BMW 320 vs. BMW X1

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - January 19, 2017

The BMW lineup has gone through a sort of revolution as of late. This includes the redesign of the 3-Series and the 2013 debut of the tiny X1 crossover. Part of the 3-Series update was the arrival of a lower-powered version of the 328's 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, bringing the cost of entry of BMW's popular compact sports sedan to $33,450, a mere $350 more than the X1. While most buyers might never cross-shop the entry-level 320 against the X1 crossover, digging into the details presents a good reason for comparing them.

So, which is the better deal for most entry-level luxury buyers and their families? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the 320 & X1 »

What the 320 Gets Right

The 3-Series gets a quick leg up on the X1 because of its sports sedan lineage. This sedan will deliver a more engaging drive and give you the feel that this legendary lineup has carried for ages. Some buyers will also take notice of the 320’s standard nine-speaker audio system.

Under its hood, the 180-horsepower 320 can’t quite hang with the 228-hp X1, but its 35-mile-per-gallon highway rating easily bests the small crossover.

Finally, those looking for an even more engaging drive can opt for the available Track Handling package. This package is not available on the X1 and adds variable sport steering, M Sport brakes, and an adaptive M Suspension. All of these features push the entry-level 3-Series to performance levels that the high-riding X1 can't touch.

What the X1 Gets Right

The X1 comes in slightly cheaper than the 320, despite its extra rear seat legroom and cargo space. It also has features like a split-folding rear seat, power liftgate, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel going for it.

A 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder produces 228 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. While this isn’t a ton of power, it easily exceeds the 320’s output. This added power also results in a significantly quicker 6.6-second sprint to 60 (0.5 seconds quicker than the 320).

Finally, despite its front-wheel-drive setup – all-wheel-drive is available, just like on the normally rear-drive 320 – the X1 is surprisingly nimble and fun.

Why Consider the 320?

The 320 comes up short in this comparison, but it’s not without trying. It still has the performance edge on the X1, making it the model of choice for buyers seeking more performance, but its sedan body lacks versatility. If you can't see yourself driving a tiny crossover, then the 320 is for you. Otherwise, we suggest the X1.

Verdict: BMW X1

The 320 is great for buyers in need of an affordable sports sedan, but the X1 is a better balance for most buyers. It's not only faster than the 320 in a straight line, but it’s cheaper, more feature-packed, and can comfortably haul cargo and people.

Take a closer look at the BMW 320 »

Take a closer look at the BMW X1 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website