2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review: A Bavarian butter knife that cuts to the core

2016 BMW X1

The 2016 BMW X1 is the latest proof that the crossover segment is red hot and continues to give family sedans a run for their money. Why else would a company known for making the ultimate driving machine raise the center of gravity and add heft while developing a new vehicle? I took the X1 to the mountains, around the city, and on flat highways. After spending a week with the X1 xDrive28i it started to make sense as the Bavarian utility knife of BMW’s arsenal.

Powered by the same 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo 4-cylinder that can be found in other BMWs, as well as some MINIs, the X1 xDrive28i has a manufacturer-claimed 0-60 of 6.3 seconds. The engine is rated at 228 hp at 5,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,450-4,500 rpm and feeds the wheels via an 8-speed auto with manual and Sport modes. EPA fuel economy estimates for the vehicle 22/32/26 mpg city/hwy/combined.

While we did not conduct an official acceleration test of the vehicle, I can say that I capitalized on smaller gaps between cars than I normally do when pulling out in traffic. The turbo spools up quickly so as to inspire confidence in such situations, even in Comfort mode. ECO mode, while noticeably slower, is adequate for most daily driving situations but unless you’re looking to save a few pennies at the pump I wouldn’t recommend it. Switch to Sport mode and the X1 comes to life. Throttle response is more aggressive and the revs are held higher. It’s as if the car got an injection of creatine and coffee and is ready to do another set of suicides.

Sitting higher than the typical family sedan, the X1 has enough ground clearance to make the transition from suburban street to driveway head-on instead of requiring the usual angled approach traditional cars sometimes need. The car has also grown in size versus previous X1. It is now roughly one inch wider, two inches taller, but one inch shorter. The car wears its new dimensions well as it is visually more appealing than the frumpy X1 of yore.

Inside, the X1 is unmistakably BMW. The bulbous steering wheel, greeting chimes, and display units would make it hard to determine exactly which BMW you’re in if you were blindfolded upon entry. With a base price of $34,800, our tester came in $46,395 including $995 for destination. Surprisingly absent from our vehicle were adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist, especially considering the car was equipped with the Driver Assistance Package ($1,150), Driver Assistance Plus ($700), Premium Package ($3,250), and the Technology Package ($2,550). What’s a guy gotta do to get adaptive cruise control these days!?

Buy itAlthough the X1 is missing some features found on cars costing much less and in much lower socio-economic ballparks, the crossover plays the role of daily grocery getter, family hauler, and status symbol well, all while satisfying those with inner speed demons. On the TFL scale of Buy It, Lease It, Rent It, or Forget It, the X1 xDrive28i earns a rating of Buy It! due to its practicality as an everyday driver, good looks, and relatively reasonable price for a luxury crossover.

Until we can bring you video of the X1, check out this hyper-luxo Bentley Bentayga playing in the sand.