Good looks intersect with affordability in the 2018 BMW X1, the automaker's most affordable model. The wagon-like utility vehicle comes with a strong engine and spacious cargo area, and is the only BMW with standard front-wheel drive.

Best Value

Our “best value” pick is the standard sDrive28i, the base front-wheel drive version with a retail price of $34,895 (including a $995 destination charge). Buyers in markets where wintry conditions are common should consider the all-wheel drive xDrive for an additional $2,000.

The X1 offers two design options: xLine and M Sport, the latter adding $4,650. The operative word is design, as this vehicle brings in the look of M models without the performance upgrades. As such, we recommend sticking with the xLine design.

From there, buyers have two tier choices to consider above the base trim: Convenience ($2,500), which brings keyless entry, a moonroof, power-folding mirrors, ambient lighting, a universal garage-door opener, satellite radio, and auto-dimming interior, exterior, and rearview mirrors, and Premium ($5,800), which builds on the Convenience Tier and adds adaptive LED headlights, navigation with real-time traffic information, a head-up display, remote services, and active driving assistant technology. We equipped our "best value" pick with the Premium Tier.

  • Model: 2018 BMW X1 Premium
  • Engine: 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged I4
  • Output: 228 hp/258 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 23 city/32 highway
  • Options: Our best value pick is equipped with the Premium Tier for an additional $5,800 and the optional sport seats ($400).
  • Base Price: $34,895 (including $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $41,095

Performance

Audi Q3

The 2018 BMW X1 produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission works alongside this engine. Unfortunately, BMW doesn't offer a manual transmission, which would be an ideal standard pairing for the front-wheel drive model.

The X1’s engine is found in other BMW applications, including the 3 Series. Tuned for this model, this engine offers a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds. Drivers will feel confidence when passing, and if trips take owners through the mountains, the X1 doesn’t flag. We especially like the transmission, as it quickly shifts up and down the gear range. The paddle shifters afford manual control of the same, delivering a more engaged driving experience.

The X1 makes an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Choose all-wheel drive and a 22/31 mpg city/highway rating is within reach. Both numbers are in the upper range of this segment.

Interior and Exterior

BMW successfully brings its design language to this wagon-like utility vehicle. The familiar BMW twin-kidney grille and sleek headlights execute well. Beautiful profile sculpting and flowing lines effectively tie this model to its rear end, where they gently end.

Inside, the X1 offers an uncomplicated cabin with a fairly spartan look. A large screen sits on top of the dashboard with richer hides and wood accents available, but for a premium price. The standard front seats have hard bottoms and insufficient lateral support. For this reason, we suggest upgrading to the sport seats. The X1 seats four adults in comfort, although there are seat belts for five.

Standard features include power front seats, imitation leather seats, a seven-speaker audio system with CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and satellite radio. There's also dynamic cruise control and a rearview camera.

The Best and Worst Things

The standard front seats demand an upgrade to the sport seats, but the best seats in the house are in the back. The near 60 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded makes the X1 an ideal model for weekend getaways for you and a friend.

Right For...

Audi Q3

The first-time BMW owner on a budget. Let’s face it: BMWs are typically pricey. Yet, it's still the status symbol of up-and-coming young executives. The X1 delivers a more affordable entry point, perhaps enabling buyers to keep up with their student loan payments while enjoying a BMW.

Wrong For...

Thrill seekers. Although the X1 packs ample power, the other X models deliver superior steering feedback.

The Bottom Line

Finding a new BMW for under $40,000 is a challenge, but the X1 delivers. It has the look of other BMW models, although it shares its front-wheel drive platform with the Mini Countryman. That said, the X1 should only whet buyer's appetite for all things BMW, which is exactly what the automaker succeeds in doing.