I'm finding that a lot of the brands are doing the same thing (particularly at the higher-end). MB advertises that the CLA and GLA "start at" some reasonable price like $32,000 or so, but you'll be missing features; it'll be closer to $40k by the time you add on typical packages. Ford and Chevrolet do the same thing. The Ford Focus goes from something like (not exactly sure) $16k to $25 or more depending upon the packages. Of course, in a Focus, just for example, it makes sense that someone might want just a basic car. Looking at some of these non-luxury brands, I find it easy to find base models, and hard to even find upper trims on the lots. They couldn't fine me any upper-trim GTIs, for example. Weird.
I think Honda and some other brands are a bit better about having limited number of packages/trims. Audi give you a lot of features in the base model -- leather, xenons, etc. Acura does too. (A used A3, in the old "sportback" style, might be a good comparable to the X1. Similar price but with more stuff... but not as fast/sporty.)
But, yeah, BMW may be the worst with the packages. I tried looking up a new 2-series with no extras... and didn't see any at local dealers. This should be around the $32k mark, and still be a nice driver's car. No frills, just get in and drive. Probably would have to special-order? You can find $40K+ 2-series, no problem. :-/
So, I've already been debating "base vs. higher trim" while looking at different cars. I can more easily justify it on one of the cheaper cars, but it's harder to swallow on these already-expensive ones.
Anyway, I started out car shopping looking for all of the extras, but the cost is pretty significant, and buying used you're limited to what is available. I dunno, I could go either way. I love the technology extras, but I'm not one that cares about power seats -- just power windows. I draw the line at roll-up windows. ;-) Having said that, the manual seat adjustment on that X1 is pretty bad.