We saw dozens of X1s in the GWN last summer...Vancouver area, Alberta, & Ontario. While I had my Canon 40D in my lap for 2 months for road shots, I neglected to shoot any of the X1s. Strictly from fading memory and imo, they look 'OK' in the flesh. You are accurate however, in your assessment of them being 'wagonish' looking and sort of like a slightly lifted 3 series wagon, and more squat/boxy, and less elegantly designed than the X3 or X5.
Not ugly, just not quite as groovy looking as the promo pics, if that translates...
For at least the few dozen here that seem to be salivating for one, BMWNA has done their job in making these things scare, and slightly hyped.
It was on our short list when announced 2+ years ago, but the dearth of product for the US mkt forced our hand in replacing the CEO's pos Honda CR-V with a loaded Hyundai Tucson, for considerably less dough; and she likes it. The X1 may still come up on our car list Juke Box if/when our '01 X5 goes off to Valhalla. But, very disappointed in no 6 spd manual, and a diesel off on the far distant horizon for the US mkt.
Very cogent points/questions on your part; I would think a CDA or Euro owner could give their opins.
'01 X5 3.0 Sport, 5 Spd Manual, etc.
'02 VetteVert 6 Spd, Z51 susp.
'10 Hyundai Tucson for the CEO, & 3 Assorted M'Cycles.
BMW CCA mem. Tarheel Chapter