The 2014 BMW X1 is one of those very small crossovers that was marketed for several years in Canada and Europe before the German automaker decided that there was enough interest in the United States to make a go of it. The BMW X1 is unique in that it doesn’t have all that many competitors in America - in fact, only the Infiniti QX50 and the upcoming GLA-Class from Mercedes-Benz really combine the subcompact size and upscale luxury features that are part of the X1 experience. It's a niche vehicle, to be sure, but one that's a lot more practical than most models with that appellation typically are.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 BMW X1.
01 - The 2014 BMW X1 Is A Subcompact Crossover
The 2014 BMW X1 fits into the subcompact crossover class, which is aimed specifically at upscale shoppers who want the all-weather capability that a comparable hatchback like the Lexus CT 200h just can't provide them with. The BMW X1's small stature positions it just under the BMW X3 compact crossover in the company's lineup, providing an alternative for those seeking to save some bucks but still keep the BMW roundel on the front. It's also much more of a lifestyle vehicle that is easy to park in an urban environment but still versatile enough for a weekend of camping or hitting the slopes.
02 - The 2014 BMW X1 Rides On A Sedan Platform
The 2014 BMW X1 shares its platform with the BMW X3, which is to say that it makes use of a shortened version of the same underpinnings found on the BMW 3 Series sedan. This is a bonus for fans of spirited driving, as the BMW X1 handles far more like a tall wagon than an SUV and delivers the kind of cornering capability that is often missing from its segment. The 3 Series roots also improve comfort inside the cabin, as the crossover feels connected while simultaneously dialing out road harshness by way of its unibody design.
03 - The 2014 BMW X1 Provides Solid Practicality
The 2014 BMW X1 shouldn't be confused with family-oriented compact crossovers and SUVs when taking a look at how useful it can be on a daily basis. Remember the term 'lifestyle vehicle' we used when discussing the BMW X1 in our opening paragraph? This is code for 'great for two adults,' as the rear seat in the crossover is a bit tight if you wanted to stuff a proper infant seat or a pair of additional grown-ups back there. The X1 is meant to be enjoyed by a couple who are willing to fold down its second row of accommodations and make the most of the almost 50 cubic feet of cargo space that is available behind the first two positions.
04 - The 2014 BMW X1 Is Available With Two Engine Choices
The 2014 BMW X1's base engine is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for this unit checks in at 23-mpg in city driving and 34-mpg on the highway (thanks in part to an automatic engine start/stop feature that prevents idling), and it enables the BMW X1 to hit 60-mph in 6.2 seconds. Stepping up to the X1's available 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder motor introduces 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, along with a 5.8-second run to 60-mph and fuel mileage of 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
05 - The 2014 BMW X1 Features Available All-Wheel Drive
The base 2014 BMW X1 offers rear-wheel drive as standard equipment, which is a rarity in the crossover universe but perfectly in line with the brand's image as the purveyor of sporty automobiles. Fear not, however, if you live in a climate where snow is a daily fact of life in the winter: the BMW X1 can also be had with the option of all-wheel drive (called xDrive in BMW parlance) when ordering the four-cylinder engine, and for six-cylinder versions of the crossover, it's included free of charge. All versions of the BMW X1 come with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
06 - The 2014 BMW X1 Comes In Three Trim Levels
The entry-level BMW X1 sDrive28i features automatic climate control, HD radio, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, 17-inch rims, an iPod interface, genuine imitation leather seats, and an adjustable steering column. Selecting the xDrive28i trim is almost identical, save for the addition of all-wheel drive and a hill descent control system. The top-shelf BMW X1 xDrive35i maintains all-wheel drive and electronic descent control assistance, but also adds niceties such as adaptive HID headlights, power adjustments for those riding in the front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. It additionally up-sizes the vehicle's rims to 18-inches.
07 - The 2014 BMW X1 Offers Many Options Packages
The 2014 BMW X1 is intended to boost its bottom line by compelling buyers to select from a sea of profitable options packages. The BMW X1's Premium package includes keyless ignition and entry, real leather seats with power adjustment, and a panoramic sunroof, while the Lighting package adds HID headlights with automatic high beams and enhanced interior lighting. The Cold Weather package rounds up a heated steering wheel and heaters for the two front seats, and the Technology package installs a navigation system, enhanced Bluetooth support, and the ability to control certain vehicle systems by way of a mobile phone app. You can also opt for the Ultimate package, which combines the Premium, Technology and Drive Assistance content (parking assistance, rearview camera) all in one.
Incidentally, like other BMW models the X1 can be ordered in one of three 'lines.' The xLine and Sport Line customize the vehicle's interior trim, seats, and rims, while the M Sport Line makes 19-inch rims available, tightens up the crossover's suspension, and adds a body kit. The eight-speed autobox also gets paddle shifters when the M Sport Line is selected.
08 - The 2014 BMW X1 Is A Safe Ride
The 2014 BMW X1 features side curtain airbags that run the entire length of the cabin, seat-mounted side impact airbags, dual forward airbags, and active head restraints for the front seats. It also comes with an anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control and traction control, and an automatic brake drying system that is active whenever the windshield wipers are in use, as well as the BMW Assist telematics feature that can automatically contact emergency services should a serious impact be detected by the vehicle. BMW Assist can also help to track and recover a stolen vehicle.
09 - The 2014 BMW X1 Competes Against Larger Rivals
Like we pointed out in the introduction, the 2014 BMW X1 really doesn't have a lot of competitors in its class. This means that much of the time, the BMW X1 is being cross-shopped against other, larger SUVs that sit above the vehicle in the compact segment. The X1 might seem to come up short when compared to models like the Audi Q5, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, or even its BMW X3 sibling when focusing on passenger room and cargo space, but narrowing the scope to take pricing and performance (especially handling) into consideration is a better way to highlight the X1's strengths.
10 - The 2014 BMW X1 Is About To Be Redesigned
The 2014 BMW X1 hasn't been on the American market all that long, but it's already on the verge of being redesigned. The changes to the upcoming 2015 BMW X1 are going to be major, with all evidence pointing to a new, front-wheel drive-based platform that will favor fuel economy over performance (and offer an array of small-displacement, turbocharged four-cylinder engines). There's also a will to improve the overall quality of the materials used throughout the X1 in an effort to take it further up-market. With this in mind, you might be able to snag a good deal on any remaining 2014 inventory prior to the 2015s hitting the street, as well as purchase the last high performance subcompact crossover that BMW is likely to build.