In our previous review of the BMW X1 subcompact luxury SUV, we complimented its roomy interior and sorted driving manners but noticed that it was falling behind the times a little in terms of in-car tech compared to more recent BMWs. Now BMW has replaced the old F48 model with the redesigned U11 third-generation X1, fixing the few shortcomings it had. It has a cutting-edge new digital dashboard, a more powerful 241-horsepower engine, and standard AWD. Still riding on the UKL2 platform, the car has been extensively overhauled and thrust into battle with an impressive new resume. Some of the competitors the BMW X1 will have to face include the class-leading Volvo XC40, along with the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and rivals from Lexus like the UX. The old X1 was a strong contender right up to the end of its life, and the new one finally has a chance to topple the Volvo from its perch as the peach of the luxury subcompacts. Does it succeed?
The 2023 X1 is a new car and inherits its overall form factor from the old one, but it's thoroughly updated with a new digital cockpit incorporating a digital gauge cluster and a touchscreen under the BMW Curved Display, giving you nearly 21 inches of total screen real estate. The previous FWD model is dropped, making AWD the only drivetrain option and effectively cutting down the regular X1 range to one trim: The xDrive28i. The starting price for the new BMW X1 crossover is $39,100 in the USA.
The $39,100 MSRP of the 2023 BMW X1 puts the price of the sole xDrive28i trim close to the upper end of this class. It's more expensive than the XC40, but at least AWD is standard, so that's where some of the money is going. With the destination fee of $995 included, the car will cost you $40,095 before options.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
One of the criticisms leveled against the old X1 was that the ride could be a bit stiff-legged, and the new model smooths off the edges sufficiently to introduce a welcome degree of comfort and rolling refinement. The ride is still firm, but it's well-damped and not harsh while retaining excellent dynamics and still being among the sharpest-handling SUVs in this class. Grip levels are high, helped by standard AWD, and performance is snappy thanks to 13 hp extra, launching the car to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The optional M Sport package adds adaptive suspension and aggressive seat bolstering for an even sportier drive, but it might be taking things too far, as the standard car is fun enough to pilot. The new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is smooth but seems reluctant to shift down swiftly on demand in Eco Pro and Comfort modes, but Sport mode improves things somewhat. More irritating are the sometimes grabby brakes and the unrefined and obtrusive start-stop system.
The new X1 is an excellent premium subcompact crossover and the latest improvements bring its ride/handling and in-car tech right up to date. It is closer than ever to knocking the Volvo XC40 off its perch and even beats it on fuel economy now, even without the Swede's mild-hybrid tech. But the Volvo has a leg up on the BMW with more powertrain options that include lower-priced FWD versions, as well as more comprehensive standard driver assists and a higher seating position, something that can sway people looking for a more SUV-like feel. It's a close-run thing and if you're coming from the old X1, you'll love the new one. It's a very strong contender in this class.
There is but a single trim in the 2023 X1 lineup, so it'll be down to the extras you want to add to it. Choose carefully, as these are expensive and can quickly inflate the price and push you into entry-level X3 territory. The $4,200 Premium package contains nice-to-have features such as a head-up display, upgraded audio system, and a surround-view camera, but it's expensive. With standard front and rear parking sensors and a backup camera, we can do without the surround-view monitor, and the other items aren't critical. We'll opt for the $1,950 Convenience package instead to get the moonroof, keyless go, wireless charging pad, and auto-dimming mirrors - and that's it.
The most popular competitors of 2023 BMW X1: