Ask a group of BMW enthusiasts how they feel about the newly-released, second-generation BMW X1 and you’ll almost certainly get a large mix of opinions. Some like the way it looks, some like the extra space and some like the way it drives, despite its sacrilegious front-wheel drive roots. Yet some feel it’s the four-wheeled incarnation of the devil himself, for abandoning the BMW way of rear-driven wheels. The gang at Motor Trend seem to be just as conflicted about BMW’s newest crossover creation. Yet, despite its mixed feelings, the BMW X1 is one of MT’s contender for SUV of the Year.
Based on the same front-wheel drive, UKL architecture that underpins modern MINIs, the BMW X1 is the first ever BMW sold in the United States to available with just two front-driven wheels. However, there are many BMW enthusiasts who find that the X1 still drives as a BMW should (at least as a BMW crossover should). But, there are probably more who dislike it. Many of the MT journalists felt it to handle well with good steering, the rest felt otherwise. Some liked its looks, some hated them. Some appreciated the interior space and build quality, some felt it was cheap. So, it’s unlikely that the X1 makes it any further in the competition.
Although, personally, I’d argue that it’s the best small luxury crossover on the market. Having driven its competitors, the X1 is by far the most entertaining, has the bet steering and is the sharpest handling. Cars like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC will be more popular, but they’re about as enjoyable to be in as a dentist’s chair. Though, that’s my personal opinion and, as we’ve already established, opinions on the X1 are varied to say the least.
Admittedly, I have fond memories of the X1 from having driven it at its launch, in Mexico, last year, which was an experience in itself. So maybe I have slightly rose-tinted glasses on when looking at the X1, but they’re my feelings nevertheless.
What did Motor Trend like, overall, about the X1? “The translation of BMW styling; tons of interior space.” What didn’t they like? “The narrow, flat front seats; chassis with an identity crisis.”. Will that be enough to win the competition? Not likely, but it’s nice to see the X1 getting enough love to be a contender.
Some of the cars it will be contending with are the Cadillac XT5, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and the Toyota Land Cruiser. So not all will be in the same class as the X1, but all very good competitors. We’ll see how it turns out for the tiny Bavarian, but it’s not likely that it does well with its extremely mixed reviews.
[Source: Motor Trend]