ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The 2023 BMW X1 has modified in significant methods for its third era. BMW determined greater is healthier for this subcompact crossover, and has expanded it in size, width, peak and observe, making it not simply extra spacious, however extra stable taking place the street. Bolder is healthier for gen 3, too, with a redesigned exterior that offers the X1 extra presence whereas nonetheless being variety to the eyes, and an inside that feels fascinating and alluring, but in addition trendy in each design and expertise. And the cherry on high for 2023 is extra energy, which, in the end, means this X1 is quicker than final yr’s xDrive28i. Not a foul method, not less than at first look.
To particularly enumerate that added measurement, the brand new X1 is 1.7 inches longer total with a 0.9-inch enhance in wheelbase. It’s additionally 0.9 inches wider and 1.7 inches taller. Lastly, the tracks of the entrance and rear wheels have expanded by 0.8 inches.
Along with rising in measurement, the outside grows in fashion. Let’s deal with the elephant in each BMW showroom first. The X1’s double kidney grille is massive, sure, however its squared-off form is significantly extra palatable than the distinguished, outsized nostrils on different Bimmer faces. And the chunky nostril has a pleasant slant to it, with the smooth headlights tucked underneath the hood line on the high. The profile has a decidedly higher silhouette, with extra muscular proportions and longer hood. The strains on the rear have been tucked in properly, and we just like the streamlined look of the taillights and the squared-off corners of the bumper. Total, it appears to be like greater, as a result of it’s, however the design can also be extra chiseled and structural, which higher fits its sporty demeanor.
Inside, that step up in measurement offers the occupants extra room, however the subcompact section limitations stay: The passenger seat nonetheless must be moved ahead fairly a bit to place a rear-facing little one seat behind it. The non-obligatory sport entrance seats are fairly snug, providing nice decrease again and shoulder help. The rear cargo space is smaller on paper, down from 27.1 cubic toes in 2022 to 25.7 cubes in 2023, however we’ll have to attend for West Coast Editor James Riswick to carry out one in all his baggage checks earlier than we’re keen to declare it any much less helpful (he can not less than say at this second that BMW cargo numbers are hardly ever corresponding to the trade at massive). We do admire the flexibility that the 40/20/40-split rear seats afford.
The general inside design is far more fascinating, too, with numerous visible intricacies — fascinating supplies and textures — that make it enjoyable to discover together with your eyes, with out wanting too busy, overwrought or under-thought. A large, curved show homes each the infotainment display screen and the motive force’s instrument panel. We wouldn’t thoughts a secondary controller for the infotainment system as BMW used for years (the acquainted and affective iDrive knob is gone), however it helps that the touchscreen is barely canted towards the motive force. The floating middle armrest is a intelligent design factor, as is the smaller toggle-style gear selector atop it, and there’s helpful storage under. On the backside of the middle stack is an virtually upright aircraft on which to relaxation and wirelessly cost (if that’s the case outfitted) your cellphone, placing it the place it will possibly simply be seen when you’re utilizing it for instructions. A hinged bar throughout the underside retains it from sliding misplaced. It’s appreciated that this space doesn’t invite storage of different detritus that might litter the cabin and block the charger.
To date, the brand new X1 is just supplied in a single taste: xDrive28i. This employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine sending energy to 4 wheels through a brand new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that replaces the outgoing eight-speed conventional automated. Now we have no phrase on the potential for a sportier M model, however we’ve acquired our fingers crossed, as this era appears extra suited to it. Because the identify suggests, xDrive all-wheel-drive is normal, however similar to the final X1 (and in contrast to the unique), gen 3 is underpinned by a front-wheel-drive-based platform.
Stepping onto the suitable pedal, it takes a beat for a lot to occur, however then the two.0-liter engine wakes up and costs to life. From then on, it exhibits itself to be a superb match for the X1. With 241 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, up from 228 hp and 258 from 2022, that further energy pays dividends as BMW didn’t add important weight to the X1 (curb weight is up a trivial 24 kilos for 2023). BMW quotes a 0-to-60 time of 6.2 seconds (down from 6.3), however we wouldn’t be shocked if that’s a conservative estimate. But, the gasoline economic system has improved — the 2023 xDrive28i will get 25 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed, up from 23/31/26 mpg in 2022.
