The X1's suspension is similar in scope to that of the 3 Series and features a double-joint thrust bar up front, while a double-wishbone configuration helps to keep the rear wheels in line. The whole setup offers 7.6 inches of ground clearance, which, by way of comparison, is just a third of an inch less than the larger X3 offers. Braking is handled by single-piston calipers at all four corners clamping 13.7-in. front rotors and 13.2-in. rears.
If you were worried it would drive like an SUV and not a sport wagon, you can put those fears to rest. Going down the road, the European spec X1 xDrive28i we piloted recently in Germany felt very much like any normal 3 Series. The only hint of un-car-like behavior comes from the X1's narrow track and taller roof, which can give it a slightly top-heavy feel in sharp corners. But you get used to it quickly and it never becomes white-knuckle worrisome.
As any BMW should, the X1 has a beefy steering wheel connected to a quick ratio steering rack that requires only minute inputs to put you anywhere on the road. While it displays no dead spot on center, its steering feel doesn't quite seem up to par with its 3 Series cousin, though it's arguably better than just about any other crossover sold stateside. Despite a steady rain on the day of our drive, the X1 was relatively unfazed (thanks in part to the optional sticky winter tires on our tester) and it exhibited excellent road manners overall.
The X1's firm brake pedal stopped the crossover with authority, although its well-calibrated throttle could use a little more pep at tip-in. The six-speed automatic transmission our tester came equipped with was so silky smooth that at anything less than wide open throttle, you likely won't even feel it shift. The standard automatic shift programming is impressive and always seems to know when you want to hold a gear, but if you'd rather take matters into your own hands, a pair of push-pull paddles on the steering wheel delivers quick, crisp shifts at your command.