Instruments and displays carry right through from other BMW models; with big, round analog gauges, supplemented by a head-up display, you can get just the right amount of information right in the line of sight. At the center of the dash there’s also the superb, 8.8-inch wide-screen control display, which utilizes essentially the same version of the COMAND interface that’s in BMW’s larger and more expensive models. It has a touchpad controller on top of a twist-push knob, and some voice-command functionality.
The Driver Assistance Plus package, which the test car had, adds Lane Departure Warning, integrated speed-limit info, automatic high beams, and a frontal collision warning system with pedestrian warning and city collision. There’s also a parking assistant to help spot parallel parking spaces.
The 2016 X1 with xDrive starts at $35,595, but our test car added up to $43,945 and included that plus a Premium Package (LED headlamps, ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, garage-door opener, satellite radio, and more) plus the Technolocy Package (BMW Apps support, remote services, and the touchpad), as well as some upgraded trims.
A different, more mature personality in the crowd of small crossovers
Altogether, BMW has clearly taken a different path with the X1 than some of its rivals have with other models. It doesn’t have either the stocky, planted feeling of the Mercedes-Benz GLA or the raised-hatchback impression that you walk away from with time in the Audi Q3. Yet it has space. Lots of it. And getting in and out is super-easy. However the X1 doesn’t impress as driver-centric or performance-focused; it makes the Mazda CX-3 feel sports-car like by comparison.
BMW fans, rather ironically, should probably consider the MINI Countryman for their garage if they like the X1’s form factor. While aesthetically the MINI is in a different place entirely, it manages to keep a little closer to the crisp handling and (perceived) lower seating position that we know and love in BMWs—and makes them feel zoomy and inspiring.
The X1 is more docile, comfortable, and quiet than that, and while it’s a disconnect from the past, the reality check is that it will sell far better than the old X1.
The enthusiasts are just going to have to come to terms with that.