So you're a young exec with a kid on the way, and you've given up on the thought of piloting a Porsche Boxster to work every day. Don't worry, the BMW X1 is here to remind you that you can have a premium interior, lots of cargo space, and relatively lively performance all packaged in a neat subcompact luxury crossover SUV body suitable for families. The 2022 X1 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot delivering 228 horsepower and sends its power to the front or all fours via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The zero to sixty sprint time takes only 6.3 seconds in xDrive guise, and it rides well enough to appease the wife and kids. The BMW X1 will cost you at least $35,400, and competes with the likes of the Audi Q3. We like its strong performance and ample cargo space, but is that enough to make it a class leader? Let's find out.
In anticipation of an all-new, redesigned X1 due pretty soon, BMW isn't changing the current model at all for the 2022 model year - probably its last on the market. It's essentially a carryover from last year, except that one exterior color - Glacier Silver Metallic - disappears from the palette, reducing the total number of paint colors from ten to nine. Nothing else changes and even the X1's pricing remains the same.
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The X1 was never designed to be a sports car. Instead, BMW has aimed to provide a refined ride that, combined with a dose of composure, should leave the driver feeling confident and relaxed. The relaxed nature of the drivetrain, especially the refinement of that transmission, adds greatly to the overall driving experience. On the road, a test drive will reveal that the X1's ride is on the firmer side, but not to the extent that it becomes a serious issue, although low-speed road imperfections can get a bit jarring, especially when fitted with the M sport suspension package. The X1 behaves more like a dynamic sedan than an SUV in this sense. Unfortunately, the electrically assisted power steering in the X1 is overly coddled and phases out most road feedback, which makes it feel less like a BMW and more like an average small SUV. That being said, the X1 still feels stable and planted around corners, and will happily follow steering inputs with quick responses from the nose, while body roll is kept to a minimum. The brakes work well and inspire confidence, especially when pushing on.
The X1 will be a wise choice for those who need the extra space of an SUV but don't want an overly bulky vehicle that will feel big and cumbersome. The X1 manages to offer a lot of interior space while at the same time delivering almost sedan-like driving characteristics. We'd go as far as to say it feels practically sporty in the way it operates, too. The ride might be a bit stiff when driving at lower speeds, but it always feels composed and eager to please. The engine is a gem, too - it pulls hard in any gear and offers more than enough go. The interior has a few hard plastic bits, but in general, it feels as premium as any other BMW product, and we appreciate the levels of standard features it comes equipped with. The infotainment system can feel laggy and Android Auto is missing, but the overall experience is decent. There's enough safety equipment and technology to make the X1 one of the safer cars in its class. We'd highly recommend looking at the X1 if you're in the market for a small luxury SUV.
The BMW X3 is a compact luxury crossover SUV that blends luxury and practicality in a rather beautiful package. As the name suggests, the X3 is the larger brother here. Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in either 30i sDrive and 30i xDrive spec. Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels via an eight-speed auto transmission. Power in the X3 isn't significantly more (unless you opt for the much more expensive M40i), and carrying more weight doesn't help either, but the X3 will still beat the X1 in a straight line. The fuel economy on the RWD X3 is 23/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined. The interior of the X3 is slightly more upscale and lacks the obvious hard plastics that can be found in the X1. The cargo area is more significant at 28.7 cubic feet, and there's more interior space as well. Standard features are in the X3's favor, with added goodies like a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, three-zone climate control, and LED headlights. But, with a higher starting price of $43,700, we would recommend sticking with the capable X1 unless you really need the extra space and luxury which the X3 provides.
As the name suggests, the BMW X2 is one step up from the X1 in the BMW chain of command. The X2 is arguably a more sporty crossover; it will appeal to those who don't need as much cargo space and who will appreciate the sporty dynamics closer to that of a traditional sedan. The X2 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That's precisely what you get in the X1, although there is a 301-hp version of the X2 on offer for those who really want to go fast. The base model offers the same level of performance as the X1 and a best fuel consumption figure of 24/32/27 mpg city/highway/combined. The interior of the X1 and X2 are comparable, but with the X2 offering slightly less space, especially in the back. Cargo space is also down at 21.6 cubic feet. The interior of the X2 is similar to the X1 in terms of quality and features, with the X2 feeling slightly more sports-orientated. If you're after a more sporty driving experience and don't need the extra space, then go for the X2 - it only costs $1,200 more in base form.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW X1: