• Apr 22nd 2011 at 11:58AM
  • 46
A Compact Crossover For The Wagon-Averse


2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i – Click above for high-res image gallery

My wife hates wagons. Loathes them with the kind of passion and fervor normally reserved for sexual predators and real estate agents. But despite this, she drives the prototypical wagon-on-stilts, a Honda CR-V.

That unbridled disgust for any low-riding hatchback is something I've been trying to figure out for the last seven years, but it's a problem nearly every European automaker peddling its wares in the States has been dealing with for decades. The solution, it seems, is to downsize the standard CUV into a more compact package, while still providing the elevated ride-height and commanding view that consumers in a post-SUV world crave.

For BMW, the answer is the X1, the Euro-only-for-now crossover that slots in where the X3 used to reside before it blew up to near-X5 proportions. And fitted with BMW's new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which U.S. customers will sample for the first time in the Z4 sDrive28i roadster, it makes a compelling case for itself. So much so that BMW's Leipzig, Germany plant is tapped out, meaning importation into the U.S. isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Continue reading Quick Spin: 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i...


2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i profile
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i profile

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i headlight
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i headlight

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i grille
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i grille

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i wheel
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i wheel

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i taillight
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i taillight

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i exhaust
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i exhaust

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i interior
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i interior

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i gauges
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i gauges

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i start button
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i start button

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i climate controls
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i climate controls

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i iDrive
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i iDrive

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i shifter
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i shifter

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i door handle
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i door handle

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i front seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i front seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear cargo area
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear cargo area


Photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

Based on bits of the beloved 3 Series and packing a range of fuel-efficient powerplants in Europe, the X1 embodies everything a would-be wagon-buyer could want: ample storage, acceptable ground clearance, upright seating and... it's not a wagon. Stylistically, it's more of the same from the Germans – a one-design-fits-all approach that seems to be making a comeback after BMW's aesthetic fall from grace in the early Aughts.

2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i profile2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i front2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i rear

The front fascia and kidney grille stand at attention, a subtle swage line runs the length of the profile, with the crease terminating in a pair of attractive, post-Bangle taillamps that integrate cleanly into the sizable hatch. The silver trim on our tester gives the X1 a slightly less ponderous stance and matches the 17-inch brushed aluminum wheels fitted with 225/50 R17 M+S Michelins at all four corners.

Those faux-metal accents find their way inside, framing everything from the push-button start to the iDrive controller, all of which is mounted inside a tasteful blend of high-gloss wood trim coating the dash and center tunnel. The plastics and textures are exactly what you'd expect inside an entry-level Bimmer – mostly good, with a few less-than-appealing pieces mounted near your knees and feet. The leather-clad seats up front provide more than adequate bolstering for a high-riding hatch, and while there's room for two in the rear, if you're carting anyone over six-feet-tall up front, leg room is on the uncomfortable side of minimal. For the occasional big-box shopping spree, those rear thrones can be folded (40:20:40), expanding cargo capacity from 14.8 to 47.6 cu-ft.

2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i interior2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i interior2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i rear seats2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i rear cargo area

Our tester was fitted with BMW's standard six-speed manual transmission, a gearbox we'll likely never see available in the States if the X1 ever makes the trek. Instead, an eight-speed automatic pulled from the 5 Series GT should suit American tastes, as will BMW's sports-oriented xDrive all-wheel drive and a host of safety-related acronyms ranging from Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), the latter of which allows for a minute amount of wheelspin and slip, primarily for rain and snow... or deserted off-ramps entering the Autobahn.

Although the X1 has been on sale in Europe since 2009, the big news for 2011 is the replacement of the 3.0-liter inline-six with BMW's new 2.0-liter turbocharged four. Developing 245 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque beginning at 1,250 rpm, this all-new TwinPower mill (BMW parlance for a single, twin-scroll turbo partnered with Valvetronic, double Vanos and direct injection) is more about blending efficiency and fuel economy with six-cylinder smoothness. But it's no slouch in the motivation department.

2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i rear 3/4
2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i wheel2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i badging2011 BMW X1 sDrive28i engine

BMW claims the 3,300-pound CUV can run to 60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds (6.5 with the automatic), yet we found 3,000-rpm launches would get the X1 hurtling up to German highway speeds in the high eight-second realm. Laying into the throttle in fourth gear at around 45 mph was the only time we experienced any form of turbo lag, although it was quickly dispatched with a wave of boosted torque that easily eclipses its six-cylinder predecessor. All this while returning a claimed average of 30 miles per gallon on the U.S. cycle. Steering, throttle response, clutch uptake and braking performance are all up to BMW standards, although the feel from the middle pedal was more wooden and artificially linear than we would've liked.

