The new BMW X1 has seen a complete revamp. It’s now more of a Suv and looks a lot less like a car. I’ve been saying that their X range has taken a drastic increase in size, with the X1, size more like the 1st generation X3 and the X3, well… That’s about the size of an X5.
It’s not a bad thing. People want space, people interested in this segment, want a lot of space for all sorts of things, mountain bike, prams, luggage, baby seats… I can probably go on, but for now, I can tell you that this newer X1 has a lot to offer, but its premium and with that badge, it’s likely to be pricey when compared to its rivals.
The interior is still very, well, premium and when added specifications are added like, heated seats and a Harmon Kardon sound, driving the X1 can be really rewarding, especially if music fuels your fire. The biggest complaint about the cabin has to be the small screen which in turn can look a little cramped up, especially when compared to the bigger 3 series screen. The navigation of the multimedia is still the same, though there were far fewer options here.
The X1 with the 2.0 Diesel is probably my preferred model in the range as it offers brilliant fuel economy and a strong torque curve. Mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic, seems to be the obvious choice, but there is a lack of paddles, which one can probably spec, should you really want it. The interior space is ample, especially in the rear with the seats being adjustable. I could fit my 1.9m frame in the back and still have a lot of space. The back of the X1 is really not a bad place to spend time if it comes down to that.
The X1 rides a litter “harder” than the segment would want to. It’s not a bad thing with 3 series like handling and less of a lean in the corners. Our model fitted with tasteful 18” alloys also looked pretty amazing, but as usual, the road noise increases when the wheels get bigger and the profiles get thinner, also the run flat tires don’t help in this regard. The 183mm ground clearance is also far lower than the crossover segment is used to and for this reason only, I would probably not chose the X1 if gravel travel is my preferred choice. But you have to be practical and realize that how much of your time will be spent on the black stuff and even then, would it be worthwhile to choose the X-drive variant at all. But it does give one a fair bit more confidence in all weather conditions.
To come back to that brilliant 2.0 oil burner that in my opinion, BMW has perfected. Not only does it offer incredible economy, it also boasts very good performance figures with the 140kw and 400nm on tap, overtaking is no trouble at all.
The X1 is a premium vehicle in this very competitive segment. With the Koreans and the Japanese not far behind in terms of interior quality, the BMW badge and aftersales goes a long way. One obviously still have Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo in the pool too. In the end, it comes down to which badge you want in your driveway, and which you don’t.
Our X1 Xdrive 2.0 D as tested came to R678 970 (price as standard R566 821) for more info, www.bmw.co.za