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.
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.
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.
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.