2013 BMW X1 - Choice of Colloquialism - Review

"Drive...He Said"has to hand it to BMW. Now they have gone ahead and revived the first lift-back version of the 3-series sedan for the States since 1999's E36 318 ti. This, despite the floundering U.S. sales of that 5-door distortion of  F10 5-series, the Gran Turismo. Those determined Bavarians regard their 2013 BMW X1 28 S-Drive as a "Sports Activity Vehicle."

That the E84 platform is "Crossed" from the previous E91 3-series wagon definitely imbues the new X1 with more "Utility" than the cramped 1-series coupe could ever dream of. However, the standard S-Drive in the X1, implies rear drive (with Dynamic Traction Stability Control). Boulder climbing Subaru SAV  fans can go back to what they were doing earlier.

Lopped Off  and Raised In Leipzig:

The X1 is gonna be easier to park in those urban challenged spaces than the current F30 3-sedan. It improves on usable interior space of the 3-sedan in every meaningful way.  The rear seat back splits 40/20/40 to fold very nearly flat expanding stowage to 63 cubes. A handy flexible lattice trunk-floor organizer keeps effects from flying around. Higher resistance to wind imparts a fair amount of cross-wind buffeting on interstates.

Firm Fahrtechnik:

What was already worked well in the previous 3-sedan survives the transformation to sport activity vehicle. Bringing the X1 S-Drive into a bend too fast, any plowing by the front strut / rear quad-link chassis is corrected by getting off the throttle. The occasional Bavarian bovine which strays out of the pasture has dictated large ventilated brake rotors at each corner, repeatedly biting generous chunks out of speed minus fade. Brake friction re-generated electricity charges the 12V battery reducing alternator draw on the engine.

BMW's application of electric assist to the X1 steering rack is less drugged though fidgety on-center. Its quickness is owed to the $250 optional Servotronic variable assist. A larger checking account can buy the vaunted hydraulic assist in the X-Drive models. Pavement-slapping run-flat tires persist as the object of profanity on various BMW enthusiast forums. High compression damping crashes over frost heaves. Chassis engineers, who specified the optional M-Sport Line's 18" wheels bound with 245/45 Pirellis, surely missed the exit for Midwestern interstates.

Turbo und Auto:

The blown N20B20 four-banger is no emasculated inline-six. Since BMW's nomenclature no longer bears any direct correlation to engine displacement, X1 28 on our shores means just four pistons inline displacing 2.0-liters of twin-overhead cam, with AL-alloy block and head and 10:1 compression ratio. Oh yeah, there's twin-scroll Mitsubishi forced induction. With 17 psi of boost. And Valvetronic electric throttle control.

What does it all spell? Torque baby.  In the cellar of the rev range. Forget for a moment the agonizingly slow throttle tip-in. Or the mercifully defeatable Eco Pro mode and forgettable "Start-Stop" system more rude than any gas-electric hybrid. Disengage traction control to clear 60 mph in a quick mid 6's, accounting for the 100-pounds extra mass over the 328i. The sound is a harmonic trio to the old 3.0L  N52B30 inline-6 symphony. This motor doesn't have to be wound out as much. It's mated to a confident 8-speed slushbox, with tall 3.1:1 final drive. Combined fuel economy is pushed to 23 miles-per-gallon, though missing the EPA's 26 mpg estimates. Just don't be looking for a manual gearbox here.

Bavarian Bits:

Inside the BMW X1 the story is all F30 3-series sedan. Over the years primary gauges have shrunken and some secondary switches are scattered. The sweeping lines of soft-touch dash panels, which merge into the door trim come off as moderately interesting if not lavish. There's that joystick of a  BMW transmission shifter, which brings little joy. The I-Drive rotary scroller has evolved. As have the generous 8.8" LCD center stack infotainment display menus multiplied.

BMW's option sheet is as long as the Amazon. If you're feeling really generous go ahead and select M-Sport Line bits. Firm Nevada leather sport seats, have manual knee extenders. A thick rimmed M-steering wheel is fitted with dark plastic shift paddles. Adding bi-xenon lights with auto-high-beams, HDD navigation with 3-D Maps, heated seats and Panoramic moonroof elevated the price of our Alpine White X1 28 tester, to $44,000. That figure undercuts the 328i sedan by $4200.

Why Now?:

Yeah, we know that the X3 crossover is getting almost too big for city britches. And Americans of late have acclimated to a diet of  "Sport  Activity / Crossover Utility" semantics.  If anyone asks about the 2013 BMW X1 28 S-Drive, avoid that dirty colloquial: "HATCHBACK."

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