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Car Tech Spotlight: Eco Pro Mode in the 2013 BMW X1

Unlike some fuel-saving features, the X1's 'eco' setting still lets you have fun.

By Douglas Newcomb May 24, 2013 6:55AM

BMW X1 Eco Pro Mode.Most vehicles these days have “eco” indicators to let you know whether you’re driving in a fuel-efficient manner, and many also have specific modes that optimize powertrain performance for maximum fuel efficiency.


Some of these systems are subtle and simple. Others are more in-your-face, like the “growing leaves” in some Ford vehicles that let you know that you’re killing trees when you waste gas. And some are overly intrusive, like the annoying Eco Pedal mode in some Infiniti models that pushes back when you push the accelerator too hard.


While driving a 2013 BMW X1 xDrive28i, I discovered that the vehicle’s Eco Pro Mode falls more toward the restrained side of the scale both in terms of its effect on performance and in its instrument panel indicators.


It not only teaches how to drive more fuel efficiently, it also has a unique and motivating way of encouraging it.


Pushing the Eco Pro Mode button in the center stack activates the system and engages engine-management software that dampens throttle response and causes the automatic transmission to upshift sooner and stay in a higher gear longer. For cars with a manual transmission, shift recommendations change accordingly. Eco Pro will even adjust the climate control to help save fuel and shut down the heated side mirrors.


Seldom did I feel like Eco Pro Mode was being a spoilsport and not letting me enjoy the X1’s 2.0-liter 240-horsepower twin-turbo engine. if I was driving in a fuel-foolish manner, the car would give me subtle tips in the center dash display, such as “accelerate moderately.”


A small indicator in the instrument panel would also flash to let me know I was outside of the Eco Pro zone. But my favorite Eco Pro feature was a separate display in the instrument cluster that shows a “bonus range,” or how many extra miles you can drive on a tank if you're more light-footed.


BMW says that using Eco Pro Mode can boost fuel economy by up to 20 percent. But the best part was feeling like I wasn’t giving up a lot of driving fun while gaining extra gas mileage. Plus, reading how many more miles I could squeeze out of a tank gave me more incentive to drive easier than watching leaves drop or playing tug of war with a gas pedal.


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1Comment
May 28, 2013 4:50AM
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These writers need to do more research before submitting their work to be published on the internet... The X1's engine is a TwinPower Turbo engine not twin turbo... meaning its a twin scroll SINGLE turbo come on msn. 
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