This is the second generation of BMW's smallest SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle. Now, BMW prefers calling their SUVs, SAVs, for these are mainly designed for road use with a hint of off-roading ability thrown in. And, the BMW X1, which was hitherto only available with a rear-wheel drive configuration in India, wasn't even a proper SAV. It was more like a tall estate.
Now, with the new X1, with its more muscular design, higher ground clearance and an all-wheel drive system, it does get closer to SAV status. And there's more. The new X1 is taller with higher seating, comes with more equipment as standard, and has a higher claimed mileage tag as well. Plus, it is based on BMW's all new UKL front-wheel drive platform that also underpins the new Minis, so it is cost effective to produce, and possibly cost effective to run as well.
The new BMW X1, which goes head-on against the likes of the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA, is still only available with one engine and gearbox combo – a 4 cylinder, 1995cc, diesel mated to a torque convertor 8-speed automatic. But, you can have it in three trims – Expedition, xLine and M Sport. The car you see here is the xLine.
The good news here isthat the new X1 looks more purposeful and SUV-like than the car it replaces; one of the reasons the earlier X1 didn't do too well. It has a buff front end, SUV overtones, and a marked improvement in street creed courtesy larger dimensions. As mentioned earlier, the new X1 is taller than the outgoing model, plus, it sits higher off the ground and is wider as well.And though it is shorter in both length and wheelbase compared to the older X1, it still manages to look bigger.
Additionally, it has a better-defined design language. We are no fans of how the new X1 looks from the front – it's a little dowdy if you ask us – but from the rear three quarter, with its wrap around LED tail lamps, the upward swooping shoulder line and tapering roof, not to mention the gorgeous 18-inch wheels, the new X1 does draw glances. And if we consider the M Sport variant, the new X1 looks more desirable too.
The new X1 gets an all-new interior. The design for the dash, the gear shifter as well as the door inserts is new. But, the feeling of familiarity is omnipresent inside the X1. Blame it on the aircon or the basic iDrive controls, or the power window and starter button, but almost everything that one touches on the new X1, seems borrowed. Even the instrumentation is old-school BMW.
What’s also old-school BMW, and in a good way we might add, is the overalllevel of quality and fit and finish. One can’t fault the new X1 for it. It might be part of BMW’s entry-level fleet, but it feels decently upmarket nonetheless. What also works in the new X1’s favour is the interior room. The SAV is visually more spacious, not just compared to the older car, but compared to its competition too. The transverse engine layout has clearly worked wonders here. It has a huge front windscreen, which aids both visibility and the feeling of space. Plus, the glass area all round is large leaving you feeling airy and less hemmed in; something the Mercedes and even Audi can’t boast of in this class.
We also like the rear seats. These aren’t very large but they are supportive. The firmness is just right and with a reclining backrest, finding a comfy seating posture even on longer drives comes easy. Add the increased knee, shoulder and headroom to the mix (compared to the older X1), and one can actually be chauffeured around in this one. The front seats though aren’t as impressive and could have been more accommodating. The boot meanwhile is big too – over 500 litres – and with split and fold function for the rear backrest and a reasonably low loading lip height, the new X1 isn’t short on flexibility either.
As far as equipment goes, this mid-level xLine trim is pretty sorted. It gets a sunroof, besides two zone climate control, electric powered front seats with memory for the driver, a nice sounding audio system with Bluetooth, Aux and USB connectivity, a good assortment of storage spaces, cruise control and keyless start. The X1 also gets parking sensors, but only for the rear. And there’s no reversing camera either. Safety wise, it ticks enough boxes: six airbags, ABS, Cornering Brake Control, and stability and traction control come as standard on all trims.
The new BMW X1 only gets a diesel engine. The engine, a 1995cc, 4-cylinder unit, might displace the same capacity as the older X1, but it is all new. It is part of a new generation of modular engines that power both BMW and Mini cars. The new engine is lighter, more efficient, and thanks to a new common rail system that pushes out fuel at a higher 2000 bar of pressure, there’s no dearth of usable torque either. It is quiet too, at least in the lower revs. But, gun it – which you wouldn’t mind given the easy revving nature of this diesel engine – and there’s enough and more noise that can be heard inside the cabin.
