2019 BMW X1 xDRIVE28i 2.0 DOHC turbo from North America
Choppy ride aside, a quick, practical and versatile SUV
The only issues we've had with this hard-riding, short-wheelbase vehicle are with these low-profile, run-flat tires. Putting on such low-profile tires - run-flat mind you - was a stupid idea. The ride is choppy and braking performance is abysmal. Also, we've never owned a car - including C4 vettes, Escapes, etc, - that attracts nails, screws, etc. So many times, due to punctures, we've had to get these tires replaced or repaired (thanks "Americas Tire Company").
We're small business owners and we wanted to get more serious with our budget(s). So, we decided that once our X3 lease was done, we decided to 'slide' into the more compact, tossable 2019 X1. We wound up saving about $170/mo.
Poor braking and choppy ride aside (and I grew up driving with stiff sports cars, hot-rods, trucks and GTs), the X1 is a lot of fun: quick, tossable, practical, decent sight-lines and good MPG.
Key 'equation': short wheelbase + low-profile run-flat tires = choppy ride. Even in comfort mode.
We know that this X1 is based on the Mini, but the pairing of the 8-speed Aisin (not ZF) and that 2.0L turbo motor is very nice. Seamless shifting and response. The AWD enables strong launches allowing me (an immature middle-aged 'kid') to out accelerate a lot of other vehicles (esp. A4s, Q3s, WRXs, etc). The X1 cruises effortlessly from 70 mph to 100 mph.
As long as one is sawing the wheel back and forth, 'feel' is OK. But straight-ahead cruising is not that confidence-inspiring. That is, there's not much 'caster effect' and on-center feel is poor. The X3 had a much more buttoned-down feel. In this sense, this generation of X1 does not feel well-developed or refined.
As with a lot of 'modern' cars, this 'by wire' implementation (e.g. throttle-by-wire, brake-by-wire, etc.) is suspect. Braking, again, is a serious deficiency offering inconsistent responses and stopping distances.
Further, it's like there's a 'processor' or 'sensor' intercepting every control input: steering, brakes, window controls, turn signals, A/C (very poor), stereo.
Too much. When the outside temperature falls below 40 (F), there's literally a momentary delay after switch actuation. In other words, I hit the A/C: it takes like 3 seconds to respond. I hit the power windows switch: delay.
As to fit/finish, the interior exhibits good panel-fit, but is in no way 'warm' or 'luxurious' . Further during very cold weather, one will hear groans and squeaks, exacerbated by that choppy ride (short wheelbase, low-profile run-flat tires).
Seating? Comfortable with support in all the right places. We have a son who's almost 5' 10" and he fits fine in the rear seats with good headroom.
A while back we leased a 2017 BMW X3 (xdrive) with that 240-bhp 2.0L turbo - with the fantastic ZF 8-speed auto. Besides a blind spot when looking over my left shoulder to merge into traffic - or when changing lanes - this was an excellent vehicle. The X3 did everything well - besides braking. It also got great gas mileage, offered a nice ride, considering its performance envelope, weight, etc. The ZF auto was 'telepathic' and manual-mode was fun. My wife misses it, especially because it was quieter and offered a much better ride (longer wheelbase).
I still have my old 2005 Ford Escape XLT AWD (200 bhp, 3.0L DOHC V6) with "monster" 4-wheel disc brakes, leather, etc. 124Kmi. I love it. His name is "Fred" and Fred is a beast: best steering of nearly any vehicle I've owned (except for Porsche 944), best-braking vehicle (extremely firm pedal, no fade) and fantastic versatility, handling, power and sight-lines. "Fred" has been my benchmark for many years: such a direct, honest, 'analog' SUV. Outright acceleration, quality materials and noise-levels excepting, "Fred" is a better vehicle than the X1.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th May, 2020
11th May 2020, 17:40
Sales were down on the 2019 BMW X1 vehicle from about 30,000 in 2018 to about 18,000 in 2019 in the USA; not sure how the 2020 sales are going. It's odd because SUVs are hot right now.
11th May 2020, 22:25
This is the original poster. I must reiterate that the Pirelli run-flat tires (225/50/18, All Season) are a serious detriment to the X1, due to its short wheelbase and questionable suspension 'tune' or development. Wrong choice for this class of car. I grew up on sports cars and GTs with Koni, Sachs or Tokico shocks/struts, shortened springs, and polyurethane bushings, so my tolerance for a stiff ride is quite high.
Braking is lousy: long distances, inadequate pedal 'feel' and the ride is lousy, even in 'comfort' mode.Terrible choice, on part of BMW.
As of 5/8/2020, yet another run-flat (passenger rear) has developed a puncture. Our 3rd such incident in less than 11 months. And there is no spare tire!
Lastly, the climate control is sub-par and easily outclassed by my '05 Escape as well as our old '04 Camry. This processor-controlled crap needs to go.
17th May 2020, 03:31
Especially appreciated the commentary about the unpleasantness of low-profile run-flat tires with their effect on straight-line stability and ride comfort. Methinks the braking distances may be impacted by the same.
You would think that BMW would not let processors and sensors intercept every control input, but between the lawsuit-averse legal staff that many car companies employ by necessity, and people who want to be seen as excellent drivers but don't want to commit to the process of actually driving their vehicles, this is the result.
Good to hear that the 2.0L turbo motor and 8-speed Aisin transmission get along with each other :) Too many manufacturers have marketing departments that want to boast that they have more ratios in their transmissions than that of their competitors, but don't give the engineering the budget to make the result of all of those cogs pleasant for owners to drive.