2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i Review

Monday February 29th, 2016 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

By David Colman

Hypes: Spacious and Airy Cabin, M Class Handling
Gripes: Chintzy Toolkit, Slow launch in “Drive”

In the new BMW X1, you sit much closer to the nose because the engine is now mounted sideways in the front compartment rather than lengthwise as in the previous X1. This reallocation of space has decided benefits for the driver, who now looks over a 9 inch shorter hood. Such a cab forward driving position promotes excellent frontal sightlines. The sidewinder X1 is also more responsive to changes in direction than the model it replaces, quicker to transition laterally, and altogether more rewarding for you to drive aggressively.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Once underway, the X1 surprises you with its dramatic rush of power. It instantly snaps and snarls its way from peak torque to peak horsepower. To extract maximum performance, however, the X1 driver must maintain close oversight of the Steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission. For such a small displacement, peaky power plant, appropriate gear selection is essential. What I most missed during my week with the X1 were paddle shifts, which are unfortunately not part of the standard equipment package. I repeatedly found myself tapping the back of the steering wheel, searching for non-existent paddles.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Even in this comparatively small 175 inch long SUV, back seat passengers fare very well. Their rear windows slot all the way into the rear doors, un unexpected pleasure for any claustrophobic rear seat occupant. The optional “Panoramic moonroof,” included in the $3,250 Premium Package, adds further airiness to the soaring greenhouse. And the X1 encourages you to maximize use of all that space by providing a pair of tail-mounted buttons to drop both rear seats flat. This gives you a loading platform good for 59 cubic feet of stuff. If you leave the rear seats upright, baby Bimmer still offers 27 cubic feet of cargo space.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Should such practicality leave you unimpressed, there’s always the promise of cracking performance to keep you enticed. This time around, the X1 offers just one power train for North America, the 2.0 liter TwinPower Turbo, which makes 228hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Tech addicts will enjoy monitoring engine output through virtual gauges called “Sport Displays.” Use the iDrive controller between the front seats to select Main Menu, then ping Sport Displays. Brightly illuminated gauges showing Power and Torque then appear on the 6.5 inch central dash screen. These provide real time value readings, with bugs set to record high values. You’ll be surprised at how frequently you reach peak torque (at just 1250 rpm), and how infrequently you max out horsepower (at 6500 rpm).

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

When a possible passing situation presented itself, I slotted the console mounted lever into the Manual gate, and bumped the shift stick forward as many times as it took to select 2nd gear from the 8 available ratios. Then the X1 was ready to do some serious traffic shredding. Especially athletic on rain slicked pavement, this petite sports utility leads the mini-SUV pack in all-weather traction. Mid-turn, lean on the power as hard as you can, and you’ll find it impossible to break either end of the X1 loose.

BMW has redesigned its xDrive system with new hardware that occupies less chassis real estate while providing improved fore/aft torque distribution. To be sure, the tall and boxy platform will pitch a bit when goosed in a turn. Though this characteristic requires minor horsing from the wheel, forward bite never disappears. Thanks to standard M-Sport suspension, intelligent all-wheel-drive, and standard issue 18 inch Y-Spoke light alloy wheels, the X1 is able to maximize grip from Pirelli’s run flat version of the legendary P7 Cinturato (225/50R18).

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

With a few notable exceptions, the cabin configuration of the new X1 is first class BMW. Bear in mind that our sample vehicle benefitted from the following 10 Premium Package upgrades: power folding mirrors, garage door opener, keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, auto dimming mirrors, lumbar support, ambient lighting, LED cornering headlights, and one year satellite radio service. The LED headlights hone in on back road apexes like a laser. Just the Panoramic moonroof and LED lights justify the $3,250 extra expense of the Premium Package.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4 cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 228hp
  • Torque: 258lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $45,220
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Wednesday July 24th, 2013 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Sportiest BMW SUV, Stop/Start Override Switch Relocated
Gripes: Tilted-Down Wheel Obscures Turn Signal Lights

