BMW’s crossover X1 has been a huge seller even though it has needed updating to keep abreast of its competitors.
What’s a crossover? They’re smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient than full-size SUVs. More agile, also easier to manoeuvre and park, and nicer to drive – which is what we were looking forward to with the new X1.
The launch line-up comprises two models: the X1 sDrive18i (claimed fuel consumption combined: 6.5 l/100 km) powered by a 115 kW three-cylinder engine, and the BMW X1 sDrive18d (claimed fuel consumption combined: 5.0 l/100 km), whose four-cylinder diesel unit generates 110 kW. They’ll be followed in early 2023 by the all-electric BMW iX1 xDrive30e.
X1 marks the spot
What’s changed? First thing, it’s bigger. Half a metre longer, in fact, with 4cm extra headroom and a longer and wider wheelbase to boost handling. There’s more room to enjoy the cabin, front and back. On the outside, BMW aficionados argue about the new-style, almost square kidney grille, but the fresh styling of the X1’s slim LED headlights and sculpted look are pleasing. And on the inside …
By 2022 the old X Series felt as analogue as its instrument cluster. So the new X1’s curved, customisable digital display and 10.7-inch central touchscreen offer a welcome new experience. There’s also the latest BMW steering wheel design, which adopts a smaller hub and thinner rim. But at Stuff, we’re all about the screens.
That big central touchscreen transforms the dash, while intuitive touch and voice control have reduced the number of physical buttons and switches for a cleaner look throughout the cabin.
Head in the clouds
Cloud-based BMW Maps offers a 3D augmented view as an optional extra, invaluable for getting yourself in the right lane in the dog-eat-dog world of motorway junctions. We left the steering to BMW’s excellent Steering and Lane Control Assistant once or twice – which was as many times as we found white lines still painted on the roads – and as advertised it kept us safely centred in our lane.
How is it to drive? Pretty damn good. The 18i felt more like a 3 Series than a mini-SUV; the diesel version was just as agile but not so quick. On sharp curves, we pulled 2G’s (iDrive8 told us so). That’s Top Gun speak for having more fun than you should on a public road.
Cruise Control, the front-collision warning system and park assist are standard. Electric seats, panoramic glass sunroof, Harman Kardon sound system, Head-Up Display and the Steering and Lane Control Assistant sadly aren’t.
In standard xLine spec the X1 sDrive18i is yours for R753,000, the 18d for R790,000. Upgrading to the M Sport package will boost that to R793,000 and R830,000 respectively, but who’s counting?
Images via BMW