2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i

The third generation BMW X1’s reworked exterior is sharper and more substantial than ever.
The third generation BMW X1’s reworked exterior is sharper and more substantial than ever.

by Ben So | February 23, 2023


The automotive industry went through a boom of subcompact luxury crossovers boom these past few years, where every luxury automaker offered us a sample of an entry-level luxury vehicle for the masses. Fast forward to 2023, a lot of our favourite subcompact luxury crossovers are getting long in the tooth – the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Volvo XC40, and Cadillac XT4 to name a few – so naturally, we are excited to get the keys to the 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i to get a glimpse of what the next wave looks like.

The third generation BMW X1’s reworked exterior is sharper and more substantial than ever – the chiseled bodywork looks attractive and modern and the X1 shares a lot of resemblance with its big brother the X5, which is always a good strategy to welcome mainstream car shoppers to the brand. Our tester is equipped with the more sophisticated xLine package that adds satin aluminum accents, and buyers who want to further spice it up can opt for the M Sport Package that comes with all the performance goodies like larger wheels, gloss black details, sport seats, adaptive M suspension, and M leather steering wheel.

The 2.0-litre TwinPower four-cylinder engine has also received a revision and now generates more power than the outgoing model. Horsepower is rated at 241 at 4,500 RPM and torque is rated at 295 lb-ft. at 1,500 RPM – up from 228 and 258, respectively. While the additional power is not immediately felt and zero to 100 km/h sprint time is only improved by one millisecond to 6.4 seconds, the X1 xDrive28i does manage to accelerate with relative ease and the new seven-speed dual clutch is seamless. There is, however, a learning curve with the omission of a selectable parking gear, and instead drivers will rely on the vehicle to shift into park on its own when the engine is switched off, or when the parking brake is engaged.

When the xDrive all-wheel drive system is not sensing a need to for traction in all four corners, it would mainly be driving through the two front wheels and as such, the X1 handles like what one would expect from a front-drive hatchback. It is not totally dull as it does show some quick reflexes when you turn the wheel quickly, but it is not the BMW you would want if you were looking for a crossover to tackle the back roads. For that, we would suggest getting the X3 – it remains one of the best driving crossovers not named Porsche Macan and is well suited for enthusiast’s driving for the street.

According to Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption guide, the 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i is rated to consume 9.6L/100km in the city, 7.0L/100km on the highway, for a combined figure of 8.4L/100km. It closely matched our observed 9.4L/100km over a city-heavy commute, which was rather impressive given the cold climate we had run our road tests in. Premium fuel is required for the 65-litre tank.

Moving on inside, the X1 boasts a much cleaner and upscale layout when compared to the outgoing generation. The full digital instrument cluster and main infotainment screen is connected to look like one big curved display – a design that is growing in popularity especially in the luxury automobile segment – and the rest of the cabin looks more upscale with a minimalist design and improved materials.

While the centre console decluttering looks good, its user-experience is unfortunately hampered as most physical buttons are absorbed by the touchscreen infotainment system. We have always been a fan of BMW’s rotary dial controller and its easy-to-use media and climate control systems. With the new setup, most of these controls require multiple touches to make, and often times essential functions such as heated seat and steering wheel control is buried beneath submenus.

The good news is that the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control system is able to recognize most conversational prompts for quick adjustments on the fly and we think in due time one will be able to get used to this new way of system access rather than relying on touch.

The 2023 BMW X1 has once again grown a size; it is longer, wider, and taller than the outgoing model and there is no better evidence than when you take a seat inside, especially in the rear. Head and legroom is above-average for this class, and the panoramic sunroof along with the big windows make the cabin feel a lot roomier than it is. Seats are relatively comfortable up front, but the rear bench is a bit flat for longer trips. Drivers who seek extra bolstering can consider adding the optional sports seats, either on its own or as part of the aforementioned M Sport Package. Cargo space measures in at 727 litres and expands up to 1,619 litres when the rear seats are folded.

One of the biggest improvements on the new 2023 BMW X1 lies in its driver assistance and safety technology. The standard front-collision warning system with brake intervention has been improved to incorporate pedestrian and cyclist detection as well as better warning and mitigation specifically for left turns. Standard also is the Active Blind Spot Detection that now includes exit warning function to warn of upcoming cars or bicycles when the front doors are opened.

Most impressively, BMW’s excellent Driving Assistance Professional is now available as an option on the BMW X1, as well as Parking Assistant Plus, Surround View camera, and Drive Recorder with automatic recording in the event of an accident to give the compact crossover a solid competitive advantage in its segment.

Starting at $45,800, the 2023 X1 is a very attractive option for buyers looking to get into a luxury crossover, especially when you consider the new 2023 Honda CR-V EX-L starts at around the same price. Our tester came loaded with the Premium Enhanced Package ($6,250) and xLine Package ($1,350), bringing the as-tested total to $53,400.

Despite all the attention going to electrification, the 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i shows us that luxury automakers have not forgotten about their entry level gasoline powered crossovers. Instead, they are taking their time to make this next wave of luxury subcompact crossovers are loaded with state-of-the-art driving assistance technology and comfort features to compete with not only vehicles in their own segment, but also fend off the increasingly sophisticated mainstream offerings, electric powered or not.

See Also:

2022 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC

2022 Lexus NX 350 AWD

2022 Acura RDX Platinum Elite A-Spec

Vehicle Specs
Subcompact Luxury Crossover
Engine Size
2.0L turbocharged inline-four
Horsepower (at RPM)
241 at 4,500
Torque (lb-ft.)
295 at 1,500
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '13 JX35 Tech