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Mudfest 2013: Tom's Hardware Helps Test 23 SUVs


BMW finally introduced the X1 to the U.S. for 2013 after making it available in Europe since 2010 and Canada in 2012. The sample on-hand for Mudfest was a well-equipped xDrive35i model with all-wheel drive and enough power to get us into trouble. Optional packages on the X1 included the Sport Line, Cold Weather, Driver Assistance, Ultimate (includes Premium, Technology, and Navigation packages), BMW Apps, and an automatic transmission.

The X1 has the QNX-based BMW Navigation system with a control knob mounted within reach from the armrest. This is one of what we consider to be the most ideal mechanisms for navigation input, since it enables a relaxed interaction without being too distracting. Our iPad had no trouble interfacing with BMW's navigation system. Likewise, HTC's Droid DNA paired up and was able to read text messages out loud. It did not offer an option to reply, though.

Power comes from an 3.0-liter N55-series inline-six, per BMW fashion. The N55 motor employs a twin scroll turbo for minimal lag. BMW pairs the engine with a six-speed automatic transmission and sends power to all four wheels through the xDrive AWD system, which is designed with rear-wheel drive in mind. Normally, it splits power 40:60, though up to 100 percent can be diverted to the front or rear automatically.

The X1’s powertrain yields a fun-to-drive crossover that's well suited to the speed racer inside each of us. I couldn’t help but smile driving the X1 on the road and dirt courses. The rear-biased nature of the xDrive system allowed me to briefly kick the rear end loose before sending power to the front. Although I enjoy the X1's bit of oversteer, it's probably not something more casual drivers will care for.

Styling is hit or miss with the X1. We don't think it's downright ugly, but the car is a far cry from what BMW has achieved in the past. The late '90s and early 2000-era cars (E39 5-series, E38 7-series, E46 3-series) were much better-looking. The Marrakesh Brown Metallic paint job didn’t do the X1 any favors, either.

Vehicle Specifications
Vehicle2013 BMW X1
Trim levelxDrive35i
Engine3.0 L BMW TwinPower Inline-six (N55B30)
TransmissionSix-speed Steptronic automatic
InfotainmentBMW Navigation
Notable featuresRear-view cameraPark distance controlBMW Assist with BluetoothBMW AppsServotronic vehicle speed-sensitive power steering
Fuel economy18 city, 27 highway, 21 combined MPG