2016 BMW X1

2016 BMW X1

Episode 3547
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The BMW X1 was a true, early entry into the subcompact luxury crossover segment. But as is often the case, those that quickly follow are able to use your blueprint and improve upon it.  Thus a new X1 has now been unleashed on the entry-level luxury loving streets of upscale suburbia.  But there’s more new here than meets the eye.   

The 2016 BMW X1 may not look all that unique from its predecessor; but it is indeed vastly different, riding on all-new architecture, and a front-wheel-drive based one at that. 

Surely blasphemy to the BMW faithful. It’s all about baby steps, folks. BMW has already gotten you addicted to their SUVs, and now they slip in the front-drive architecture. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the reasons for that change; to drive costs down thanks to platform sharing with MINI, while bringing interior space up. 

And there is indeed more room, especially in the back seat; but don’t expect midsize space here, it still feels smallish.

There’s also a bit more cargo space, climbing from 25.0 to 27.1 cubic-ft.; accessed by a standard power lift gate. Hands free operation is an option making the X1 a much more practical vehicle. 

And we do like our practicality, as does BMW; giving us functionality plusses like the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats that slide and recline; as well as fold almost fully flat to expand the space to 58.7 cubic-ft. 

All of the additional space wasn’t really a necessity, but it is much appreciated, making the X1 one of the roomiest in its class; now just about the perfect size for families either starting out or nearing the empty nester phase. 

Still, the X1 retains that intimate feel that we love in a BMW, being surrounded by a luxury-clad, competently sporty vehicle. And not only are all materials inside improved, but everything seems more upscale in operation. 

Well, everything except the front seats, that is. They are small, narrow, and uncomfortable almost to the point of being a deal breaker. And you definitely want to think twice about seats this light in color if kids are in your foreseeable future.

The X1 is initially available only in a single xDrive28i model. So despite a front-drive type chassis, it comes standard with all-wheel drive. As does an 8-speed automatic transmission and 18-inch wheels. Plenty of add-ons like head-up display and advanced safety features are available. 

Though I6 power is offered no more; only a 2.0-liter turbo I4. Still, 228–horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque easily puts it among class best. 

We tried to make it sweat, but it responded by continuously delivering smooth and buzz-free trips to 60 in 6.3-seconds. It’s quite torquey off the line, with some front wheel spin before the rears kick in to compensate. 

Gear changes were quick and firm, accompanied by a nice exhaust rasp throughout the 14.8-second ¼-mile run, which we completed at 94 miles-per-hour.  

Even with the shift to a front-drive chassis, handling remains very rear-drive BMW-like. That’s not a big surprise, since this platform already deals out plenty of fun in the MINI Cooper. And, with all-wheel drive standard, it’s almost a guarantee that most buyers will not be able to tell the switch in chassis design.

Though we certainly could sense some additional understeer; body roll was kept well in check. 

111–foot average stops from 60 is certainly not bad either, but braking performance was not quite up to the par we had in mind. Stops were inconsistent and the pedal felt soft with a fair amount of travel. 

The X1 does appear more SUVish than before, and much better looking overall. But like most of the European crossover entries in this segment, still a little too “wagony” for our tastes. 

Most every dimension has increased, except for length; minus-1 overall, while the wheelbase shrinks by 3½-inches to 105.1. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. Our average was just 24.8 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Still, that makes for a better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of annual oil use with 5.7-tons of CO2 emissions. 

X1 base pricing is a reasonable $35,795; but you can easily tack on another 10-grand in optional packages. 

Oddly enough, going against just about everything BMW stands for, has made the 2016 BMW X1 one of our favorite BMWs; especially if you look at is as a sporty 5-door, not as an entry-level crossover.

It may not be the most capable or comfortable mini-ute on the market, but as you can expect, it’s one of the most fun. BMW has addressed anything we didn’t like before, as well as taken almost everything that we did like about the previous gen X1 and made it better. And most importantly, given us more of it.


  • Engine: 2.0 liter Turbo I4
  • Horsepower: 228
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 94 mph
  • EPA: 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
  • Transmission: 8 spd automatic
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined