BMW started the luxury compact SUV segment in India by launching the X1 back in 2010. Though the X1 was criticised for being more of a crossover than an SUV, BMW did sell generous volumes of the X1 due to its entry-level pricing. BMW launched the second generation X1 in 2016 and made the Indian automobile fraternity go awestruck, writes Indian automobile website MotorBeam.com.
The new X1 looks way more mature than the previous model, it has grown in terms of dimensions and most importantly looks every bit an SUV. You could easily mistake this for the bigger X3. On the exteriors, you get the signature kidney grille but now with gloss black surrounds. The front fascia is now more on your face kind. The smart looking LED headlamps with the corona rings taper towards the large kidney grille.
The M-Sport variant gets an aggressive-looking front bumper. The 18-inch M alloy wheels accentuate the side profile, while the wraparound LED tail-lights and the dual-tone bumper with the twin exhaust pipes add some drama to the rear. The Estoril Blue colour is exclusive to the M-Sport variant only. The M-Sport variant also gets black treatment on the window-line and roof rails.
The interior of the BMW X1 M-Sport is typical BMW. The dashboard, like other BMWs, is driver-centric. The M-Sport variant gets an all-black dashboard with an M steering wheel and sporty M seats. There’s also a larger 8.7-inch (22.3 cm) touchscreen infotainment system, a heads-up display which not only shows speed but also turn by turn Navigation data, audio information and door-open warning. The electrically adjustable front seats with the extended squabs provide superior comfort and also get memory-function. However, unlike big SUVs, you don’t sit high with a commanding SUV-like driving position, and if you’re expecting one, you’d be disappointed.
The touchscreen system can also be controlled via a touch-sensitive i-Drive dial on the centre console. There are various connectivity options like USB, AUX and Bluetooth. The rear seat space is again where the BMW X1 will impress you. The new car gets improved knee room and headroom. Factor in the large windows and the panoramic sunroof, the cabin is airy and there is no claustrophobic feel at all. You get AC vents at the rear and the X1 comes with a more than enough boot space of 505-litres. The rear seats can be electrically folded in 60:40 ratio, in case there’s more cargo.
The BMW X1 diesel is powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged unit. The oil burner churns out 190 horses, 400 Nm of torque and comes paired to an 8-speed automatic gearbox from Aisin. 0-100 km/hr comes up in just 7.6 seconds which is pretty good (0.2 seconds faster than the regular variant). The M-Sport gets AWD as standard. Though the AWD acts as a front-wheel-drive system, it can transfer 100 percent of the power to the rear, should the situation require it. There is some turbo lag which isn’t really a deal-breaker. The transmission does a good job, gear shifts are smooth. However, unlike other Bimmers, the engine on the X1 is pretty loud with cabin insulation not being that great as you near the redline.
There are 3 driving modes - Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport. The Comfort mode is suited for both the highway and the city. If you’re not in the mood to spend more on fuel, then the Eco Pro mode should be your choice. Sport mode will make the engine and transmission that much more responsive, you just step on the gas and you’ll notice how fast the revs build up. The Bavarian automaker claims a fuel efficiency of 20.68 km/l, however, expect 12-13 km/l in real world conditions.
Like any BMW, the X1 has its dynamics well sorted. Ride quality isn’t that great, but the SUV does a decent job of absorbing the minor bumps. It is only the big and deep potholes that filter inside the cabin. The electrically assisted steering weighs up well and offers decent feedback as well. The X1 is impeccably agile (especially in the corners) and direction changes happen in a jiffy.
The BMW X1 comes with a whole lot of safety features like 6 airbags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic Stability Control and Runflat indicator. However, the compact SUV misses out on features like cruise control, reverse parking camera and keyless entry. The German automaker is present across the major cities in India.
The second generation BMW X1 is a good package overall. The car looks and feels like a proper SUV with the dimensions also being increased. The X1 is the entry point to the elite club and will appeal to you if you’re looking for a niche German SUV. Yes, it misses out on some necessary features but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. If you’re a driving enthusiast, looking for a German SUV and can afford around Rs 50 lakhs. then go ahead and buy yourself the BMW X1.