BMW's baby SAV gets '1' hell of a makeover

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The BMW X1 has been given a major overhaul
The BMW X1 has been given a major overhaul

BMW - X1 xDrive 20d xLine

BMW has given its baby SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle as they like to call it) ‘1’ hell of a makeover.

I have to admit, I drove the first-edition model a few years back and I wasn’t very impressed with the German premium brand’s first offering.

It was small, very tight on space in the rear and looked more like an estate car than the crossover it was supposed to be.

Now though, the German brand is going forward with the mid-life model by making many much-needed changes and, most of all, switching from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive.

On the outside, the new BMW X1 is taller (53mm), wider (23mm) and, with its new muscular stance, far better looking than its predecessor. 

And it had to be, with close rivals like the amazing Audi Q3 and the much-loved Mercedes Benz GLA looking the part, BMW had to really up its game to compete.

On the inside, BMW has done a terrific job on replacing quite a dull interior with a more modern take from its 2-Series Active Tourer sibling, and it’s a much nicer place to be all round. 

However, like I have said many times before, BMW tend to stick to similar interiors across all platforms, which can be a bit strange when you think you get the same iDrive look in a 1-Series that you would get in a 5.

It’s on the road, though, where the German brand is light years ahead of its rivals.

Even with the X1 practically being a front-wheel model (my model was the xDrive four-wheel drive model), it still handles superbly. 

If you even compare my colleague Paul’s test drive last week (he drove the Lexus RC200t) you will notice that his Lexus sport’s car figures are nowhere near the BMW X1.

BMW’s baby SAV is just 0.1 of a second slower from 0-100kph than the RC200t and the ‘claimed’ fuel economy figures are almost half of the Lexus – not to mention the road tax. 

Standard equipment in the new BMW X1 includes cloth seat surfaces, while Dakota leather trim in black or canberra beige can be ordered as an option.

Beyond that, three further model lines can be selected. 

The xLine model features a BMW kidney grille with bars that are matt aluminium at the front, with matt silver accents for the air intakes, side skirts and underbody protection. 

The interior trim comprises of heated Dakota leather seats and LED headlights.

Upgrade to the Sport Line model and you get black sports seats with either red or grey accents, and interior trim strips in high-gloss black or aluminium with accent strips in matt coral red. 

M Sport models are fitted with a model-specific M aerodynamic package and 18-inch or optionally 19-inch M light-alloy wheels. 

The interior features heated front sports seats in anthracite-coloured cloth/Alcantara with blue accents, and aluminium hexagon interior trim strips with accent strips in matt blue. 

An M leather steering wheel and a BMW Individual headliner in Anthracite are also specified. 

So the BMW X1 has come on in leaps and bounds since it first rolled off the production lines – apart from the price that is. 

With a starting price of €38,400, and my test car costing north of €62k with extras, it is quite an expensive model.

I could name quite a few bigger SUVs with a premium feel and lots more standard equipment for that sort of cash. 

Tech Spec:

Model: BMW X1 xDrive 20d xLine
Price: X1 range starts from €38,400 (test car €62,298) 
Road Tax: €270 per year
0-100kph: 7.6s
Max Speed: 220kph
Fuel Economy: 4.9l/100kms (claimed)