And then there’s the $3000 M Sport package (stiffer suspension, Pirelli P Zero run-flats, sport seats, and different fascias and rockers), $600 19-inch wheels, $500 heated front seats, $350 satellite radio, and $875 Harman/Kardon surround-sound system. We’re not big on self-sacrifice.
Paint colors other than black or white cost $550, and for reasons nobody remembers, we chose Valencia Orange. So we ended up with an X1 costing $47, 370 and painted to look like road barrel. That might seem like a lot for a compact crossover, but it’s about $6000 less than BMW asks for the current 3-series wagon with the same level of equipment. Think of the X1 as a budget alternative. Or, given its tweener styling and seating position, think of it as high-water pants—a familiar article hiked up a couple of inches.
With those pants held up by the M Sport’s stiffer suspenders, roll was nicely controlled, and the Pirellis helped our long-term un-wagon stop from 70 mph in just 151 feet. That’s a significant 38 feet less than we recorded in an earlier test of a similar X1 fitted with all-season Pirelli Cinturatos, and better than any current-generation 3- or 4-series we’ve tested.Despite being one of the last BMWs with hydraulic steering, the X1 doesn’t have a particularly talkative helm, and its tendency toward understeer doesn’t make that a very fun 0.86 g. /p p We’re mystified as to how a little thing like the X1 could possibly weigh 3824 pounds. And yet, even against that mass, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder feels strong. Its great low-end torque and full-bodied, even pull from any rpm hucked the X1 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 14.6 at 95 mph. The engine and ZF eight-speed automatic are a great pairing, the latter orchestrating effortless and imperceptible handoffs from one gear to the next. /p p Combining the sport suspension with the largest available wheels and tires, the sidewalls of which were pared down to minimum height, turned out to be a bad idea. Almost everyone who drove the X1 complained about its harsh ride. The X1’s tidy size and upright seating position can make it an ideal urban cruiser, but the warty roads around southeast Michigan just made it unpleasant. And when a pothole inevitably poked a hole in a run-flat Pirelli, we found neither a spare nor a can of Fix-A-Flat in the trunk. The owner’s manual said, “Use the Force, dummy!” or words to that effect, so we limped the tripedal X1 on, grumbling that the supposed pain-deferment offered by run-flats is only one more chip in the dying art of self sufficiency. /p table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0"x">
The logbook bloated with complaints about other refinement issues. Noise from wind, the road, and cold brakes in the winter were frequent targets, as was seat comfort. While we liked the cabin’s excellent outward visibility, we found the front seats too hard and the rears too small for all but the youngest children. But no feature was so loathed as the stop-start system. On restarts, the engine sends an uncouth jolt through the X1’s structure. At long lights, it sometimes refired while the car was still stationary, and the driver felt a sudden tug against the brake pedal. Thankfully, there’s a button to disable it.
At a light in Chicago, our X1 experienced an even ruder jolt. Despite our eye-searing paint job, the driver of a Nissan Altima failed to notice the stopped BMW and slammed into it from behind, folding the tail pipe under the car and denting the hatch. The X1’s popularity in Europe meant that parts were slow to arrive, as everything BMW could produce was going onto new vehicles, we were told. And so our Florida Sunkist wagonoid spent nearly a month at the body shop. And a month after we paid that $3655 bill, we wrote another check, this time for $468 for a new windshield. Ten days later, we took the X1 to the dealership for a new right-front wheel bearing, replaced under warranty.
Thanks to BMW’s Ultimate Service program, which covers scheduled maintenance for the first four years or 50, 000 miles, our non-damage-related costs were nil. We took the X1 in for four services. At 11, 766 and 22, 571 miles, our dealer administered scheduled oil changes and inspections. At 29, 090, we took it in ahead of schedule because BMW dealerships are more common in our area than they are around Darby, Montana, where John Phillips held the X1 in isolation for five months. And with 39, 780 miles showing, it went in for a final service, during which technicians addressed a recall relating to the brake system’s vacuum pump.