The BMW X1 might not be the Ultimate High-Riding Driving Machine (the X5 still holds that title), but the genes are there, and for the world's wagon-averse, it offers a compelling blend of sport, fuel economy and cargo capacity. Too bad the Europeans are keeping them all for themselves.

2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i profile
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i profile

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i headlight
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i headlight

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i grille
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i grille

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i wheel
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i wheel

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i badging

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i taillight
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i taillight

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i exhaust
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i exhaust

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i twin-turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i interior
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i interior

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i gauges
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i gauges

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i start button
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i start button

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i climate controls
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i climate controls

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i iDrive
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i iDrive

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i shifter
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i shifter

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i door handle
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i door handle

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i front seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i front seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear seats

  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear cargo area
  • 2011 BMW X1 xDrive28i rear cargo area


Photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 46 Comments
      rmkensington
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think I will stick to a 3 or 5 series Wagon. This thing looks just plain dumb.
      todo76
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agree with the multiple variant problem. BMW doesn't need a coupe, sedan, wagon, CUV, SAV, SUV, luxury vehicle for every level of 1,3,5,6, and 7! I'm not a purist by any means but too many choices dilutes the reason you're there to buy in the first place. When I think of BMW I think of the 3 and would love to need the X5 since it is a bad-ass monster. Other than that, I 'll go elsewhere.
      Basil Exposition
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMW has too many model variants. They are losing focus.
        nexionly
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        You should check out BMW.de and have a look at Mercedes.de and Audi.de as well. You'll see we only get some of the actual models that exist, and very few of the engine and equipment options.
      tantareanujellob
      • 4 Years Ago
      "And fitted with BMW's new twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder" It doesn't have 2 turbos. Its a dual scroll turbo.
        John Neff - Autoblog
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Thanks Tantareanujellob, Don't know how that got there, because Damon didn't write that. Someone must've gotten confused in editing since the name of the engine is TwinPower.
      George Xu
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMW sell us the 1 series 5 door with that diesel please.
        Tony
        • 4 Years Ago
        @George Xu
        If BMW won't US-certify a oil burner for the Countryman that would sell in larger volumes, they certainly won't certify it for the X1. Unless the profit margin makes THAT much of a difference. And that'll just piss me off.
      KorruptioN
      • 4 Years Ago
      Call me stubborn, but I like the smoothness and ruggedness that straight-sixes have always offered. Yeah, the torque curve is massive and awesome, but the natural balance that is the straight-six is what BMW always promoted.
      zamafir
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not euro only. I've seen dozens in san Diego up from Baja. Not sold in the us? Sure, but hardly euro only.
      I_see_dead_pickles
      • 4 Years Ago
      the matte black is used usually for graphic elements. usually to break up large areas. Strange when silver is added on top of the matte black. this is a definite improvement over the first gen but some aspects still look like it was designed with a straight edge. the interior is typical BMW. bring a jacket cause its a COLD place! the area in the interior where the start button is, is strange.
      scott
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's certainly not very attractive, especially that bulging part on the rear that hangs over that taillights.
        scott
        • 4 Years Ago
        @scott
        Apparently the new Autoblog still likes to mysteriously yank comments from their articles for no reason. I tried to say that I find it unattractive in a Chinese knockoff sort of way. It's swoopy for the sake of being swoopy. It looks like a caricature of a real BMW. I never understood why these CUV's can't get more cargo room out of them...the wagon is still superior in carrying capacity. The 3 series wagon has 60.9 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats folded down.
      brgtlm
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMWs new naming conventions reek of clueless arrogance. Wonder what the new 3 Series will be. BMW 328i sDriveDI2T4DRBIGEGO?
        tantareanujellob
        • 4 Years Ago
        @brgtlm
        BMW 328i sDrive Twin Power But it only has 4 Cylinders and 1 Turbo M Sport Package
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      simianspeedster
      • 4 Years Ago
      Your wife is superficial. The 3 Series wagon, if equally equipped, is the better car in almost every way. Lower center of gravity which means better handling 9 times out of 10, better visibility and a more usable cargo bay because it's long-ish, not tall-ish (are you going to pack it up until the rear window is blocked?) It's sad that so many people are caught up in the perception of what they drive that they ignore the reality. We have a 3 Series wagon and it's a great compromise between sport, luxury and utility, but it seems too many superficial people will keep BMW from offering it in America next time around. Instead, we'll get this lumpy, angular thing that's neither here nor there.
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