Urban looking cross-overs are almost like urban assault vehicles. Think about it; you could have opted for a regular car and driven that everywhere you went. Instead, look at this concept. A low roof wagon type of vehicle with adequate ground clearance, that will come in handy on that little gravel road or for pavement hopping.
The X1 is a great looking vehicle; there is no 2 ways about it. It looks like a bit of a mixture though. The frond end is completely X5 inspired with a rather low front spoiler. It also features the oh so BMW trend of the angel eye daylight running lamps and, as most of us know or have noticed, this gives the car a very big road presence, especially coupled with that huge BMW grill.
The X1 is fitted with 50 profile, 17inch run flat tires that in my opinion is chunky enough to take on a few gravel roads or so. Off road the profile will cope pretty well, but you would have to stick to mild gravel, mud and sand. Anything more extreme and you will run the risk of damaging your rims or getting a pinch flat.
Along the sides there are those aluminium strips at both the top and the bottom. The top ones are meant for some roof racks and I can tell you that with a set of load bars, it would actually look pretty good. The huge panoramic sunroof fitted on our model is a tilt and slide unit with an auto sun shade. This needs to be set to the back before you can open or tilt the sunroof.
The rear end of the car reminds me of the X3; it’s a mixture between Sports Utility and Compact Utility. There are also dual exhaust tips which helps the 2.0 twin turbo engine breathe a little better and boy does that engine sound good! The boot space is pretty on par with all wagon and estate type cars and is a total of 420l which is pretty useful. It can obviously also be split in 40/20/20.
On the inside, the X1 reminds me of a 3 series. Similar, if not identical seats and a 3 spoke steering wheel with multifunction controls. The dash is a little swoopier and there are faux wood inserts. Some might complain that BMW cut corners with some of the materials, but I tend to disagree. While there are hard plastics in some places, I see it from a durability factor. After all, this is what BMW likes to refer to as a Sports Activity Vehicle.
The seats are covered in Leather with their Nevada Beige-Beige theme. Thankfully, I love light interiors and I think it suits the exterior colour very well. Some might disagree with me, but beige definitely gives the car a more luxurious feel. They also offer electronic lumbar support for both driver and passenger.
Our car is also fitted with the I-drive system, which includes a premium audio system with navigation, Bluetooth, Voice control, USB and a 6 CD changer. We also had internet preparation, high beam assist, a rear-view camera, PDC front and rear with adaptive headlights.
The X1 28 Xdrive is an all-wheel drive vehicle with an electronically controlled traction control system and it works beautifully, even in rough and slippery terrain. You might think that the X1 28 means that it’s a 2.8 6 cylinder engine and you could not be more mistaken. This X1 features a twin turbo 2.0l 4 cylinder petrol engine that produces 180kw and 350nm. It should sprint from 0-100 in about 6.5second and on to a claimed top speed of 240kph. BMW claims 7.9l/100km but we averaged an overall figure of 9.6l/100km. Still pretty impressive considering you have all the power available. The engine is mated to an 8 speed automatic gearbox and it is smooth shifting all the way through the gears. I would, however, have like paddles on the steering, but in steptronic mode, you can shift manually. It’s really a pretty good gearbox and I can’t fault it.
The X1 to me is the perfect vehicle if you lead an active lifestyle and you need a few more extras that a 3 series wagon can’t offer you. The ground clearance is 180mm, which sort of puts it in the soft roader category. It’s also fitted with BMW’s Xdrive system, so essentially if you do venture off the beaten track, it will take you a lot further than a standard 3 series would. Throw some roof racks on the top, pop on a kayak or even just a mountain bike or 2 on the back and this car is in its element.
Current retail price is R456 500 including the 5 year /100 000km maintenance plan with BMW on Call – in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. A 2 year unlimited mileage warranty is standard too.
Our vehicle as tested with all extras and c02 tax of R5 386.50 came to R617 686.50