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How Automobiles Work

OPENING MUSIC For years S.U.V.s were, for the
most part, hulking machines. Now it’s
becoming popular to live large in a small one,
and the premium brands have this territory
covered. There’s Audi Q3, Lexus NX, Lincoln MK C,
Mercedes GLA, and this, the BMW X1. The second
generation here looks less like a hatchback, more like it
can, well, do stuff like this. BMW is of course known for its
rear-wheel drive dynamics. X1 is the first vehicle the
company has brought to the United States built on
front drive architecture. Remember, BMW
owns MINI. Get past the twin kidney grill
and the structure beneath is the same one under
the Clubman. However, BMW only brings
all-wheel drive models to US
terrain. Perhaps it’s not ready to offer
a front-drive car yet or the product planners know
about our crumbling
infrastructure… A 2-liter four cylinder with a
twin scroll turbocharger cranks out 228 horsepower and
258 pound feet of torque early in the rev range.
Drive modes change throttle response, steering
effort, and transmission mapping. That gearbox is an
8-speed and it does its job seamlessly… or manually. How fast is it? It takes a moment for the turbo
boost to spool up but X1 is pretty darn quick.
0-60 happens in 6.3 seconds according to BMW. There’s no engine upgrade
available for the Fast and Furious crowd. As
expected for a BMW, the diminutive X drives well. Small cars with shorter
wheelbases can have a bouncy ride quality. X1 is
pretty buttoned down. The chassis structure is very
very rigid. Personally, I like the compact
size of the X1. It makes it very
chuckable in corners. This is a crossover people so
while it might be sporty in the curves, it’s
not a sports car. The nimble size makes it a good
urban attack vehicle, much better than a
Chevy Suburban. Legal or not, U-turns are very
important in urban driving. X1 will be your
partner in crime. Very nicely
done. At an E.P.A. rated average of
26 miles per gallon, X1 is the most fuel efficient
in its segment. Like most in class, the BMW
prefers premium gas. Inside, it certainly looks like
a BMW with serious material upgrades compared to
the outgoing car. Enthusiastic drivers will want
the sport seats with deeper bolsters. Of course iDrive is here to help wrangle all the
features available. X1s base price begins at
$35,795. Add a backup camera and the package is about
$1,150. Keyless ignition is in a $3,200
grouping, at least it provides this big glass roof
and adaptive LED headlights. As tested it’s
$45,370. The package that gets you “auto
braking with pedestrian detection”
eliminates the heated steering wheel, giving new
meaning to the phrase “cold hands, warm heart”. Something that makes X1 more
versatile is an optional sliding rear seat. You can dial
in the amount of leg or cargo room you want. Just
don’t tell the kids you have
it… Cushions are a tad flat, tush
toasters are not available. Other than that, two are good
to go back here, three in a bind. There’s the option
of waving your foot to open the hatch, handy for
those with small squirming kids. Also available are remote
seat releases but this is a small rig, it’s not
really needed. This kind of seat splitting is
mighty handy though. So is a large cargo hold, as an
example, Audi Q3 holds six packs, X1 takes it up
to eight. In case you’re wondering, the X
can get you from Point A to Point B even if
there’s sloppy stuff in between. Moderate off-roading
is no problem, there’s even hill decent
control. X1’s flexible
packaging, nimbleness, and compact form
shine brightest in congested cities. If only the
price tag was as small as the
vehicle. According to the good folks at
BMW, X1 sales have more than doubled in the first
quarter of this year compared to last year with the
previous generation. No surprise, this is a
noticeably better car in a very hot segment. Nose around
on my channel and you find video reviews on the Audi
Q3, Lincoln MK C, Lexus NX, and Mercedes GLA.
Please don’t ask which one is best because I’m a
big believer in you going out to test drive
to determine what works for YOU, not me. I will
say the Lincoln was a pleasant surprised though. There you go gang, that’s my
look at the 2016 BMW X1. I rather like this rig it’s
pretty cool. And remember, if you want to
see these reviews a couple weeks earlier than you
do here, go to The New York Times dot com where
I’m a contributor. No you don’t have to pay you
get at least 10 free articles a month. Alright?
They’re a great operation, I highly recommend them.
They’re The New York Times! That’s Driven, I’m Tom Voelk.

27 thoughts on “2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i Review

  1. I'd get a Kia Sportage, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, or Mazda CX5 any day over this…the more I look at it, the more I dislike the styling and the amount of standard equipment is stupidly low just like every other BMW(except M and 7series)

  2. Look at that blatant cost cutting on those folding rear seats. The bottom doesn't move down in conjunction with the back to create a flat load floor. The Equinox is similar and worst in class.

  3. Hey Tom, I hope things are well on your end. I do have a question though. I was under the impression that the lexus nx and Lincoln mkc were more of acura rdx and bmw x3 competitors. Do they actually compete with the bmw x1? They seem too big. idk. I've seen journalists say one thing and some say the other.

  4. Yeah man, great one. This company seems to make every segment of car possible and this one looks so much better then gen1.. Gonna check you out on the NYTs site. Keep em coming!!

  5. The model reviewed here was $45,000, which is roughly where the Mazda CX-9 tops up. Interesting. The later would be better, imo.

  6. A 4 cylinder, turbo, fwd, crossover… that's a BMW. Wow, where has this brand gone, and what the hell is it doing to the equity of its heritage?

  7. $3200 for keyless entry? And $1100 for a backup camera? B!tch please! BMW has lost their minds. I've driven compact rental cars with keyless entry and standard backup cameras. 😒

  8. Hey Tom Volk Driven Car Reviews,

    Why haven't you reviewed the Tesla Model X? Id love to see your reaction towards driving the Model X Daily in the Seattle area

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