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The BMW X1 joined the brand's U.S. lineup just two years ago, though it's been a known quantity in Europe for much longer. At least conceptually, it seems like the perfect solution to nailing down style-savvy urbanites with an occasional hankering for off-pavement travel—no matter the continent. However, the X1 has a couple of serious handicaps: It's offered at a price that may cause even BMW shoppers to wince and it's not as space-efficient inside as some might expect.
Thanks to its taller ride height and available all-wheel drive, the 2015 BMW X1 might appeal to rugged types, or it may simply boost the confidence of snow belt dwellers. However, it's smaller than the mid-size X3 crossover, which should still be your go-to if you plan on putting adults in the back seat. The X1 resides somewhere between hot hatchbacks and curt crossovers. At first glance you might think of a 3-Series wagon, mashed a little shorter and lifted a few inches in height. It has BMW's "Sport-Activity Vehicle" profile down pat, yet it's not all that convincing that this isn't a car; there's little in the way of design cues to suggest a pavement-free adventure could happen at any moment. The controls are right where existing BMW drivers expect them; but Any 3-Series driver will take command at the X1's wheel in an instant: the controls are just where BMW drivers expect them. For the rest of us, the very anatomical look is good, but the smattering of dissimilar controls isn't.
There are two and a half flavors of X1 on the market: excessive turbo-six AWD X1 xDrive35i, versatile, turbo-four AWD xDrive28i, and base turbo-four RWD sDrive28i. If you're feeling sporty, the xDrive35i model will run from 0-60 mph in just 5.3 seconds to a top speed of 130 mph. However, we prefer the four-cylinder, especially with all-wheel drive, which can move from 0-60 is a surprising 6.2 seconds.
Expect BMW dynamic excellence here; you'll find very little body roll or dynamic misbehavior, and the X1 doesn't feel flustered being driven like a sport sedan, or by brittle, broken Michigan byroads. Skip the M Sport package and it's capable of soaking up all kinds of small imperfections without skittering over them in unimpressive ways.
Be sure to consider how much space you'll need in a vehicle before you choose the 2015 BMW X1 over the larger BMW X3.
Cargo is what's most been compromised, clearly. With the fold-down options on the rear seatbacks, the cargo area is short and has less than 15 cubic feet with the rear seats up in place; although that expands to 47.7 cubic feet (preliminary specs). For perspective, that's far less cargo space than the Ford Escape, but more like a roomy hatchback.Two golf bags will fit in the space, however.
The X1 is sized more like the subcompact crossovers available today than the compacts that are familiar to more buyers. By rough comparison, it's more Escape, Countryman, and Evoque, than X3, GLK or Q5, with a suitably tall roofline that also makes it something of a last-generation BMW 3-Series wagon.
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