BMW’s compact X1 is a high-spirited and charismatic crossover with all the virtues of an SUV and the joyful performance of a sports car.
For 2020 the X1 is updated inside and out. A previously optional 8.8-inch display screen is now a standard feature of the infotainment system, which includes iDrive 6, navigation, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The instrument panel and floor mats have decorative stitching, and the optional Dakota interior adds a color-matched lower dashboard and door handle surfaces. A new electronic gear selector operates the updated eight-speed automatic transmission.
Exterior styling of the X1 has been revised to more closely resemble that of its larger BMW siblings, the X3, X5, and X7. A new sculptured design for the BMW kidney grille is complemented by new LED headlights and LED fog lights. At the rear, new tinted LED taillights with L-shaped light bars highlight the revised look.
BMW’s optional M Sport Package for the X1 has been redesigned for 2020 to have more aggressive dynamics including a new front bumper, side skirts, wheel arch trim, and a body-color rear diffuser.
There are two versions of the 2020 BMW X1: the front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i ($36,195) and the all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive 28i ($38,195). Both are powered by a 228-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy ratings for the front-drive X1 are 24 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. For the all-wheel-drive model, the numbers are 23/31/26 mpg. Premium gasoline is recommended.
I drove the X1 xDrive 28i for this review. Its all-wheel drive system provided an extra level of welcome stability while driving on an eastern Snohomish County road covered with deep slush, especially at a particularly sharp curve that a less fortunate driver had overshot. The BMW xDrive AWD system functions in tandem with the car’s dynamic stability control system to transfer power to the rear wheels when needed to improve traction.
The turbo engine has plenty of punch and its maximum 258 lb-ft of torque is available early on, at 1,450 rpm, so there’s no wanting for rapid acceleration. Gear ratios were revised for the eight-speed automatic transmission to enhance performance, and its shifting activity is subtle to the point of being undetectable.
An optional Premium Package ($4,950) for the tester added quite a few things a buyer might want in spite of the considerable extra expense, including a panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, lumbar support, LED headlights with cornering illumination, LED fog lights, active cruise control, navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio with a one-year subscription.
Nineteen-inch wheels, a slide-and-recline rear seat, sport front seats, and parking assist were some of the standalone options on the tester. Another one – $1,200 and worth every penny if you ask me – was Storm Bay Metallic paint, one of three new metallic colors for this year. The other two are Jucaro Beige Metallic and Misano Blue Metallic.
2020 BMW X1 xDRIVE 28i
Base price, including destination charge: $38,195
Price as driven: $48,645
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.