BMW is a brand that is a pinnacle for ultimate driving machines and that is what we tried to understand with its smallest X vehicle, the X1. The X range of vehicles are known for their SUV nature and also at the same time it retains the Bavarian Motor Work’s DNA of being a driver’s vehicle. The BMWs are also known for their Efficient Dynamics and this is the second thing we test out in the smallest X model to understand if this is fulfilled too.
To begin with, the BMW X1 is based on the 3 Series platform and the one that is sold in India is the sDrive than the xDrive, which indicates it is a rear-wheel drive than an all-wheel drive. The vehicle in question is the sDrive20d- 2.0-litre diesel engine. For nincompoops, the explanation goes as follows. A four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine that produces 183bhp of power and a peak torque of 380Nm. This engine transfers power to the rear wheels through its eight-speed self-shifting single clutch transmission.
Living with the X1 for a week, we realised that it is very close to the previous generation 3 Series in the handling department and we appreciate is the improved ride quality than before. The previous iteration had stiffer suspension and some minor changes have been made in the facelift. The interior styling too has grown old and it needs an upgrade. It has the basic features like the previous 3 Series and what it has is the simple instrument cluster, which doesn’t really have to many things to show in the information.
The steering wheel design is old, however it gets electronic power assist. To our dismay however it doesn’t feel light, and not that the vehicle has done a lot of kilometres too. The odometer reads under 15,000kms. Sit inside and you will like the quality of the materials used. It is top-notch and the very-German style of being inch-perfect. The X1 is more of a crossover than an SUV. It isn’t very high, and even its ground clearance isn’t as good as the other X range of vehicles. The large central tunnel means the X1 can seat four people in comfort, the fifth one will be a squeeze. The boot is humongous and there is sufficient space to carry luggage for an entire weekend.
Now, moving on to the engine. This is our favourite 2.0-litre diesel engine as it produces 183bhp of power and a whooping 380Nm of peak torque. This makes it so retractable and even the drivability of this engine is fantastic. The eight-speed box ensures that the carbon footprint is low and what surprised us was that on the highway, we got a fuel efficiency of 18km/l. With an engine of this power, fuel efficiency is just spectacular and there is no doubt this is the most efficient engine also. Here, BMW’s Efficient Dynamics badge holds true for itself and shines above the competition. This is a lot more fuel efficient than before, as it has a six-speed transmission. The gear ratios have improved the torque delivery and this has made the X1 extremely fuel-efficient with good performance too.
To understand how good the X1 is, we took it for a drive in the tight city congested lanes, inter-city highway, motorways and even the winding roads. What we appreciate is the drivability of this engine as it pulls cleanly without any hassle or any signs of struggle. The engine too, supports it with its torque throughout the rev-range. The steering wheel is a tad heavier than what we would like to drive n the city. But on the highway and the twisty roads, there is no doubt the BMW outruns its competition. Every time you go around a bend, it gets that smile on your face. This glowy and happy face expression is just priceless. No money can buy it and again BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine tagline holds true, even on the X range.
There are some downsides too. To begin with, there are no paddle shifts to assist you if you need to shift a gear. We drove the X1 in the Sport mode and it was sufficient, you do not need paddles, but having them just adds to some more fun. The music system is decent too and it needs some fine-tuning. The space at the rear is good and even the support of the front seats is good. The X1 comes loaded with decent amount of features too.
As this is the X1 and it is a crossover, we will try the same thing in the 5 Series and the X3, which are sedan and SUV respectively. Watch out this space, for more updates on other BMWs, very soon.