FWIW I'm driving a loaded x3 35i as a loaner today. I've driven an X1 before and this is far superior. I'm not a big fan of the styling of the BMW x-line; however, if you happen to be, I'd recommend giving it a shot. If it's out of your price range new, why not look CPO?
I agree with these points. I once rode in an x3 and that's the smallest suv platform that I think maintains the desired functionality of an SUV. The X1 is far too small.
I personally think Cao Cao should cross shop the Aston Martin One-77 if he can fit it in his budget. If that's a stretch, perhaps the Aventador SV would work for his wallet.
Just my two cents.