BABY OIL

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - CHRIS RI­LEY chris.ri­ley@news.com.au

The X1 feels and drives just like any other BMW but the price gouge for the auto sours even the diesel’s sweet­ness

THE first time I laid eyes on this car I thought they’d got it wrong.

It’s not the first of the so­called X se­ries ‘‘ sport ac­tiv­ity ve­hi­cles’’ with which they’ve had teething prob­lems, but BMW has per­sisted, con­tin­u­ing to re­fine the con­cept.

The lat­est, the baby of the range, the X1 looks, well . . . not too bad. Still not pretty, mind, but at least an im­prove­ment. Ei­ther way, it doesn’t ap­pear to have both­ered buy­ers much be­cause BMW says the X1 has been a run­away success since its launch in 2010.

VALUE

Think cheap Beemer but with the bonus of all-wheel drive in some models along with that cov­eted high driv­ing po­si­tion that al­lows the driver to see what’s go­ing on ahead.

Trimmed with faux leather as stan­dard, it’s likely to ap­peal to older buy­ers who’ll find the ex­tra height makes get­ting in and out eas­ier and to young­sters look­ing for some­thing more ex­pres­sive and want some­thing of a knockaround car.

Prices start from $44,900 ris­ing to $58,200 for the top-ofthe-line X1 xDrive28i. That’s cheaper than the equiv­a­lent 1 Se­ries hatch and— model to model— some $10,000 less than the 3 Se­ries Tour­ing on which it is based.

The en­try price gets you 17-inch al­loy wheels with run-flat tyres, cruise con­trol with brak­ing func­tion, rear park­ing sen­sors, auto lights and wipers, USB au­dio plus Blue­tooth and a trip com­puter among other features.

It’s avail­able with bun­dled X Line, Sport Line or M Sport pack­ages— and numer­ous other op­tions that quickly in­flate the price.

All models come with a sixspeed man­ual as stan­dard, de­spite the fact 80 per cent of cus­tomers tick the box for an auto. An eight-speed con­ven­tional auto is a $2700 op­tion across the range.

TECH­NOL­OGY

Three new en­gine vari­ants join the ex­ist­ing X1 xDrive20d for the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

They kick off with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel in the rear-drive sDrive18d that de­liv­ers 105kW/ 320Nm and ac­cel­er­ates from 0-100 km/h in 9.6 sec­onds.

In the all-wheel drive xDrive20d, the out­puts are 135kW/380Nm with 0-100km/ h tak­ing 8.1 sec­onds.

Two new petrol vari­ants, the sDrive20i and xDrive28i, are pow­ered by a twin-scroll turbo 2.0-litre with di­rect in­jec­tion.

In the rear-drive sDrive20i it de­liv­ers 135kW/270Nm and dashes to 100km/h in 7.4 sec­onds— and in the range­top­ping all-wheel drive xDrive28i, the re­spec­tive fig­ures are 180kW/350Nm and a mere 6.1 sec­onds.

The lat­ter en­gine re­places a 3.0-litre six that pro­duced just 160kW/280Nm.

Smart ad­di­tions are Brake En­ergy re­gen­er­a­tion, Auto Stop-Start for the man­ual and auto alike, plus ECO PRO mode and, in the man­ual models, an Op­ti­mum Shift point in­di­ca­tor.

DE­SIGN

As with the X3, it has shed some of its un­painted, plas­tic cladding (or more ac­cu­rately, this has been dis­guised with sil­ver-coloured em­bel­lish­ments at the front, back and sides to al­le­vi­ate the ef­fect). The side in­di­ca­tor lights have been in­te­grated into the side mir­rors.

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