What is it? The smallest BMW 4×4, the X1, may look like a 1 series on steroids but it’s actually an SAV, a Sports Activity Vehicle.
Who is it aimed at? Offering slightly more space than a hatchback the X1 is aimed at those buyers looking for a car with chunkier looks that stands a little more off than the ground than your average hatch.
Styling? A facelift in 2012 made it much better looking. It now gains flared wheel arches, a re-designed front bumper and refreshed lighting. While the looks have improved on the previous version it’s not a look that will appeal to everyone.
Under the Bonnet: Our test car was powered by a 2.0 litre diesel that pumps out just the right amount of pulling power and oomph when needed. The automatic gearbox is smooth and the gear changes seamless.
What about Inside? The biggest improvement on the previous version is inside where the quality all round is good with many features borrowed from its bigger siblings. It’s still not quite the classy interior we have come to expect from BMW but it’s a vast improvement all the same. The seats are supremely comfortable and there is a decent amount of space front and back. The rear seats come in 40:20:40 split-folding rear and can be individually adjusted to increase the luggage space.
On the Road? Our test car was equipped with all wheel drive. The sDrive versions come with only two wheel drive and are a good option for those who have no real use for the all-wheel-drive capability. There is plenty of power and on the open road it feels like a BMW to drive. At low speeds though the steering feels totally unassisted and this makes it really heavy and cumbersome to manoeuvre. Rear visibility is bad, at speed it’s noisy and the suspension is firm so all in all it’s not the most comfortable car around.
And Safety? As expected from BMW, the X1 comes with a long list of safety features including active safety features to help prevent accidents occur in the first place and passive features to ensure all passengers and pedestrians receive maximum protection. Crucially the X1 received the top score of five stars when crash tested by the EuroNCAP.
Options? There are two models to choose from a four-wheel drive xDrive version or a rear-wheel drive sDrive in four specifications, SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport,
What about fuel economy? Fuel economy is good and on a combined route of motorway and city driving the official figure is 5.4 litres per 100 kms with emissions of 143g/km. The two-wheel-drive with less weight obviously offers better figures and achieves CO2 emissions of 132g/km and fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100 kms on a combined cycle.
Okay so the Verdict? The X1 is a big improvement on the previous version and has more than sufficient BMW DNA to make it feel like a scaled-down X5. But with heavy steering, strange looks and a harsh ride it falls short in too many areas to recommend it over rivals.
Why you’ll buy one? Badge; Good Handling;
Why you won’t? Heavy Steering; Styling; Not very practical
Audi Q3 – €36,860 – €49,950
Range Rover Evoque €42,606 – €62,710
BMW X1 xDrive 18d xLine
Engine: 1995cc diesel, 105 kW @4000, 320 @Nm 1750-2750 rpm
Max speed: 195km/h
0-100 kph: 10.1 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 143g/km (Band C €390)
Model price range: €35,160 – €49,010 (Test Car €53,384.51*)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.4 litres per 100 kms
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 420 Litres (1350)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
* Extras included
Media package – BMW Business – €2,357.02, Driver comfort package – €897.19, Visibility package – €1,733.56, Automatic Gearbox – €2,265.77
24th July, 2013