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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2023 BMW X1

This week we are reviewing the 2023 BMW X1, which has the xLine Package and Premium Enhanced Package. Our vehicle was manufactured at the Regensburg Plant in Germany and has an MSRP of CAD $55,295.00.

Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Fun Factor: 8

After reviewing the X1 in its second generation in 2018 and 2020, changes were incremental, and North America only saw one engine option. Which, unfortunately, hasn't changed in this 3rd generation. The xDrive28i is still a 2.0L turbocharged engine which has gained a mild-hybrid system. The power output has increased from 228hp and 258 lb-ft to 241hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. In our real-life acceleration test with winter tires, we saw a 0-100 km/h acceleration of 5.8 seconds. BMW announces a 0-100km/h within 6,4 seconds. We are used to BMW underreporting their acceleration; however, this is on another level, and we could easily see a whole second shaved off with proper summer tires. The throttle response of the X1 has been completely transformed, as it previously felt underwhelming for its size. This increase in power also comes with a more delightful exhaust note. If you thought BMW stopped at these upgrades, the driving dynamics are now more related to its cousin, the MINI Countryman, with which it shares its platform. The X1 has a fun and adaptable driving style that can handle various situations. The 7-speed DCT may feel slow in start-stop traffic despite its quick-shifting ability.

As mentioned above, we are quite surprised that BMW has yet to offer more powertrains for the X1. In Europe, they offer two plug-in hybrids and an electric version called the iX1. With slowing sales of the X1 in North America and the discontinuation of the X2, different powertrains would give these models a fresh wind and added interest.

Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Can it Family: 6

The X1 offers seating for 5; it will seat four comfortably, and the central place on the rear bench will fit a small child. The rear seats provide a slight gain in space, making it more bearable to sit 3 in the back. The synthetic leather called (SensaTec) offered as a base upholstery is always a delight; it's easy to maintain and almost looks like genuine leather without the added maintenance. Rare in this segment is that the seats fold in a 40/20/40 fashion, meaning that if you need to transport larger items, you can condemn the seat of your choice to gain additional space. Furthermore, you have a hidden compartment in the trunk, increasing the available space even more.

Fuel-Friendly: 7

During our 570km test, we averaged 9.1L/100km; on Hwy, we saw an average fuel economy of 6.9L/100km, while city consumption was around 9.9L/100km. BMW announces the city fuel economy at 9.6L/100km, on the hwy 7.0L/100km with a combined fuel economy of 8.4L/100km. During our test week, the exterior temperatures oscillated between -2c and +20c.

Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

HWY-warrior: 8

The most significant upgrade is in the technology department. The BMW Drive Recorder films your surroundings for up to 40 seconds in case of a dangerous situation or even records the environment of a particular drive with the press of a button. Additionally, we see the augmented reality navigation that guides with a visual feed of the road; this means you'll never miss your exit when using this feature.

Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Karaoke-Friendly: 5

The rating for this category only decreases due to the added complexity of removing physical buttons for climate control in the infotainment system. A real annoyance if you're using the infotainment as a GPS. Going back and forth requires taking your eyes off the road. On top of that, the A/C in our test vehicle could barely maintain a cool interior. The sound, a Harman Kardon system, could be better executed. We would even go to the length that it's a downgrade compared to the outgoing model. We are still trying to figure out who placed the tweeter's speakers right under the mid-range speakers. We hope BMW will take note and improve the acoustic in their future models, so we can enjoy the beauty of driving with our favourite tunes, podcasts or audiobooks. The whole exercise in offering a curved centre information display (CID) 10.7" and a 10.25" instrument cluster with different modes elevates the cabin experience to another level. Wireless charging and wireless smartphone integration are well-designed and user-friendly.

BMW X1 infotainment
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Baby-Friendly: 7

Door handles are sleek; however, it took kids a few tries to get accustomed to the non-moving door handles. Getting a car seat inside is effortless; the latches hide underneath flip-up covers and give no trouble when installing. The only difficulty we saw was with taller seats which required removing the headrest. The rear anchor ports are clearly marked and easy to reach.

Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

City Cruising: 7

BMW has stepped up their game when it comes to self-parking features within the BMW X1; we rarely see an entry-level model execute parallel parking or even reverse parking with such precision. Seeing how determined the vehicle was to park itself in spaces that would have required several adjustments to fit into got our hearts pumping. The mild-hybrid system improves fuel economy and gives it the ability to shut off the engine before the vehicle comes to a stop. It's different from other BMWs because the transition to get the vehicle from stop to start could be more active and pleasant.

BMW X1 seats
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Why would we buy the BMW X1, or what we liked about it?

A more engaging powertrain, chassis, and rugged look make this X1 look more like the rest of the X line-up.

Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Why would we not buy the BMW X1, or what did we not like about it?

Plugin-hybrid is not offered in North America, which is a shame for city dwellers. Nor is an electric version available; you need to shoot at MINI to get the equivalent in size or upgrade to the X3 xDrive30e. The subpar sound system is not something we are used to from BMW. Removing all physical buttons is a strange decision, especially as other manufacturers that have gone this way have returned to basics.

Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

BMW has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with BMW Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.

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