AN X CLOSER TO THE SPOT 19/06/2015 00:00:00
The improved second generation version of BMW's smallest SUV, the X1, seems a much stronger all-round proposition. Jonathan Crouch checks it out..
Ten Second Review
The X1, BMW's most compact sports utility vehicle, has been quite a success in the UK. This improved MK2 model aims to build on that, being smarter and better equipped and now offering the option of plug-in petrol power. Will this revitalised X1 continue to hit this segment's sweet spot?
The first generation version of the X1, BMW's smallest SUV - which the Munich maker insists on calling an 'SAV' (or 'Sports Activity Vehicle') - had a troubled birth. First launched in 2009, it was initially criticised for its looks and for not driving as a Beemer should.
Yet its popularity endured among its buyers and in 2015, its fans were rewarded with a second generation version which proved to be taller, roomier and cheaper to run. That's sold well but since 2015, a range of tough competitors have arrived in to the marketplace for premium compact SUVs, including cars like the Volvo XC40, the Jaguar E-PACE and the Lexus UX. So BMW has improved the the second generation X1. Let's take a look.
The MK2 model X1 uses BMW's efficient generation of four-cylinder engines. Plus the brand's intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which distributes the engine's power between the front and rear axles as the situation requires, has been upgraded. Most buyers though, will be happy with front-wheel-drive. There's also a wide track, short overhangs and the usual 50:50 weight distribution.
The petrol range only comes with sDrive 2WD and starts with the 140hp 1.5-litre sDrive 18i model available with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch auto. The petrol alternative is the 2.0-litre X1 sDrive20i, which delivers a total power output of 192hp and can only be specified with a seven-speed Sport dual-clutch automatic. There's also an xDrive 25e petrol/electric plug-in hybrid version. Here, a BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, which generates 125hp and peak torque of 220Nm, powers the front wheels, while an electric drive system with rated output of 95hp and torque of 165Nm channels its power to the rear wheels. The interplay of the two power sources produces an intelligent, part-electric version of BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive technology.
Most X1 sales though, are made with the two 2.0-litre diesel variants. There's a 150hp 2WD sDrive18d diesel variant, offered with either sDrive 2WD or xDrive 4WD and available with an 8-speed Steptronic auto gearbox as an alternative to the usual slick 6-speed BMW manual stick shifter. Or you can have an xDrive-only 190bhp 4WD xDrive20d model, which comes only with eight-speed Sport automatic transmission that enables it to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 7.8s and go on to a top speed of 136mph.
Design and Build
This second generation 'F48'-series X1 remains unmistakably a BMW and has been updated with a larger BMW kidney grille and standard full-LED headlights. The front bumper now boasts integral LED foglamps and all model variants feature larger air intakes. Another change can be found at the driver's-side exterior mirror, which projects a two-tone LED 'X1' image when the car is unlocked. At the rear, there are revised LED tail light and redesigned inlays on the apron. The four-cylinder variants get twin tailpipes.
Inside, the flat surfaces of the instrument panel and centre console controls are angled towards the driver, while the controls located in the lower section are surrounded by quality surfaces and are separated from the front passenger side by a smartly-designed bar. The updated interior details include contrast stitching on the instrument panel, which is black on its upper section and adopts the car's individual upholstery colour lower down. There's also an updated Navigation system with either an 8.8-inch screen or the optional 10.25-inch Touch Control Display. Either way, this allows access to the sixth generation of BMW's iDrive infotainment system that introduces touchscreen control for the Control Display alongside the iDrive Controller and optional intelligent voice control. A head-up display is also available. Boot capacity remains at a practical 505-litres. It can be upped to as much as 1,550-litres by folding down the standard 40:20:40 split rear seat. A 60:40 split-rear bench is an option that can come with individual elements able to slide the seat forward or back by up to 13cms.
Market and Model
X1 pricing starts from around £29,000 but most variants are sold in the £30,000-£35,000 bracket. The standard specification is pretty complete, running to include BMW's iDrive operating system with its high-resolution 8.8-inch colour display, a six-speaker audio system, plus a USB socket. Also standard are LED daytime driving lights, an automatic tailgate, front foglamps, remote-controlled central locking and keyless ignition, plus electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors and a leather steering wheel adjustable for height and reach. Options across the range include a panoramic glass roof, a DAB radio, a larger control screen and a Head-up display.
The various 'SE', 'xLine', 'Sport' and 'M Sport' trim levels are differentiated by different colour grilles, side skirts and air intakes, as well as by various different kinds of sports seat. The 'M Sport version' comes equipped with upgraded M Sport suspension and the M Aerodynamics package. It also features Heated Front Seats, Folding Exterior Mirrors, Extended Lighting as well as Dakota Leather upholstery as standard. The front apron, side skirts, wheel arch trim, diffuser and cladding on the BMW X1 M Sport come in body colour. Particularly eye-catching are features such as air intakes for the newly designed bumper (with Air Curtain Technology) that are even larger than on the other model variants.
Cost of Ownership
Alet's get to the WLTP-rated fuel and CO2 figures. In manual form, the sDrive 18i petrol model manages up to 42.8mpg and up to 149g/km of CO2. The 2.0-litre petrol X1 xDrive 20i model is quick, but its official WLTP combined cycle fuel consumption is up to 40.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of up to 156g/km. Turbocharging and common-rail direct injection imbue the preferable diesel engines with strong efficiency.
