Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BMW presents one hot crossover in the X1

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

 This review originally appeared in the August 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California BMW’s X1 five-passenger crossover was doing pretty well overseas, so BMW brought it to America for 2013.

Nicely played.  My 2013 BMW X1 xDrive28i was a surprising bit of fun.  When it showed up, I thought to myself: too small.  And if you’re one of three people jammed into the back seat, I think that initial assessment is going to hold serve.

But when I got the xDrive28i out on the highway, “too small” had vanished in the rearview mirror.

Honest, I had trouble keeping the thing under 80 miles per hour.  I cracked the throttle halfway, and the needle just stubbornly stood there at 80 mph, seemingly begging for more.

Power comes from a 2-liter, twin-turbo, four-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower.  That power plant blasts the xDrive28i along like a champ.  As you’re blazing by everything on the open road like a champ, you’re thinking that you’re at the wheel of one hot car.

For me, that was literally true.  My time in the BMW X1 came during a week of mercilessly hot weather in Sacramento, with temperatures soaring to 105 degrees and above.  I’m going to assume it was nature’s fault, but the interior temperature within the little fishbowl of the X1 was so hot from sitting in the afternoon sun that I could not touch the steering wheel until the car had a good five minutes to cool down with the AC running at hurricane force.
My ride was the jazzed-up “M Sport Line” version, which helped boost the car’s $32,350 starting price to a somewhat eye-popping $45,245.  Given all the luxo/techno perks in the crossover, it was an understandable price, but I’m guessing that similarly dressed-up X1s might turn off folks shopping for a small crossover that gets good fuel mileage.

Mileage on the tester was advertised at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway – which my tester seemed to be hitting spot-on in my time with it.

I should add that driving dynamics of the car were exceptional. Plus, the eight-speed auto gearbox was seamless, and you could operate it as a manual.  It’s no mystery to me that the X1 garnered praise in on foreign roadways.  The xDrive28i is a good thing in a small package, and a hot performer when you want a little something extra from a crossover.

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