The 2017 X1 is BMW's smallest and most affordable utility vehicle, yet it offers a surprising amount of passenger and cargo space. It delivers trademark BMW quality inside and out, and despite having less power than earlier versions, the X1 still accelerates and handles better than most in its class.
The X1 starts with a front-wheel-drive chassis shared with the Mini Cooper family (BMW owns Mini), a portfolio of small cars known for their nimble handling. From there it gets a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers plenty of power and reasonable mileage thanks to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is also available for those who need extra traction in winter weather.
A sizable cabin makes the X1 comfortable for adults front and rear, while the wide open cargo area has more space than most of the other crossovers in this class. Advanced technology features such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance and a color head-up display are also available.
With the growing class of small luxury crossovers, the BMW X1 is still one of the most appealing choices. Competitors including the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA250 have many of the same features, but adults will have trouble getting comfortable in their snug backseats. Both crossovers are also quite a bit slower than the X1. The distinctly styled Lexus NX 200t has a nicely appointed cabin of its own and a good-sized rear seat but offers less cargo space.
The larger and more expensive Acura RDX is better suited to families than the others and remains an excellent value for shoppers who prefer a six-cylinder engine. An X1 can still work for a small family. Its predecessor was more focused on a sporty driving experience, but today's model is far more practical and worth considering if you want a useful luxury crossover with big spirit and a small footprint.
The BMW X1 comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes (with automatic brake drying), front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, active front-seat head restraints and hill descent control. The BMW Assist emergency communications system also comes standard and provides automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery and on-demand roadside assistance.
Optional safety equipment includes the rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors that are part of the basic Driver Assistance package. The Plus version of that package provides more advanced driver aids such as a front collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning.
In Edmunds testing, an X1 with 19-inch wheels and all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 109 feet, an exceptionally short stopping distance for a car in this class. The X1 also earned high marks in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, posting a top Good score in the small- and moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) categories.
2017 BMW X1 configurations
The 2017 BMW X1 is a small luxury crossover that seats five. It's offered in X1 sDrive28i (front-wheel-drive) or X1 xDrive28i (all-wheel-drive) trim levels.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, driver seat/side mirror memory settings, premium vinyl upholstery and a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat. Standard electronic features include BMW's iDrive interface with a touchpad controller and a 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a seven-speaker sound system with HD radio, a CD player and a USB input.
Several options packages are available for the X1. The Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, power folding side mirrors, front seat power lumbar, and interior ambient lighting. The Luxury package adds real leather upholstery and wood or aluminum trim, while the Technology package is a must for smartphone power users; it packages BMW's integrated smartphone apps, navigation and an upgraded 8.8-inch display screen.
Opting for the M Sport package offers a choice of different 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels, sportier programming for the automatic transmission, a sport-tuned suspension, exterior aerodynamic trim pieces, sport seats, and an M Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. Note that this package requires that you order performance run-flat tires as a no-cost add-on in lieu of the standard all-season, run-flat tires.
The Driver Assistance package comes in two levels and bundles several safety features. The base package includes a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated system that can parallel park for you. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds a front collision warning/mitigation system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high-beams, and speed limit information. The Plus package must be purchased in combination with the adaptive cruise control option.
The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, although you lose the heated wheel if you also opt for the Driver Assistance Plus package.
One individual option that most X1 buyers should consider is the reclining/sliding (fore and aft) rear seat, which also includes power-folding capability. Other notable single options include 19-inch wheels and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
The 2017 BMW X1 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The X1 is available in either front- or all-wheel drive (the latter includes hill descent control).
In Edmunds testing, an X1 with 19-inch all-season tires accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, making it one of the quicker small crossovers in the segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg combined (23 city/32 highway). The all-wheel-drive X1 gets 25 mpg combined.
Most shoppers will be happy with the X1's turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It delivers its power in a silky, linear fashion under most driving conditions and returns solid fuel economy relative to its power rating. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and unobtrusively, although you need to set the X1 in Sport mode to feel its full potential.
The previous-generation BMW X1 was known for extraordinary handling and athleticism. You'll still have a blast driving the new, second-gen model in tight turns and long sweeping curves, but generally the X1 feels more like a utility vehicle and less like a sport sedan. Ride comfort takes greater priority on the 2017 BMW X1, though you'll likely want to avoid the 19-inch wheels if you regularly drive on rough roads.
The current X1 has one of the most elegant cabins in the price range. The dash looks and feels expensive, combining BMW's classic analog gauges with modern technology and high-quality materials, but you'll need to pony up extra for the larger 8.8-inch display to enjoy the full effect.
One option worth the money is the reclining/sliding rear seat. With the seats upright, you have 17.8 cubic feet available for groceries and cargo. Folded down (at the touch of a button), the upgraded rear seats open up 58.7 cubic feet, which is an above-average volume for a small luxury crossover. Owners will also find plenty of small storage slots in the front seat, as well as a fold-flat front seat that makes carrying extra-long items possible.
BMW's iDrive technology interface continues to improve with each iteration. It's easy to use, with an integrated touchpad on the main control dial that lets you scrawl text and number inputs with your fingertip. The menu structure is straightforward, and processing times are fast, helping minimize distraction.