Just because I find the 3 Series to be one of the best production cars ever doesn't mean I love the entire BMW lineup. Case in point: the X6 Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) or whatever the BMW marketing people came up with. And now BMW has released the all-new X1. This is going to be one of those articles about a model that has absolutely no reason to exist and only does due to either automaker greed and/or the delusion their car is actually something worth buying. They often go hand in hand.
Such is the 2011 BMW X1. According to the BMW press release, it "has been conceived with the flexibility to offer traditional rear-wheel drive and xDrive all-wheel drive configurations, as well as a wide variety of gasoline and diesel powertrain choices." How nice. There are plenty of other cars on the market, many of them BMWs, that also offer this. It goes on to say that it "will set new benchmarks in the premium compact segment for efficiency, comfort, utility, and of course driving dynamics." This could easily be describing the new Chevrolet Cruze.
The point here is that BMW has built something that was never needed in the first place. The X3 SUV was never a top performer and although it sold decently well, it made more sense in terms of fitting into a specific segment (premium small SUV). As you've just read, it will be available in both rear-drive and all-wheel drive, wait, sorry, xDrive, and may even be offered with a diesel option for the US market. Every drivetrain will have BMW's EfficientDynamics engineer strategy, which is designed to reduce emissions while still enhancing the car's overall performance.
Final pricing hasn't been released yet, but expect the minimum window sticker amount to be in the ballpark of $30,000. Seriously? The new Nissan Juke, which also caters to younger buyers, offers fun and practicality in an exciting package and starts at only $18,960. Between the two, I'd hands down take the Nissan even without test driving them first. Why? If I wanted a BMW in the X1's probable price range, I would take a 3 Series. Even though the Juke has a funky exterior, at least it's original and doesn't look like a distorted hodgepodge of factory parts with unoriginal lame styling both inside and out.
The X1 offers absolutely nothing special and buyers who are tempted by it and just have to drive a BMW, are best spending a few more bucks for the newly redesigned X3. To be honest, I've never been a fan of BMW SUVs (and now SAVs). The automaker already has so many wonderful cars that range from roadsters to luxury sedans. To remain competitive in all genres of the luxury auto market, it had no choice but to build SUVs. But still, a proper BMW to me showcases wonderful driving dynamics with distinct German design and build quality combined with the belief you're driving something special.
The new X1 completely deviates away from all of that. I don't care if it has BMW's latest technology. I'd rather take a 320d xDrive and know for a fact my money was well spent on the ultimate driving machine.