Stylish, sleek and very well equipped, the 2016 BMW X1 features all the opulence you’d expect from the brand, nicely packaged in a compact effortless design.
Style, Trim & Finish
The 2016 BMW X1 is the winner of the fashion show, with it’s classic BMW SUV appearance, sleek lines and unique headlights, it’s easy to see why this compact SUV is so popular.
The trim and finish in the X1 is top notch – materials are high quality, and the thoughtful design is so thoughtful you’ll hardly notice it’s been designed that way. You’ll be stumped to tell the difference between the real leather and the faux leather in this version, unlike the previous X1 which had plastic for seats.
Small touches such as the ‘floating’ dash buttons, achieved by raising the buttons above a background of silver to create a minimal and clean look that allows the driver and passenger to focus on what’s important.
The small and meaty steering wheel provides and excellent place to hold on while you throw the car around corners. And the electronically adjustable side supports will coddle even the neediest passenger.
Would you expect anything less than opulence from BMW? No, not at any level. And the X1 does not disappoint, with features like an expansive moon roof, keyless entry with ‘kick to open’ rear tailgate, unique front LED headlights, automatic headlamps, wipers and rearview mirror, and a list of standard equipment you didn’t even know you needed (really, who knew I needed so much storage in the trunk!?).
You won’t feel like you’re in a lower class from the rest of the BMW family in the X1, just a smaller, more compact method of delivery.
Buy it for looks, buy it for practicality, and buy it for fun. Despite being front-wheel drive most of the time the X1 has a sporty and commanding sense about it on the road. Accelerate, and you’ll soon reach 100km/h and be notified by the speed warning feature (you can change/disable this). Toss the car around a corner sharply and you’ll feel like all four wheels are glued to the road, it’s easy to forget your driving a compact SUV and start to think you’re in a smaller, lower, nimbler sports car.
You’ll have a hard time finding a car that performs both as a sports car when necessary and a competent all-wheel driver SUV when needed. This is in part due to the dynamic system that drives the car in front-wheel mode until the computer senses you need the extra help of all wheels.
Engine & Performance
In Canada the X1 comes standard with a 4 cylinder 2 litre turbo charged engine, producing 228 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque. More than sufficient to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in under 7 seconds. Combined with the X-Drive all wheel drive system that actives only when needed, the rest of the time its front-wheel drive, you’ll also experience superb fuel economy with this delightful beauty.
The clear competitors in the German luxury segment for the BMW X1 are the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, and the less obvious Mercedes B250.
Experiencing the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 side by side and you’ll easily see the differences. Both in size and quality of finish. The X1 is marginally larger although hardly feels large when you’re driving, but offers a noticeable increase in interior volume. Stepping into the Audi Q3 one immediately feels like they’re inside a Volkswagen, albeit a Volkswagen with a designer dress on – the sense of high quality materials just does not exist in the Audi in the same way it does in the BMW.
Get too intimate with the Mercedes GLA and you’ll find yourself thinking the same thing. Mercedes has a tenancy of making their cheaper cars, well, cheaper. This is obvious. You also won’t have the same sense of vastness when seated in the Mercedes GLA, the BMW X1 is absolutely cavernous, and you won’t find that with either the Q3 or GLA.
The Mercedes B250 seems like an odd comparison, but it’s got four doors and a hatch just like the rest of them. While the B250 suffers from the same low-quality feeling of the GLA it also suffers from a sense of intense sedateness on the road. It’s comfortable but rather dull to drive.