Bavaria's entry crossover enters its third generation with the redesigned 2023 BMW X1. Sporting a more butch appearance and an entry-level rendition of BMW's newest interior, the X1 revealed Tuesday now comes standard with all-wheel drive—for now, at least.
Upon first impression, BMW's new subcompact crossover looks, well, like a new BMW subcompact crossover. Thankfully, the kidney grille is reasonably sized, and the vehicle looks slightly more upscale than the outgoing model. More pronounced fenders and the shape of the cabin give it the aura of a shrunken-down XM. BMW says the new seats are more comfortable, and the inside falls in line with the automaker's most recent design habits, saddling two big screens—10.25 inches in front of the driver, 10.7 inches in the center—running iDrive 8 beside each other within the same, curved piece of glass. It's the same setup seen in the iX, i4, and facelifted 3 Series—albeit looking a bit more budget here. The 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i will start at $39,595 and will arrive toward the end of this year.
That new iDrive system now features an Augmented View that overlays arrows over a live view of the road ahead to help drivers more easily navigate confusing intersections or highway ramps, a lot like Mercedes-Benz offers with its MBUX system. Other tech features include voice commands that can adjust the HVAC and open windows, an interior camera that lets you look inside the car via your phone when you aren't in it, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the ability to use an iPhone as a key, and over-the-air system updates.
As for more practical considerations, BMW says this is the most spacious X1 and measures 1.7 inches longer, 0.9 inches wider, and 1.7 inches taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase is longer by 0.9 inches, while the track has been widened by 0.8 inches. Capping the ends of that wheelbase are standard 18-inch wheels but optional wheels go up to 20 inches with runflat tires.
Under the hood, a revised 2.0-liter turbo-four makes 241 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (up from 228 hp and 258 pound-feet previously). A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sending power to all four wheels lets the X1 hit 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.
According to BMW, active grille shutters and flush door handles optimize airflow through and around the vehicle. A new, more rigid single-joint spring strut front axle on the X1 improves turn-in, steering, feel, and minimizes torque steer, too. Newly aluminum hydromount supports cut 6 pounds from the X1's weight, while a steering axle caster offset increased by 15 percent has apparently improved steering feedback and cruising stability. The three-link rear axle uses a unique design and is rigidly mounted to the subframe while a new wheel bearing design cuts down on friction and weight. BMW says the X1's suspension and dampers were extensively upgraded to improve long-distance comfort.
Nevertheless, the new X1 can be had with an M Sport package that adds adaptive M suspension (a first for this model) and lowers the ride height by 0.6 inches. This package also includes side air inlets on the front, a rear diffuser, two-tone, 18-inch M wheels, sport seats, aluminum hexacube interior trim, and an M steering wheel with shift paddles. Those shift paddles can enable a Sport Boost function; hold down the left paddle and the X1's powertrain and chassis settings revert to their most aggressive modes. BMW's xDrive may be standard now but the system doesn't actually send power to the rear axle unless the situation calls for it, effectively rendering the X1 front-wheel-drive the rest of the time.
Keeping occupants safe, active blind spot detection is standard now while a new exit warning function checks for approaching vehicles or cyclists when the car is stopped. Extended Traffic Jam Assistant allows for hands-free but eyes-on-the-road driving at speeds of up to 40 mph and on "limited access" highways.
Other creature comforts include Harman Kardon audio with up to 12 speakers, standard configurable ambient lighting, and an optional panoramic roof. Cynics may see the X1 as the default car for folks looking to get into a new BMW "SUV" for as little money as possible but based on what I can see here, this is shaping up to be a pretty nice-looking vehicle for not a whole lot of money.
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