddle to the metal and feel a click, it puts the car into S-mode without you having to take your hand off the steering wheel, and disengages as soon as you lift your foot up pass the click.
If you feel that 242 hp is not enough, then the xDrive35i and its twin powered inline 6 with 300 hp will be your choice. Paired with an improved six speed STEPTRONIC transmission from the 1-series, you get 27 mpg highway only, but I would take that power boost over money for the thrill of feeling your head depressing into the head rest in a crossover. Most people won’t feel the difference between a 28 and a 35, but sitting in the 35 makes me reminisce about the feeling of sitting in the last generation 3-series.
Let’s get inside this amazing work of craftsmanship. The leatherette upholstery is quite flawless in stitching and the driver’s seat, though hard, feels very comfortable. It makes you feel like you are sitting in a sports car, and will hold you steady when you drive it like one as well. The backseats are supposed to sit three, but the middle passenger will not have legroom due to the bulge from the drive shaft running down the middle. The ones that you can sit in still feel hard, but are shaped in such a way that you can take a long ride in them and won’t feel tired. You get 56 cubic feet of trunk space upon folding down the backseats. The trunk is not as big as some competitors’, but then again the car is not as big as its competitors. Satellite navigation, sound systems, and many other add-ons are expensive but the back up camera and sensor are handy. You may need some time to find and get used to all the buttons, but they feel nice to press. The dashboard has the normal gauges for fuel, speed and RPM, but what I like most is the needle telling you fuel consumption instead of a read out on a screen. In the small screen between the gauges is a little screen that gives you other information, such as the odometer and the range left on the tank.
Thanks for the help of Hazi Ayyash at Open Road BMW in Edison.