The 2016 BMW X1 may look like an SUV, but it drives like a BMW, earning it a 2017 10Best award. Responsive steering and a firm ride make it a joy to drive through back-country corners. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine produces 228 hp, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 6.5-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth is standard, and navigation, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and a self-parking feature are all optional.
Though BMW aficionados are adapting to downsized engines and the "i" sub-brand, they can rejoice in the new X1. It replaces the outgoing, rear-drive-based model, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. Its platform is shared with the Mini and the 2-series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer (which won't be available in the United States).
The new X1 offers a surprisingly spacious cabin, addressing one of the gripes with the previous model. Rear passengers now travel in comfort even when the front seats are pushed back. The driver and front passenger also sit higher than before, making it more comfortable for everyday commutes.
The cabin of the X1 is a pleasant place to be. The dashboard resembles that of larger BMW models, and the controls are easy to reach. We were pleasantly surprised to find a conventional shifter for the automatic transmission, which works more intuitively than the electronic shifter in BMW's rear-wheel-drive cars. The X1 is also quieter, with less harshness in the ride, and the 2.0-liter turbo four runs smoothly.
When it comes to performance, the X1 does not disappoint. With an eight-speed automatic and 228 horsepower, it can reach 60 mph in just over six seconds, according to BMW. The throttle responds quickly, and the B48 engine is one of the smoothest turbo fours around. The stability-control system is less intrusive than on the 2-series Active Tourer, and the X1 handles well despite its higher center of gravity and front-wheel-drive-based chassis. While it is not as engaging as its predecessor, it is still a great option compared to the competition.
The X1 also performs surprisingly well off-road. It can tackle inclines that other cars of its type wouldn't dream of, and it can handle a muddy trail or a tough winter with ease.
Overall, the X1 is one of the more appealing choices in its competitive set. For BMW aficionados with everyday needs for space and comfort, it may be a better option than the outgoing model.