BMW X1 Test Drive Review
2011 BMW X1 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2011 BMW X1 sDrive20d Exclusive

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 35,76,622/-

BMW launched the X1 at the end of 2010 and it was greeted by customers with much anticipation. The X1 sits at the entry point of BMW’s range in India and is competitively priced and therefore attracts good sale figures, further cementing BMW’s position as the number one luxury car manufacturer in India. Based on the 3 Series platform, the X1 looks to be just as promising as any BMW is. We take the BMW X1 for a drive to find out how it performs in the real world.

Exteriors – The BMW X1 is designed to woo the young and is aggressively styled. Its looks pretty similar to the X3 except for the steep windscreen angle and the larger signature BMW kidney grille. The top of the line variant comes with projector headlamps with washers which add an appeal of its own to complement the looks of the car. Deeply embedded fog lamps are housed in the front bumper and are effective too.

Roof rails add to the SUV character and the alloy wheels looks stunning. The side profile shows the glass sloping up towards the rear, large wheel arches and the sloping boot add more muscle to this machine. From the rear aspect, the X1 exudes typical BMW SUV design.

Interiors – Step in and the interiors are similar to the ones seen in the 3-Series sedan. Two-tone beige and black interiors go well with the car and build quality is top notch with great fit and finish, not to mention the high quality of plastics used. Dual zone climate control chills the car effectively and efficiently. Though, there are no vents for the rear passengers, there are vents below the front passenger seats to cool the rear as quickly as the front. A dash of wood paneling in the front and side inserts adds a touch of class. Steering wheel has buttons for phone connectivity and other functions.

Seating is comfortable with adequate thigh support for both front and rear seats, though we will admit the X1 looks more spacious from the outside than it actually is. Inspite of that, legroom is sufficient for both the row of seats. Headroom is abundant and the driving position, a bit lower than a full size SUV, gives a commanding view of the road. The front seats are electrically adjusted for forward, backward and tilt motions.

The BMW X1 features the latest generation of BMW iDrive including a controller and direct selection buttons on the center console which are displayed on the 8.8 inch display. The same screen also doubles up as the rear parking sensor display when the car is engaged into reverse. Integrated Bluetooth allows for pairing of one’s mobile phone with the car and can be toggled from the same controller.

Large panoramic sunroof is electrically operated and adds to the overall ambiance.

Boot space is abundant and if you are still hungry for more the rear seats can be folded 40-20-40 to accommodate a small sized bed.

The battery sits where the spare wheel was supposed to be. Thanks to Runflat Technology, there is no need for a spare tyre. This technology is the way forward in terms of safety but in a price conscious market like ours, it has come under fire for expensive tyre repairs which need to be done only at an authorized BMW service station.

Audio system sounds itself with eight speaker with Aux and USB input provided for greater convenience. Sound quality better than average. 8 CD changer houses itself in the boot.

On the Move – Like most modern vehicles, the X1 uses push button start/stop technology. Step on the gas and the 6-speed automatic transmission gears upto the job with an option to shift manually but there is a some time lag under manual shifting. One would expect paddle shifts for a car in this price range, but they were conspicuous by their absence. The X1 stands out with its sharp handling and makes for a perfect drivers car.

Ride, Handling and Braking – When it comes to handling, its tough to beat a BMW and the X1 is no different. At most speeds the X1 turns in with utmost obedience, almost as if riding on rails. A hint of body roll exists but is barely noticed and sharp handling characteristics make it fun to drive. Try and be enthusiastic and the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) will ensure you are not going sideways, it can be turned off but automatically turns on once it detects that the car is moving in an unintentional direction. Steering, though a tad bit heavy, gives excellent feedback at high speeds.

Riding on 225/50/R17 runflat tyres, the X1’s ride is on the softer side as compared to its sibling, the 320d. With most of the bumps being absorbed with relative easy, the X1 proves to be good in the urban jungle. In India, the X1 is available in rear wheel drive configuration and hence is not a pure offroader, though in certain countries BMW does sell the all wheel drive version. Ground clearance has been raised for the Indian market and at 194 mm, the X1 sails over the worst of bumps with ease.

All 4-disc brakes coupled with ABS ensure that braking distances are kept to a minimum.

Performance – Powered by a 1995 cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine coupled with a VGT, the X1 churns 177 bhp at 4000 RPM and 350 Nm of torque at 1750 – 3000 rpm. The X1 and the 3-Series share the same engine which exhibits superb refinement and is extremely silent too. The X1 does not believe in turbo lag, with the power coming in good numbers through the mid and high end of the rev meter. On the Mumbai – Pune expressway, we stretched its legs and the X1 brought in the 100kmph in exactly 8.45 seconds. With such performance, the fuel efficiency was a healthy 10.2 kmpl in the city and reached upto 13.5 kmpl under highway running. What really amazed us was the drive ability and crisp handling characteristics.

Conclusion – The BMW X1 fares out to be great package. Great road manners, decently spaced interiors and sporty design coupled with the “BMW” badge makes it a desirable prospect. Starting from Rs 22.4 lakhs (ex-showroom) for the entry level petrol version, the X1 is aggressively priced for the ever growing Indian market. The top end diesel is a bit expensive, but how many people with find faults with that as long as it comes with the ‘BMW’ badge. Moreover the diesel model delivers a truly power packed performance and just as BMW like to call it, the X1 does provide some ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’.

Whats Cool

* Handling
* Build Quality
* Engine Performance

Whats Not So Cool

* Runflat Tyres expensive to repair
* Paddle shifts missing
* Heavy Steering

BMW X1 Specifications : –

* Engine: 1995 cc, 4 Cylinder, 16V, Common Rail Diesel with VGT
* Power: 177 Bhp @ 4000 rpm
* Torque: 350 Nm @ 1750 – 3000 rpm
* Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic
* Top Speed: 205 kmph
* 0-100kmph: 8.45 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 10.2 kmpl (City), 13.5 kmpl (highway), ARAI -15.2 kmpl
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Aluminium double-joint tiebar axle in conjunction with the five-arm rear axle incorporating separated double wishbones.
* Tires: 225/50/R17 Runflat tyres
* Brakes: All 4 Discs
* Safety: ABS, EBD, DTC, 6 Airbags

BMW X1 Dimensions : –

* Overall length x width x height: 4454 mm X 1798 mm X 1545 mm
* Wheelbase: 2760 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1500/1529 mm
* Ground clearance: 194 mm
* Boot Volume: 420 liters, 1350 liters (with rear seats folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 61 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1575 kgs

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