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New BMW X1 has improved so much over the years that it’s more like an X3 now

The newly minted BMW X1

Striking good looks with the giant kidney shaped grille

What you’ll get in the driver’s seat

Robbie FarrellSunday World

BMW X1 sDrive 18d M Sport Premier Pro

Not so long ago the BMW X1 was the premium German brand’s baby SUV — but not anymore.

It feels like an age since I got behind the wheel of the X1 model, which first rolled off the production lines back in 2009.

In fact, I will make a full confession here that I actually had to look that up on Wikipedia — what would we do without it in fairness?

It is hard to believe that it has been knocking around for almost 14 years now and, like a fine wine, the X1 has gotten better and better with age.

Now in its third generation, the all-new X1 could easily be mistaken for an X3, it has grown that much in stature.

Striking good looks with the giant kidney shaped grille

In fact, when I went to pick up my test model a couple of weeks back I couldn’t get over the size of it, and I honestly thought they had given me the keys to an X3 by mistake.

So convinced was I that it was the X1’s larger sibling that I actually had to walk around the back of it just to check the badging.

Further proof for me how much it had grown was when I parked it alongside an older X3 model and it actually looked bigger.

On the outside, the new BMW X1 has been given a complete makeover from the ground up, yet there are certain similarities to the 2 Series Active Tourer.

Yet again the designers have chosen to stick with the new monstrous front kidney grille that is still the subject of many great debates among motoring journalists.

I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of it in the beginning, but the more I see it the more it grows on me. It certainly makes the front end stand out in the crowd.

Elsewhere, the new-look X1 is treated to modern, flush door handles and a long roof spoiler that gives it a bulky, yet sporty, appearance.

The inside, too, has been given a complete overhaul albeit almost an exact replica of the 2 Series Active Tourer’s interior.

This means that the new X1 features the brand’s new-look curved, two-screen infotainment display that stretches across the driver’s side of the car and a floating centre console that houses the toggle-style drive selector.

Unfortunately though, BMW has decided to ditch the climate control dials, which are sadly now part of the touch-screen display.

Call me old-school but this is still a pet hate of mine and temperature controls should be left alone.

Having said that, BMW’s new system is extremely user-friendly and the graphics are crystal clear too.

A new smart-phone tray, similar to the one found in the 2 Series Active Tourer, has also been added in the lower section of the centre console, complete with wireless charging for compatible phones.

There is no doubt that the cabin has a real premium feel to it and the space on offer, both front and back, is very much at a premium too.

What you’ll get in the driver’s seat

The boot too is very accommodating offering 540 — 1,600 litres in the petrol/diesel models and 490 — 1,495 litres in the plug-in hybrid models.

On the road, as you would expect from a BMW, the X1 handles superbly.

My test model for the week was the sDrive 18d M Sport Premier Pro, which is fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel unit.

Surprisingly enough, for a 2.0-litre diesel the fuel economy figures were quite impressive during my week-long test drive and I was averaging around 6l/100km for the week.

In Ireland, customers can choose from two petrols, two diesels, plug-in, mild hybrid and, for the first time, a fully-electric version.

All petrol and diesel engines are mated to a seven-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch as standard.

Power outputs range from 150-326bhp from either three- or four-cylinder petrols.

The iX1 EV boasts a claimed range of up to 438km and the all-wheel drive set-up generates the equivalent of 313bhp.

Prices for the BMW X1 start at €46,415 and rise to €63,995 for the iX1 model.

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