In aspects where the 2019 BMW X1 isn’t class-leading, it’s definitely hovering around the top. This is a well executed premium subcompact crossover, and one of the better choices, despite many rivals coming up with competitive machines.
Even when it has front-wheel drive, there’s still something about a BMW that appeals to anyone who likes driving. Satisfying engine responses, a fine-tuned suspension and confidence-inspiring brakes are always part of the package.
For many buyers, it will have that much-prized elevated seating position set into a vehicle that’s just the right size. The rest of the vehicle conforms to BMW’s high standards, with quality materials and excellent ergonomics. The company’s iDrive infotainment system has also evolved to point where it’s one of the most user-friendly setups out there.
For city or country driving, or any points in between, the X1 merits a place on any potential buyer’s short list.
What’s New for 2019?
Standard equipment now includes forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beams, navigation with real-time traffic updates, parking sensors at both ends, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (a 12-month subscription) and remote services (including lock/unlock and stolen vehicle location).
What We Like
Pleasing design for a crossover; potent performance; reasonable pricing for the class; considerate fuel consumption
What We Don’t
The standard front seats are not particularly supportive
The X1 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends this power to the front wheels in the sDrive model or all four in the xDrive.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving (sDrive) or 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined (xDrive).
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 BMW X1 comes as the sDrive28i ($35,945) or the xDrive28i ($37,945).
Standard features include 18-in alloy wheels, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory, vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, push-button start, a powered tailgate, forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-in center screen, a USB port, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, navigation with real-time traffic updates and a 7-speaker audio system.
An optional Convenience package brings self-dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, keyless access and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Premium package has everything from the Convenience package and adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display and LED headlights with cornering lights. The Luxury package includes leather upholstery and wood trim.
The M Sport package includes a dedicated suspension, re-calibrated transmission, special steering wheel with paddle shifters and an aerodynamic body kit.
Other extras include sport front seats, sliding/reclining rear seats, a 360-watt/12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, wireless charging, Wi-Fi and adaptive cruise control with stop/go and active driving assistance.
Cargo space is 27.1 cu ft. with the rear seats up, 58.7 cu ft. when they’re folded down. That’s pretty good for the class. Those rear seats split and fold in 40/20/40 fashion. The front passenger seat also folds down for extra cargo versatility.
Standard protection includes with anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbags and stability control. Safety options are abundant, ranging from simple features like a rearview camera and parking sensors to modern gadgets like adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning and an automated parking function.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the X1 its maximum overall score of five stars. The X1 achieved top scores of Good from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in most major test categories (the standard headlights were considered Marginal, the institute’s third-best score).
Behind the Wheel
Although 228 hp might sound modest, it’s satisfyingly energetic in a vehicle of this size. Standstill to 60 miles per hour happens in a fairly brisk 6.3 seconds, while steering is precise and handling is predictable yet nimble.
The X1 also has a surprisingly relaxed demeanor, with smooth gear shifts and a compliant suspension. The M Sport package stiffens the ride, but such is the compromise that comes with an improvement in handling.
The main gripe is in the second row. While legroom is acceptable, that middle seat is for occasional use only. Drivers who regularly transport multiple rear passengers will probably want to upgrade to at least an X3.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Audi Q3 — An all-new generation debuts for this model year. It’s shaping up to be a much more formidable X1 rival than the outgoing model.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class — Attractively priced, offering a lot of equipment and a punchy turbocharged engine.
2019 Lexus UX — A completely new model. Well built, well equipped, well priced and relatively spacious. Enthusiasts might prefer to stick with the BMW.
2019 Volvo XC40 — Also completely new. Attractive, practical and keenly priced.
Used BMW X3 — For more power, space and performance, consider an X3. Naturally, new-vehicle prices are higher, but a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) model could suit the budget and perhaps bring more equipment.
Those who live in areas where rough winters are virtually guaranteed will find the xDrive version with the Premium package tempting. The FWD sDrive28i works well enough in most other situations. If the idea of the M Sport package sounds appealing, try and test drive it first to make sure the ride isn’t too stiff for your tastes.