Practicality does not always have to be sacrificed for power, as BMW shows on the 2021 BMW X1 line-up. As far as small luxury SUVs go, the X1 is one of the best-rated on the market for this year. But why is that the case?
Well, for starters, people love the powerful 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It gets matched up with a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic transmission which helps it generate 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This really gives the X1 a spunky performance that drivers enjoy. Not to mention there is a ton of room for the rear seat passengers and an abundance of cargo space to boot. On top of all that, the materials used to design the cabin look high-end and luxurious.
Of course, there are some pitfalls to driving the X1. The design can come off as a little basic and looks like a lot of other vehicles in its class. BMW could do more to make it stand out but doesn't. Also, the ride quality suffers when going over jagged pavement as the suspension does not smooth out all the bumps like it should.
What's New for 2021?
The 2021 BMW X1 gets a few important upgrades to help distinguish it from the 2020 line-up. The 2021 models get a new front grille that is larger than ever before. The revamped front and rear bumpers appear more SUV-like and sporty. The design has a more aerodynamic look to it too. Unfortunately, the sloping roofline will cut off headroom in the rear.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 BMW X1 – The Pros
1. The Responsive and Powerful Turbocharged Engine
The most attractive feature on the 2021 BMW X1 is by far the 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that, along with the 8-speed automatic transmission, generates 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It is truly a hearkening back to the old days when the Ultimate Driving Machine reigned supreme.
The X1 can handle winding mountain roads with confidence, getting up to speed with ease. Getting from 0 to 60 mph only takes about 6.4 seconds, which is a rather good time for a vehicle in this segment.
2. The Option of Having Front- or All-wheel-drive
Front- and all-wheel-drive are both available on the X1. You can go for the standard front-wheel-drive sDrive28i or go for the all-wheel-drive xDrive28i for a few thousand dollars more. If you live in a climate where inclement weather is fairly common (and hazardous), then all-wheel-drive will be a good option for you to consider. Being able to make that choice certainly feels nice though since not everyone will need AWD.
3. Plenty of Seat Adjustability
The driver's seat is one that big and tall drivers will easily fit behind. Both the steering wheel and seat are highly adjustable. The seats can feel a bit firm, but the amount of adjustability they offer is basically unparalleled in this class. Even the lateral support function is adjustable, which is not something you get in vehicles like this.
The steering column is manually tilting and telescoping, which offers drivers an extra degree of adjustability. Simply move the wheel to where it best suits you. Also, take note that the front headrests can be tilted for extra comfort.
4. A Quiet Cabin
The 2021 BMW X1 has a tranquil cabin. Take this vehicle up to speed on the highway and it is still quiet. It is only at full throttle when you will hear the engine make any noise, thereby reassuring you that it is, in fact, there. At idle, it is basically inaudible. As far as wind and road noise go, they barely make a peep as you speed along on the highway. If you have your music on, you will not hear any outside noise making its way into the cabin.
5. A Lot of Passenger Space
Some of the X1's competitors do not provide a lot of passenger space, but that is simply not the case for the X1. Up front, there is an abundance of space that will make both the driver and front seat passenger feel at ease. The rear seat passengers also have a good deal of room.
The X1 has an angled roofline in the rear, but it still allows enough headroom, unlike the X2. Taller passengers will be able to easily get in and out of the rear of the X1 as well due to the design of its doors.
6. An Easy-to-use iDrive System
While it might not be the most up-to-date version of the iDrive system, the one that the X1 gets is probably the most user-friendly. The interface looks a little bit more dated than what comes in models like the 3 Series, but the controls are much more straightforward. Everything feels intuitive, and the controls are all clearly labeled on the touchscreen display. The physical controller paired with the 8.8-inch touchscreen is actually a really smart set-up that non-tech-savvy drivers can get behind.
7. Natural Language on Voice Recognition
The X1 has a voice recognition system that includes natural language capability. While some competitors have more advanced systems, the one on the X1 is quite capable of actually recognizing natural speech patterns. This means that you will not have to go out of your way to adapt your speech in order for your commands to be understood. There is no need to try to memory a strict list of commands.