The twin-clutch transmission does its job rapidly and easily, and we by no means discovered the X1 trying to find the suitable gear. Paddle shifters have been a notable exclusion in our tester, although they’re out there with the M Sport package deal, which we hope to pattern quickly, because it additionally contains an adaptive suspension, a slick M steering wheel and various different goodies. It additionally meant we have been lacking out on the Sport Increase operate, which places the automobile into its sportiest settings if you maintain the left paddle. Nonetheless, we have been glad to go away the pondering to the automobile itself, and appreciated the simplicity of design and performance of leaving the paddles off the invoice. Curiously sufficient, there’s no “P” choice to accompany the “RNDL” on the gear selector on the middle console. The X1 routinely shifts to park if you flip the automobile off — we nonetheless usually hit the digital parking brake as a drive of behavior.
When it comes time to gradual issues down, there’s a mildly irritating lack of linearity from the brake pedal. The primary little bit of pedal journey feels regular and predictable, however past that, a continued mild contact elicits a strikingly robust response. The brakes instantly determine to chew onerous, bringing you to a jerky cease. It’s odd, and never one thing we’ve skilled in different BMWs we’ve pushed lately. Fantastic, we thought, we will get used to sensitive brakes. However after every week with the automobile, we nonetheless had a troublesome time slowing down the X1 in a clean method. Perhaps a month of possession would treatment it.
However what is likely to be an issue if you’re making an attempt to maintain a gallon of milk from rolling across the cargo space on the best way from the grocery retailer turns into an asset in spirited driving. There’s no have to coax this factor to decelerate with a heavy foot, simply give it the left pedal the order and the X1 is glad to adjust to enthusiastic stopping energy. It’s nice if you’re making an attempt to arrange for that quickly approaching sharp nook.
And in these corners, the X1 is raring to indicate you that it will possibly outdo its opponents as a driver’s companion. The steering doesn’t present a lot really feel or suggestions, which is unfortunately a BMW trait now, however regardless of being a bit anesthetized, it has applicable heft, and the correct response from the wheels up entrance nonetheless present a rewarding and fascinating drive. The extensive observe helps the X1 really feel planted as lateral g forces construct, and even the bottom suspension retains the automobile from rolling an excessive amount of. It’s onerous to upset it with fast transitions from one flip to the following, and people supportive sport seats assist to maintain the motive force solidly in place behind the wheel. Bravo.
The X1’s surefootedness doesn’t disappear when the roads get moist or snowy. Its all-wheel-drive system reacts rapidly and quietly to low-traction conditions, protecting the nostril pointed proper the place desired with out drama, noise or perhaps a important lack of acceleration because it corrects for wheel slippage.
The 2023 X1 doesn’t sacrifice on-road consolation for its sporty dealing with. The usual suspension is sweet at filtering out the various evident imperfections in Michigan’s winter-scarred roads. Even at freeway speeds, it’s in a position to skim over gnarly potholes with out delivering a shock by way of both the seat or the steering wheel. The longer wheelbase improves straight-line stability, however isn’t sufficient to make it really feel a lot greater in a good parking zone — one of many nice issues in regards to the subcompact SUV set.
So sure, the 2023 BMW X1 is nearly as good in actual life because it appears to be like in pictures and on paper. It’s the luxurious crossover we’d select on this section if our precedence have been dealing with — or look — even over the in any other case advisable Mercedes GLB or Volvo XC40. And there’s nothing in regards to the consolation or tech that may steer us away from it, both. Our solely hesitations come from the typically awkward responses from each the gasoline and brake pedals. That preliminary delay in acceleration and the sharp response later within the brake journey require elevated effort on the motive force’s half to carry out around-town driving easily. Nonetheless, they’re quirks most drivers may very well be satisfied to accustom themselves to for what’s in any other case a gorgeous, snug and sporty package deal.