2010 BMW X1 Review and Prices

Last Updated: Aug 5, 2011

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2010 BMW X1 Buying Advice

The 2010 BMW X1 is the best car for you if you crave BMW handling and prestige and want it in the form of a hot new premium subcompact crossover.

BMW calls the 2010 X1 a Sports Activity Vehicle. That’s a takeoff on Sport Utility Vehicle and intends to emphasize sporty fun over trucky function. By any name, the 2010 BMW X1 is a small station wagon with a long, tall roof, raised seating position, and slightly elevated suspension. Think four-fifths scale BMW X3 SUV. Indeed, where the X3 is based on BMW’s renowned 3-Series car line, the X1 grows out of its subcompact 1-Series cars. As the “X” implies, it belongs to BMW’s family of X6, X5, and X3 car-based crossovers…err, Sport Activity Vehicles.

Should you wait for the 2010 BMW X1? As of this writing, BMW had not announced precisely when the X1 would go on sale, or if it would debut in U.S. showrooms as a 2010 or 2011 model. More details on that below, but judging from the X1 concept unveiled in late 2008, the production X1 will boast the undiluted essence of BMW, with lines far more graceful than those of the stubby 1-Series cars. Bet on purebred BMW power and suspension tuning, too. This will help set the X1 apart from a slew of impending rivals in the rapidly expanding premium subcompact crossover class. Any BMW is priced at the upper end of its segment, and the X1 likely will be as well, but if you’re itching to get into one of these new crossovers and you’ve got the scratch, it’ll be worth waiting for.

2010 BMW X1 Changes back to top

Styling: Where the BMW 1-Series cars appear awkwardly compressed, and the BMW X3 SUV has a tendency to look a little tippy and narrow, the 2010 BMW X1 seems handsomely proportioned. At 175.6 inches tip to tail, it’s 4.3 inches shorter than the X3, and at 104.4 inches, its wheelbase – the distance between the front and rear axles and a defining dimension for any vehicle – is a significant 5.7 inches briefer. It wears its BMW styling cues well, with the brand’s latest interpretation of the classic twin-kidney grill flanked by dual round headlamps cut off at the top. BMW’s characteristic L-shaped lamp clusters grace a tail squared off in the manner of the X3 and X5 rather than incongruously tapered like the imitation-coupe rump of the X6. Two features stand out: Three dimensional waves gently sculpt the hood and body sides, proving far more affable than the controversial “flame surfacing” on some other BMWs. And the cabin is set well rearward, producing a long hood and flowing roofline that push back the visual center of gravity. This emphasizes the X1’s roots as a performance-oriented rear-wheel-drive vehicle, with the implied promise of sporty handling. 

Mechanical: Where the 1-Series models don’t compromise is in power and handling, and BMW extends to the X1 many of the same components that perform so well in those small cars. Shared will be the smooth 3.0-liter inline-sixes that make 230 horsepower or a robust 300 in twin-turbo form. The X1 also is likely to be the only crossover in the class to offer a manual transmission alternative to the automatic. The X1 is likely to come in rear-wheel-drive form, as the X1 sDrive, or with all-wheel drive, as the X1 xDrive. xDrive denotes BMW’s sophisticated AWD system with Dynamic Performance Control; it’s calibrated to enhance dry-road handling as well as slippery-surface grip. (The X3, X5, and X6 come as xDrive models only.) Despite its slightly elevated ground clearance, the X1 will be suited for only the mildest off-roading. xDrive doesn’t include low-range gearing but hill-descent control will be standard to automatically limit vehicle speed to a crawl on steep declines.
Features: BMW’s base prices include lots of features that tend toward the functional, relegating more frivolous stuff to the options list. Thus, the X1 will come standard with the full array of active and passive safety features, plus such useful items as a tilt/telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power sunroof, heated windshield washer nozzles and mirrors, automatic climate control, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The rear seat – likely equipped with three safety belts but unlikely to be wide enough to seat three adults comfortably – will split and fold to create a flat cargo floor. Extra-cost goodies will run to leather upholstery, wood interior trim, heated power front seats, and a navigation system that’ll be accompanied by BMW’s oft-criticized iDrive console control knob. Look also for a Sport package that’ll add better-bolstered front seats, unique exterior trim, and a performance-tuned suspension with 18- or 19-inch wheels and tires.

2010 BMW X1 Prices back to top

Prices for the 2010 BMW X1 were a long way from being finalized as of this report, but the rear-drive 230-horsepower model could start around $32,000 with the 300-horse version kicking in at $36,000. Add another $1,900 or so for xDrive. The larger BMW X3 starts around $39,000, and the sticker of a liberally equipped 300-horsepower AWD X1 should have an easy walk into X3 territory.  

2010 BMW X1 Fuel Economy back to top

Way too early to guess, but ratings of 18/26 mpg (city/highway) for a 230-horse sDrive seem reasonable, with mileage ratcheting down to 17/24 or so for the heavier xDrive and more-powerful 300-horsepower models.

2010 BMW X1 Release Date back to top

The BMW X1 release date has been unofficially reported as sometime in late 2009 or early 2010. If it’s the former, look for a 2010 model-year-designation. If it’s the latter, pencil the X1 in as a 2011 model.  

2010 BMW X1 Competition back to top

2011 Acura RDX: Launched for 2007 as the first small crossover designed expressly for the metrosexual in all of us, the RDX gets its first redesign for 2011. Expect Acura to repeat the formula of a front-wheel drive based-car chassis sourced from parent division Honda and tweaked with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, upscale cabin accoutrement, and great handling from a taut chassis and smart AWD. The 2011 RDX is likely to be a bit roomier than the X1 and less-expensive, too, with a base-price range of $35,000-$38,000, depending on the model.

2011 Audi Q3: Audi gets in the premium subcompact crossover hunt with this raised-suspension treatment of its small A3 hatchback. The Q3’s four-door body promises the trim, purposeful lines that have helped elevate Audi’s status to near that of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though look for a sloping coupe-like roofline. Audi could offer a turbodiesel four-cylinder alternative to the standard turbocharged gas four. Prices ranging from around $24,000 to $33,000 are a good bet, depending on model and trim. Sales should begin in mid 2010.

2011 Mini Crossman: Mini is a division of BMW, and the Crossman could compete with the X1 for young, brand-conscious shoppers. But the Crossman, basically an enlarged Mini Cooper wagon with four side doors, a raised suspension, and AWD, is probably still too cutie-pie for BMW intenders. It’ll be smaller than the X1 and come only with a four-cylinder engine making a maximum 172 horsepower. Mini’s crossover will cost less than BMW’s, too, with starting prices in the $24,000-$27,000 range. Buyers should also save on gas, with ratings of at least 24/34 mpg. The Crossman arrives during 2010.

2010 BMW X1 Next Steps