No, this isn’t the same First Drive story we published a year-and-a-half ago, and no, the BMW X1 still isn’t on-sale here. What’s going on, then? Well, BMW hit a little production snag, but the X1 is still coming and in the meantime, the Bavarians have been cooking up a little update that should make the X1 even more appealing to U.S. buyers.
Less than two years isn't nearly long enough on the market to spur a mid-cycle facelift, so the changes to the 2012 X1 aren't readily apparent - until you step on the gas. The updates are under the hood, where it matters most. But why then does the X1 have the same xDrive28i model designation? That we can't answer. Ask BMW.
What we can tell you is what's new: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Last time around, the X1 was rocking a 258-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six with 228 pound-feet of torque and nary a turbo in sight. The straight-six was a good engine, and when you wound it out, the X1 did a pretty good impression of a 3 Series wagon, which it more or less is. But then, your average driver doesn't typically wring out the engine, even if that's how BMW engines are best enjoyed.
Conscious of this, as well as of the ever-tightening fuel economy and emissions regulations, BMW has decided to downsize. That is why the free-breathing inline-six is on its way out in favor of the new breathed-on four-banger. On paper, the advantages are many. Zero-to-60 mph acceleration actually drops by 0.7 seconds, BMW says, to just 6.1 seconds. Average fuel consumption, as measured on the European cycle, improves by 5 miles per gallon to 30 mpg average. CO2 emissions drop by 35 grams per kilometer.