- Debuted in 2013 as a new model, beneath the larger X3 and X5
- Equal parts wagon and crossover
- Last BMW model to feature hydraulic steering
Introduced just last year, the 2014 BMW X1 is the latest model from the Bavarian automaker slotting in below the X3 and X5 SUVs. BMW calls the X1 a “sports activity vehicle,” delivering the ride and handling of a car but the storage and ruggedness of an SUV.
The X1 shares its first letter with the X3 and X5, but takes a different approach when it comes to its exterior. It’s almost wagon-like in its appearance, with a swept-back style that looks sleek rather than rugged. BMW’s signature kidney grille adorns the front, flanked by quad headlights. A panoramic moonroof and xenon HID headlights with LED rings around them are optional. An M Sport kit is also offered.
The 2014 X1 is offered in three trim levels, which divide the two drivetrain and engine options. The sDrive 28i and xDrive 28i both come with the base engine, a 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 260 pounds-feet of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The difference between the two models is that the sDrive model features rear-wheel drive, while the xDrive model gets an intelligent all-wheel drive system that sends power to the wheel with the most traction for better power delivery and improved performance in poor weather conditions or off-road.
The third trim is the xDrive35i, which gets a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine making 300 pounds-feet of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is standard. The X1 is also notable for its steering; it’s the last BMW to feature a hydraulic (instead of electric) steering rack, so if you are looking for BMW handling of old, the X1 is BMW’s last stand.
The turbocharged four-cylinder utilizes cylinder deactivation technology which increases fuel economy. Fuel economy ranges from 18-24 mpg in the city to 27-34 mpg on the highway, with the best figures coming from the sDrive 28i and the worst from the more powerful xDrive 35i.
Inside, the cabin is driver-oriented with the center console and dashboard slightly canted towards the driver, a design feature that is becoming more and more common. The X1 is no slouch when it comes to technology, offering iDrive, USB/iPod port, automatic climate control, HD radio, and Bluetooth connectivity as standard equipment. Leatherette seating is also standard, with real Nevada leather upholstery optional. Also available are a navigation system, heated/powered front seats, BMW Apps smartphone integration, a panoramic moonroof, and satellite radio.
The 2014 X1 is also well equipped with plenty of standard safety features such as dynamic cruise control, side-impact and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system with traction control. A backup camera and front/rear parking sensors are available for safer maneuvering in tight spaces.