Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

BMW has turned the ta­bles on Lexus when it comes to value. The lat­ter built its rep­u­ta­tion on load­ing cars to the hilt but the Ger­mans have fought back. The X1 starts at $59,900 plus on-roads and comes stan­dard with radar cruise con­trol, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing for cars and pedes­tri­ans, au­to­mated park­ing, heads-up dis­play, a larger nav­i­ga­tion screen, sen­sor key and the usual mod-cons. It’s more con­ser­va­tive look­ing than the Lexus but BMW buy­ers pre­fer it this way, ap­par­ently. The large win­dow area pro­vides ex­cel­lent vis­i­bil­ity all around, and the cargo space is mas­sive. There’s more room for heads, shoul­ders, knees and toes in the BMW, too. The BMW’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol en­gine has al­most iden­ti­cal out­puts (170kW/350Nm), runs on pre­mium un­leaded and is a smooth op­er­a­tor with plenty of urge across the rev range. Matched to an eight-speed auto, it’s ex­tremely eco­nom­i­cal (6.6L/100km) as it gets off the line smoothly and quickly slips into the most ef­fi­cient gear. How­ever, we couldn’t match this fig­ure in the real world. Six airbags are stan­dard (as are seat belts!) and it earns a five-star crash safety rat­ing. Un­like the Lexus, there is no au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing avail­able, even as an op­tion. But a rear-view cam­era and front and rear sen­sors are stan­dard fare. And it will prime the brakes if it senses a col­li­sion but won’t slam on the stop­pers. The X1 hugs cor­ners as you ex­pect a BMW would, with sharp and ac­cu­rate steer­ing and min­i­mal body roll in cor­ners. It’s among the rea­sons it could do with bet­ter seats. But the trade-off is that the tyres are noisy on most sur­faces, and the sus­pen­sion thumps loudly over bumps. Over­all it’s not as com­fort­able to drive as the Lexus.

The NX is not typ­i­cally Lexus and the

XI is all you’d ex­pect from a BMW.

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