BMW's smallest crossover shakes off any doubt about its legitimacy this year with a bolder exterior and more room inside. The X1 now feels like a proper, albeit junior, member of the brand's utility vehicle family.
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2016 BMW X1 Overview
What's New for 2016
The X1 has been completely redesigned.
Choosing Your BMW X1
The X1 sits on an all-new platform that's taller and wider than before, but still within bounds for the smallest class of luxury crossovers. Passengers sit higher now, and those in back get noticeably more legroom. A sliding and reclining rear seat is available for the first time as an option.
Every X1 carries BMW's new 228-horsepower turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is now standard.
For now, the X1 comes in a single trim level, officially known as xDrive 28i. Standard fare includes selectable driving modes, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats with driver memory, automatic wipers, and a seven-speaker sound system with HD radio and Bluetooth streaming.
The Luxury package adds leather seating and wood or aluminum interior trim. Models so equipped are eligible for Premium package with a panoramic sunroof, keyless access, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, LED headlamps, and ambient interior lighting. Heated front seats are available as part of the Cold Weather package.
The Technology package includes navigation with real-time traffic data, numerous online services, integrated smartphone apps, and a head-up display. The Driver Assistance package tacks on front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and an automated parking system. A Plus version of the same adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, frontal collision mitigation, and pedestrian detection.
Many of the Premium and Technology features can be added individually (picking only your must-haves can help reduce cost). A premium Harman Kardon sound system is also available on a standalone basis.
Although we wish it were standard, the sliding/reclining rear seat is a worthy option at $300. Because the interior feels so inviting when slathered in wood and leather, we also recommend the $1,550 Luxury package. All the other available features are indeed useful, but we're not thrilled over the fact that a fully loaded X1 costs the same as some seven-passenger luxury crossovers.
2016 BMW X1 Review
While BMW’s redesigned 2016 X1 retains qualities like a feisty turbocharged engine, precise steering and sport tuned suspension, the all-new model is less compact hatchback and more crossover SUV, while still offering excellent performance and cargo space.
Pricing and Equipment
The all-new 2016 BMW X1 is available in a single trim level, the xDrive28i, that can be enhanced by à la carte options and more comprehensive option packages. The all-wheel drive X1 is powered by a 2-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Base pricing starts at $34,800 plus a $995 destination and handling charge.
Package pricing varies, but highlights include:
- M Sport Package with sport automatic transmission, aerodynamic kit, M steering wheel, sport seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and more.
- Technology Package that includes remote services, real-time traffic information, navigation, head-up display, and enhanced USB and Bluetooth plus smartphone integration.
- A Luxury Package that upgrades wood accent and leather seating materials.
- And a Premium Package that adds a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, ambient lighting, auto-dimming mirrors, satellite radio, a garage-door opener and more.
BMW actually refers to the X1 as a “sports activity vehicle” boasting equal parts fun and utility. It's hard to argue with this logic. The X1 has a sport-tuned suspension, crisp steering and a fairly potent 2-liter turbocharged engine that produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque -- enough to propel the little crossover from zero to sixty in 6.3 seconds.
The X1 may not be the ideal carpool vehicle, but with the increased interior space of the all-new 2016 model it is easier to imagine small families considering the X1 as a transitional vehicle from a 3 Series coupe.
Fuel economy is adequate in the city at 22 mpg and quite impressive on the highway -- especially considering the segment and sporty driving dynamics -- at 32 miles per gallon.
- The 300-horsepower 3-liter six-cylinder engine is gone for the 2016 model year.
- City fuel economy could be better, but isn't reason enough to scare you away from BMW's excellent performer.
One of the best features of the all-new X1 is that there is more X1 to love. The crossover is almost two inches taller and an inch wider, which means a roomier interior and more cargo space, both prerequisites in any serious crossover offering.
While there are technically five seat belts in the X1, the compact crossover is better thought of as a four-plus-one configuration. In that light, the X1 does well, offering plenty of room for everyone on board.
As you would expect from a luxury brand like BMW, the interior is well designed and the fit and finish are excellent. Sure, this is BMW’s entry level SUV and the pricing of the base model is close to what a non-luxury competitor might charge, but the manufacturer’s interior design DNA is evident throughout the cabin. Adding optional packages will up the luxury factor exponentially, but at a considerable cost.
Cargo space is greatly improved over the outgoing model. Somehow BMW worked its magic, adding three more cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats in place and seven more cubic feet when the 40/20/40 rear seats are down for a maximum of 58.7 cubic feet.
- Many of the interior goodies most buyers want are expensive options.
- The rear seat is fine for two, but a third adult will make it a tight squeeze.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The all-new 2016 BMW X1 offers a smoother and quieter ride than the outgoing model -- and much of the compact luxury crossover’s competition.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The more comfortable ride quality is at the price of sacrificing some of the 2015’s enthusiastic-oriented driving dynamics.
The Bottom Line
BMW has a reputation for creating benchmark vehicles with which other manufacturers strive to keep up. In many ways the 2016 BMW X1 fulfills that role in the compact luxury crossover segment. While larger families will likely need more interior and cargo space, the all-new X1’s cabin space is more than adequate for individuals and smaller families interested in the segment. While not the performance barn-burner that the previous model exemplified, BMW’s refinements have made the new X1 a better option for a much larger car buying audience.
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