The twin scroll turbo engine makes 188bhp and 400Nm of torque under the X1’s now shortened hood. This puts the new SAV right on top in the output stakes in its class. No wonder, it accelerates off the line with vigour. Plus, there’s launch control to help things along; under full bore acceleration the X1 posted a sub eight second 0-100kmph time. The gearbox, an 8-speed auto, works well too. It is quick to respond to inputs via the paddle shifters and even in full auto mode, it has this uncanny habit of selecting the right gear, almost every time; city driving or otherwise.
And it gets three driving modes – Eco Pro for fuel efficiency, Comfort for relaxed driving and Sport for those few occasions when you are feeling up to driving enthusiastically. The modes alter the throttle response, the gearshift times and the steering weight. Sport works best as it improves throttle response, adds weight to the steering, and allows better control via the paddle shifters. What the modes fail to change though is the ride quality of the X1.
Ride is probably the new BMW X1’s weakest link. At slow speeds, it is firm which means there’s unnecessary bobbing. And if you happen to hit a pothole, a poorly resurfaced section or even a manhole cover, the X1 sends a rude jolt inside the cabin along with a noisy thud. At speed, it jiggles and the thudding over poor surfaces continues unabated. The 50 profile runflats are to blame here, of course, but the suspension setup is equally suspect.
At least the X1 handles well. It has a quick steering, a fairly responsive front end that turns into bends without a fuss, and though it rolls under hard cornering, grip and chassis balance on the X1 is impressive. It’s great under braking too – hunkered down, stable and unaffected by the change in surface. However, we would have preferred the brakes to be a little less grabby in the initial bit of travel, which makes modulation a bit challenging. These refuse to fade as well.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||188bhp @ 4000rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400Nm @ 1750RPM|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||51|
|Tyre size||225/50 R18|
|Adaptive brake lights||Yes|
|Two-zone climate control||Yes|
Competition All Specs
GLA 200 CDI
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||188bhp @ 4000rpm||174bhp @ 4200rpm||134bhp @ 3600rpm|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||400Nm @ 1750RPM||380Nm @ 1750rpm||300Nm @ 1600rpm|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||51||64||50|
|Tyre size||225/50 R18||225/55 R17||235/50 R18|
The new BMW X1 can be had in three trims. The entry-level trim, called Expedition, only comes in front wheel drive format. It is the most sober to look at given it is devoid of any frills on the outside and it is the least equipped on the inside compared to the other two trims. It is the variant we would avoid.
Next up is the xLine that can be had both in front wheel and all wheel drive forms. Compared to the Expedition, the xLine gets a smarter gearbox with paddle shifters, more jewellery on the outside, a sunroof and a whole lot more tech on the inside as well. There’s ambient lighting, sportier seats, and a nicer steering wheel among other adornments.
Finally, there’s the M Sport. Only available as an all wheel drive, it gets more aggressively designed bumpers, side skirts, nicer looking 18-inch wheels, HUD, navigation, and an exclusive paint finish called Estoril blue. And, it is the most expensive, by a margin. BMW wants a little over Rs 40 lakh for it (ex-showroom, mind) compared to Rs 35 lakh for the xLine and a tad under Rs 30 lakh for the Expedition.
Our test car though is priced at a little under Rs 37 lakh. It is the xLine albeit with all wheel drive. And for the additional Rs 2 lakh you get Hill Descent, besides all wheel drive, of course. And, yes, even though the new X1 might be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of a deal, one can choose between an all black interior, or one mixed with beige. But, that’s it.
So, if you were looking at buying the new X1, xLine xDrive would be our suggestion because the M Sport gets an even stiffer suspension setup, which would make it downright uncomfortable.
Photo Courtesy By : Kapil Angane