8. Functional Driver Aids
There might not be a massive amount of driver aids on the lower trim levels, but the ones that come standard work well. Forward collision mitigation has automatic emergency braking along with it and is appropriately responsive, not issuing too many or too few warnings. The optional adaptive cruise control system also seems to adjust itself to an appropriate following distance.
9. Plenty of Cargo Volume and Storage
The X1 has a fair amount of usable space in the cargo area. There are 27.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats left upright. Folding them down will net you some of the most ample cargo space in this entire segment. This vehicle also has one of the lowest liftover heights for its class, which is insanely helpful while trying to load and unload bulky cargo items. The 40/20/20-split folding rear seat can slide and recline in addition to being able to fold down flat. You also get a lot of underfloor storage space in the cargo area, which is helpful for smaller, flatter items.
10. Fuel Efficiency
The 2021 BMW X1's turbo engine is not as thirsty as you might assume. Its EPA-estimated combined miles per gallon is 26 (which results from the estimated 23 mpg it gets in the city and the 31 mpg managed on the highway) and is something of a low estimate if real-world tests are to be believed. In fact, real-world testing shows this number to be more like 28 mpg combined - right where it should be, a completely respectable number for its segment.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 BMW X1 – The Cons
1. Many Bumps Make Their Way Into the Cabin
One of the biggest issues with the 2021 BMW X1 is how choppy the ride quality gets over all different types of road surfaces. It really is the X1's one serious weak spot, especially given how the run-flat tires dampen the poor ride quality created by the overly-stiff suspension. Run-flat tires tend to be problematic when it comes to ride quality as it is; the suspension, however, should be a bit softer in its tuning in order to keep up with the competition.
2. The Standard Sound System Lacks Quality
The standard sound system is somewhat mediocre. When you turn up the volume, you might realize that the system's sound quality is lacking finesse. The bass could be a lot better, and there is not as much of a rich tonality as what you get in the optional Harman Kardon sound system. This means you will have to spend more money in order to get a high-quality music experience.
3. The Interior Design is Somewhat Dull
The interior's design is composed of high-quality materials, to be certain. However, the overall design is not that eye-catching. It lacks some innovation and is, to put it most simply, dull. There are competitors that look much more sophisticated and high-tech inside their cabins. Practical, yes, but exciting? The X1 fails to thrill looks-wise.
4. The Price Tag
Considering that some rivals offer more standard driver aids, the price on the X1 can be hard to justify. Also consider that you will likely have to add multiple optional packages and stand-alone features to the X1 to get it the way you want it, and that will bring the price tag up quite a bit more. Spend cautiously here if you are working on a budget.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 BMW X1 vs. 2021 Audi Q3
The 2021 Audi Q3 is a rival that comes packed with standard features. It has a stunningly designed interior crafted from high-quality materials and a cozy ride from the highly compliant suspension - something that the X1 certainly lacks. The Q3 is also quite spacious inside.
However, the Q3 has a few problems. The first is its poor fuel economy, which falls behind the standard set by the X1. The Q3 also lacks much storage inside of the cabin and just is not that much fun to drive, unlike the zippy X1.
2021 BMW X1 vs. 2021 BMW X2
Here's some sibling rivalry for you! The X2 is built from the same base design, but as you will see, they have some striking differences. The X2 looks a lot sleeker, but its sleek design compromises head space in the back seat. Also, the brakes feel much more grabby than those on the X1. Still, you get the spunky turbocharged engine that makes the driving experience pretty exciting.
The 2021 BMW X1 is a thrilling little SUV to ride around in, save for a few glaring issues. The turbo engine is punchy but remains quiet enough even at full throttle. The iDrive system is also one of the best versions BMW is putting on their vehicles right now. The X1 is all about being user-friendly and practical.
• Why buy a 2020 BMW X1? w/ pros vs cons