BMW’s most petite SUV, the X1, is available in 3 varieties: 28i front wheel drive (base price $30,650), 28i all wheel drive ($32,350) and 35i AWD ($38,450). The major difference between the 28i and 35i models lies under the hood. The 28i uses the same four cylinder engine found in the base model 3-Series sedan, a 2.0 liter, direct injected, inline 4 that depends on twin turbos to make 240hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The more expensive 35i houses a turbocharged straight 6 which ups horsepower to 300hp and torque to 300 lb.-ft. You get a standard 8-speed steptronic automatic transmission in the 28i, and a 6-speed automatic in the 35i.

We spent a week driving the AWD or “xDrive” 28i. Even though this variant checked in with a base price of $32,350, a slew of expensive options easily floated the final sales price to $45,245, well past the base price of the top line 35i. The “M Sport Line” group, for example, adds $3,000 to the sticker, but provides such niceties as a fat rimmed “M” steering wheel equipped with paddle shifts, sports suspension, raised top speed limiter, and 18 inch “M-style” alloy rims with Pirelli P7 run flat tires (225/45R18 front, 255/40R18 rear). BMW even throws in a few cosmetic touches like shadowline exterior trim, M branded entry sill plates and a substantial M-emblazoned aluminum dead pedal.

The aggressive Pirelli tires muster enough lateral gForce to give the uprated, M-calibrated springs, dampers and sway bars a real workout. During quick back road jaunts, you’ll enjoy the light and agile nature of this SUV. While ride remains firm and somewhat choppy due to the X1’s stiff M suspension and short 108.7 inch wheelbase, the tradeoff in comfort is well worth the payoff in handling. The M Sport equipped X1 does a great job of emulating a 1 or 3 Series BMW sports sedan, and because it is shorter, narrower and lighter (3,527 lbs.) than the X3 (4,112 lbs.), the X1 wins the BMW SUV sport contest hands down.

Because performance of the small displacement turbo 4 is very dependent on rpm range for thrust, you’ll need to keep a sharp eye on gear choice. If given its druthers, the X1’s steptronic gearbox will always defer to top (8th) gear when you select “D,” which means you’ll be trundling along at 1,000rpm with almost no immediate forward thrust available unless you floor the gas or downshift manually. To obviate this problem, just slide the floor stick into the manual shift gate, pop a series of downchanges with the paddles, and keep the little four banger on full boil at 3,000rpm or so. If you do decide to take the slacker’s route to easy driving, you can let the steptronic select top gear and expect to average 26 MPG in mixed driving cycles.

Despite the fact that this is an entry level BMW, there is no evidence of penuriousness in the interior. Lovely, faintly cross-hatched matte aluminum trim graces the dash, door panels and center console, while pebbled and grippy “Nevada” leather covers the ultra comfortable M front seats. The only instance where you might feel short changed is the inaccessible rearward positioning of the center console bin, and the fact that its interior is mostly occupied by a phone platform. The rear seats slouch just enough to make extended travel for adults reasonable, with the caveat that headroom is extremely limited for ingress and egress.

The X1 carries BMW’s 4 year/50,000 mile “Full Maintenance Program,” which includes Roadside Assistance. When we first started driving this X1, the steering effort required to turn the wheel seemed high, so we stopped by our local dealer, Sonnen BMW in San Rafael, for a check. Without hesitation, the service advisor took the X1 for a turn around the lot, then asked his technician for a drive and opinion. The technician checked the front tire pressures, drove the X1 and pronounced it AOK. He said that steering on the AWD model is slightly heavier than that of the FWD version because AWD still uses a hydraulic pump versus the FWD’s electric power steering. After a day or so, I became used to the high effort steering, but after a week, I was still impressed with the gracious and helpful treatment I received at the hands of Sonnen BMW.

2013 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • Engine: 2.0 liter in line 4, 16 valve, twin turbocharged, direct injection
  • Horsepower: 240 hp
  • Torque: 260 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22 MPG City/33 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $45,245
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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