BMW's smallest crossover is a canyon carver (pictures)
The X1 is the smallest crossover that BMW makes, sharing its platform with the current BMW 3-series.
Wagon or crossover?
However, in person and in profile, the X1 prints more like a large wagon than it does a crossover.
The X1's increased ride height is pretty much the only feature that speaks "crossover" to me, but even here, there's only a few inches of extra ground clearance. This is no off-roader.
The headlamps and grille have been enlarged over the 3-series upon which it is based, but the broad strokes of the X1's face and styling are in line with the current BMW design language.
Viewed from the rear, the X1 begins to look a bit more like the crossover that it's claimed to be. However, in the flesh the vehicle's size and ride height had everyone who passed by calling it a wagon.
The X1 features great 360-degree visibility, but our tester was equipped with a Driver Assistance Package that added a rear camera and a sonar proximity detection sensor.
The X1's rear hatch offers plenty of space for cargo while still leaving plenty of rear-seat room for people.
Fold the 40/20/40 split-rear seats flat to open up even more space for stuff.
TwinPower Turbo engine
Under the hood of the 2013 X1 xDrive28i, you'll find a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that is force-fed air via a twin-scroll turbocharger. Output is estimated at 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
8 forward speeds
Torque flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission with multiple drive modes before reaching the wheels by way of BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
M Sport package
Our X1 was equipped with the M Sport package that upgrades the suspension, wheels, tires, and traction system. The resulting steering offers the perfect blend of weightiness, feedback, and responsiveness.
The X1's cabin has a spartan, yet premium feel. The dashboard is kept simple, even with the full array of Premium package, M Sport package, and Technology package upgrades.
Steering wheel controls
The steering wheel only has eight buttons that control the audio source and volume and hands-free calling systems.
Like the steering wheel, the rest of the dashboard has been kept simple with few buttons. You won't spend much time looking for the right button.
The theme of simplicity is continued with the instrument cluster. Although the X1's cabin is simple, the materials it's made of have a high-quality look and feel.
The rotary controller found on the center console is used to command the infotainment system. It feels good in the hand, but the layout of the buttons seemed to lack rhyme or reason.
The Technology package adds BMW's hard-drive navigation system, which offers snappy performance and crisply rendered maps.
The X1's dashboard display is not touch-sensitive. Users run all of their inputs through the rotary controller, even when inputting search terms and addresses.
ConnectedDrive is an option -- accessible via the main menu -- that lets the driver search the Web for destinations using their phone's Bluetooth and data connections.
3D building data
Zoom in close enough in the bird's-eye-view mode and you'll see that the navigation system can display 3D buildings on the map. Passengers seemed to get a kick out of this feature.
We're happy to see BMW offering Bluetooth hands-free calling as a standard feature in the X1.
Bluetooth audio streaming
Adding the Technology package upgrades the standard Bluetooth hands-free calling system with audio streaming. However, getting this feature to work with my phone was a minor annoyance.
Most premium vehicles come with satellite radio as a standard feature. BMW expects X1 drivers to pay $350 for the option.
The ultra-wide screen can be split to display addition information. Drivers have a bit of control over what sort of information is displayed on the split, which occupies the right third of the screen.
At the bottom of the center stack are buttons for the Eco Pro fuel-efficient drive mode, the traction control system toggle, hill descent control, and the toggle for the auto start-stop system.
In addition to radio stations, the preset buttons can be used to store contacts for hands-free calling, playlists for listening, or shortcuts to parts of the infotainment interface. Here, the last preset is linked to destinations for navigation.