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Curved display, more tech highlight 2023 BMW X1 changes

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The name of the game these days is lots of technology with massive screens and the 2023 BMW X1 plays this game very well.

This is the third generation for this “Sports Activity Vehicle” as BMW likes to call it. It is the smallest SUV BMW offers and incorporates much of the new design ideas the brand has with some of the driving dynamics BMW is known for in its vehicles.

Design changes for the 2023 BMW X1

Kicking off our list of changes is the new interior and the curved display blending the digital instrument cluster with the infotainment system. This clean look with BMW’s latest iDrive 8.0 software got our attention, and it looks like a much more modern interior compared to the 2022 model.

Next, the obvious exterior change has to be the front end with what BMW says is an “almost square kidney grille [that] boosts the lasting visual presence of the X1.” Well, that’s one way to put it. This new design has certainly got people’s attention and is rather polarizing.

The rest of the exterior has been slightly tweaked, including the rear taillights, which have more of a top sharp edge.

It is also larger with increased proportions. It adds 1.7 inches to the length, 0.9 inches to width and 1.7 inches to the height. The new vehicle has a wheelbase of 106.0 inches, which is 0.9 inches longer than before. Track widths have also increased by 0.8 inches, which BMW said will “benefit handling composure and on-road agility.”

Another change is going to be overall room with both the driver and front passenger having more shoulder and elbow room than the prior model thanks to the size increase.

Powertrain tweaks

Putting the 2023 BMW X1 in gear will be a change as well with a new toggle-style gear selector lever on the control panel below the curved screen.

Under the hood, the 2.0-liter twin-turbo 4-cylinder engine produces 241 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. This combination results in a 0-to-60-MPH time of 6.2 seconds.

There are paddle shifters available for a more spirited drive with the M Sport package equipped vehicles.

Speaking of a fun drive, the 2023 BMW X1 has a new re-tuned suspension and damping systems with a newly redeveloped front axle assembly and a three-link rear axle setup. These changes should result in a sportier feel while offering more comfort in long-distance driving.

Safety & other tech additions

As far as safety, BMW added the new Driving Assistance Professional system with a variety of camera and radar-based systems for steering and lane assist. Also, there is an Active Cruise Control system with Stop&Go function. Finally, there are a variety of technologies for traffic jams with the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant allowing for hands-free driving up to 40 MPH on limited-access highways.

There are also more safety features like the BMW Drive Recorder, which uses the cameras to record around the vehicle and can be downloaded or played back on the control display. It will also automatically record up to 60 seconds of footage during an accident.

Plus, there are a variety of other tech goodies like the Joy Ride recorder, which records high-definition videos up to 60 seconds in length when driving spiritedly through the countryside, phone as a key, welcome-screen animation, personal driving mode setup, driver profiles and much more.

BMW says the base price will be $38,600 plus $995 destination fee and will launch in the U.S. late in 2022. MPG estimates and full pricing to be announced later.

The bottom line on the 2023 BMW X1

The compact premium SUV space has become a hot market with buyers wanting the versatility of an SUV without giving up upscale materials and sporty driving dynamics. This new 2023 BMW X1 looks like a winner on paper. Though personal tastes on the exterior styling may vary, we can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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