2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i | Refreshingly sporty & practical

by W. Andrew Powell
2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i

Summer driving instantly sprang to my mind when I first saw the 2020 X1 xDrive28i. December doesn’t make me think of summer normally, but the X1 has the sporty style of a car you want drive to the beach–or on the beach–and maybe a weekend getaway in the woods.

It’s frankly the most fun, yet practical car I’ve driven in a while.

The second generation Sports Activity Vehicle certainly holds its own in winter too though, thanks to the all wheel drive, and the 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine.

The X1 is rated at 228 hp, with 258 lb-ft of torque, and it’s easy to see why it’s BMW’s best-selling X vehicle worldwide, and third best-selling X vehicle in Canada. Between the power, style, and the space in the car, it’s an impressively well-rounded vehicle.

Introduced in 2015, the roomy SAV features an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the one I drove was in the very striking Misano Blue Metallic, with black Dakota leather for the interior.

The X1 feels like a car you can pack up with groceries, and still fits four very comfortably, with enough room in the trunk to make it perfect for road trips and extended travel too.

What I loved about it though was that the car didn’t feel like a bulky SUV, or an old station wagon. The size and design offers something more compact, but honestly, unlike some cars, not too compact. BMW has balanced out the size and styling to make it a car you actually want to drive for fun too.

Behind the wheel, I do wish that the car featured the new and greatly improved iDrive 7, but the X1 is still using the iDrive 6, for the record. The controls though are otherwise fantastic, and I still appreciate how well the infotainment system works, with the always fantastic iDrive controller that’s within easy reach.

The iDrive 6 also is at least packed with features, like customization of the panels, gesture controls, and really smooth voice controls when you need them, including for looking up addresses.

You can also call up the EffecientDynamics information to see how the car is managing power to the wheels.

For the second generation of the X1, a number of elements have been upgraded, including improved LED headlights that feature a rather iconic design, a more striking grill, and a more sculptured design overall with sharper lines, including around the bumpers.

The 8-speed automatic transmission balances power to the wheels, so it delivers power where you need it to stay on track, as it were. In slippery conditions, that means it will balance out the power exactly where you need to keep the car going straight. It also helps with understeering around turns, and traction going uphill.

The base retail is $41,900, but with the premium package enhanced, and M Sport package, the version I drove came to $50,600.

The car also comes in a wide range of colours including Storm Bay or Jucaro Beige metallics, and Alpine White or Jet Black, plus a range of optional metallic colours, like Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver, and Mediterranean Blue.

2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i with premium package enhanced

I’m sure the base model is great, but the premium package enhanced offers a lot of things that make the X1 enjoyable, including the heated steering wheel, panorama sunroof, sport seats, LED headlights with cornering, park assistant, and head-up display, but the on-board navigation is a big extra too for anyone who drives for work or even road trips.

In terms of mileage, the X1 offers excellent fuel economy, particularly in the eco driving mode, or you can pop it into sport mode to feel those 228 horses take charge.

It’s a minor touch, but I also love the “X1” projection that shows up when you open the driver’s door. Little touches like these make the vehicle what it is: a refreshing, sporty, and perfectly practical car that’s fun, eye-catching, and ready for your next adventure.

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