$22,207 - $23,540

2017 BMW X1 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 BMW X1 was new.


Performance: 8.6

The 2017 BMW X1 delivers ample power and energetic acceleration. The sluggish transmission doesn't do the engine any favors, but the three selectable driving modes help offset that by letting you adjust the driving dynamics to your liking. The X1 has sharp steering and a tight turning radius, making it highly maneuverable in tight quarters. It handles winding roads with ease, and it's even capable of some light off-roading (with all-wheel drive models).

  • "It delivers trademark BMW quality inside and out, and despite having less power than earlier versions, the X1 still accelerates and handles better than most in its class." -- Edmunds
  • "In short, the X1 is more than qualified to maneuver around a Whole Foods parking lot. And if that parking lot becomes partially blocked by a rock slide in some Michael Bay film scenario, the X1 will likely solve that with little effort." -- AutoWeek (2016)
  • This is no sports car -- despite its dynamic feel -- but returned what felt like good performance for this class." -- CNET (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The X1 features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 228 horsepower. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine feels smooth and responsive. The potent acceleration makes it easy to pass other cars on the highway, and the engine delivers enough power for all driving situations. The transmission occasionally feels like it's holding the engine back, but you can compensate for that by putting the X1 in Sport mode, which is one of three driving modes that alter performance (the other two are Comfort and Eco Pro).

The X1 gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. That's a bit better than the class average, though it still lags behind the Mercedes-Benz GLA's fuel economy ratings.

  • "Most shoppers will be happy with the X1's turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It delivers its power in a silky, linear fashion under most driving conditions and returns solid fuel economy relative to its power rating. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and unobtrusively, although you need to set the X1 in Sport mode to feel its full potential." -- Edmunds
  • "Acceleration was brisk, enabling us to pass the little traffic we encountered along our way without even making the engine breathe hard." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • The new mill feels even more responsive than the one that won me over in 2013; the new eight-speed automatic transmission, on the other hand, somewhat dulls the fun in its standard setting. Fortunately, there is a Sport drive mode setting that puts the entire powertrain on edge and allow[s] the engine to shine. There's also an Eco Pro setting that does the opposite, smoothing out acceleration for improved efficiency." -- CNET (2016)

Handling and Braking

A notable change for 2017 is that the X1 no longer features standard all-wheel drive. Instead, front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. In either setup, the X1 is highly maneuverable thanks to its tight turning radius. The steering is well-weighted, and when combined with the sharp handling, it makes the X1 more than a match for almost every winding road.

If there is a drawback, it's that the X1 has a somewhat stiff ride. That helps it remain composed when cornering, but it also means that you'll be jostled around a bit more on imperfect roads or terrain. The X1 isn't an off-road conqueror, but when equipped with all-wheel drive, it can hold its own through some rugged terrain.

  • "The good turning radius of the X1 also comes into play when it came time for some close-quarters maneuvering, with the steering providing just the right amount of feel on and off the road." -- AutoWeek (2016)
  • We wish the ride was a bit more forgiving, as this X1 can be jittery over sharper bumps. The trade-off is an X1 that also feels very confident through curves. More enthusiastic drivers will find it responsive enough to provide an entertaining drive on twisting roads. Precise, low-effort steering helps, too (it's weightier in Sport mode, which some will prefer), although the sensation of its electrical power assistance occasionally feels slightly odd." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "… the X1 performs surprisingly well off-road. It'll go up inclines you wouldn't dream about tackling with a car of this type, and it should have no trouble reaching a cabin at the end of a muddy trail or dealing with a tough winter." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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