For the xDrive 18d, it's up to 51.4mpg and 145g/km in manual guise. For the sDrive 18d, it's up to 55.4mpg and up to 133g/km in manual form. The xDrive20d auto manages up to 49.6mpg and up to 148g/km. All these figures assume that you've chosen to use the standard 'Drive Performance Control' system in its most frugal 'ECO PRO' setting. If you want to do better, then you need to ask your dealer about the xDrive 25e petrol/electric plug-in hybrid version. This blends its petrol engine with a 9.7 kWh battery that enables it to cover more than 32 miles on electric power alone. The stats are up to 166.2mpg and up to 40g/km.
In second generation form, the X1 set its sights a little higher in terms of quality and drive dynamics and has reaped the rewards in this growing market. This revised version builds on that step forward. Yes, there are smarter and more purposeful-looking SUVs and Crossovers you could buy for the same kind of money, but against those, this BMW offers a range of unique selling points. It's alone in this segment in offering the option of a rewarding rear-wheel drive layout. And a smooth and sophisticated 8-speed automatic gearbox. Plus you get ride quality that's arguably best in class.
It all adds up to a car very well worth short-listing if you're looking for a satisfying ownership proposition amongst the many premium compact SUVs and Crossovers now on sale. It still isn't an obvious choice. But now, it's one you might just enjoy making.
ONE FOR THE ROAD - & THE MUD 25/11/2019 00:00:00
By Jonathan Crouch
In 2015, this MK2 'F48'-series X1 model aimed to capitalise on the compact SUV sector's popularity, providing potential Qashqai-class buyers with a premium-badged option that was a far more credible choice than its curious rear-driven 'E84' series predecessor. BMW created that original X1 from various bits borrowed from the rest of its product line-up, but this second generation version was freshly designed from the ground up with much more space, sophisticated underpinnings and a hi-tech engine range. It proved to be a strong contender. Here, we evaluate the original 2015-2018-era version of this 'F84'-series X1.
5dr SUV (sDrive16d / sDrive18i / sDrive18d / xDrive18d / xDrive20i / xdrive20d)
BMW's original 'E84'-series X1 sold well because it was one of the first compact SUVs with a premium badge, but by 2015, rivals had piled into this lucrative segment and something much more sophisticated was required. This 'F48'-series design was that car. It used the hi-tech UKL chassis the Munich maker had created for its 2 Series five-door models and the third generation MINI Hatch, this platform providing the perfect platform for a considerably more sophisticated X1. This car was smarter and more efficient, plus it got better driving dynamics and much higher build quality. Here, we look at the original 2015-2018-era versions of this model.
What You Get
This 'F48'-series design was a much bolder and more confident X1, with a street presence vastly different to the rather apologetic look of its first generation predecessor. Large air intakes and a strong 'X' accent to the front bumper added to the more purposeful look, as did the contoured aluminium bonnet that flows into enlarged and more prominent kidney grilles. They're flanked by angular headlamps that can feature all-LED technology, these sitting above round foglamps sited independently in the front bumper.
And inside? Well if you come to the car having been familiar with its first generation predecessor, then one of the first things you'll notice is the way that you're seated 30mm higher in this MK2 model, creating a much more SUV-like feeling of roadway command. Look around and the high quality layered fascia is much as it is in the other BMW that shares this one's MINI-derived underpinnings, the 2 Series Active Tourer. It curves around the cabin in a symmetrical wave garnished with textured aluminium, satin chrome inlays and carefully-chosen splashes of bright work.
In the back, you really notice the benefit of this MK2 model's extra 90mm of wheelbase length - and the way that the seats are positioned 64mm higher up to give you a better view forward. The designers claim that there's an extra 37mm more knee room in this second generation car, a figure you can extend to a limousine-like 66mm if you get a car whose original owner paid extra for the sliding rear bench which offers 130mm of back-and-forth adjustment. And out back? Well once the powered hatch rises, you're provided with a class-leading 508-litre space, which means there's 85-litres more than the previous model could offer.
What You Pay
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What to Look For
Our owner survey revealed many satisfied users of this 'F48'-series X1 model, but inevitably, there were a few issues reported. The main thing we'd check for is for diesel particulate filter problems for diesel cars which haven't ventured onto the highway very frequently. The DPF has to be up to temperature before it can regenerate. Obviously, a fully-stamped service history is vital. This car uses complex engines and only regular and appropriate maintenance will see them go the distance. Otherwise, it's just the usual things. Insist on a fully stamped-up service record and check the alloys for scratches and scuffs.
[based on a 2015 model X1 xDrive20d diesel ex-vat] Parts prices for an X1 model from this period can be reasonable if you shop around. We trawled around the internet and found these: An oil filter is in the £11-£16 bracket. An air filter is around £19-£27. A fuel filter is around £14-£25. Front brake discs cost in the £92 bracket. A set of front brake pads is around £30-£50; rear pads are around £19-£42. A water pump is around £57; wiper blades are around £10-£16.
On the Road
On the move, this second generation 'F48'-series X1 feels quite different from its 'E84'-series predecessor, with a higher-set driving position that's less sporty but more commanding than before. All the key elements are in place for a decent driving experience and there's a 'Drive Performance Control' vehicle dynamics system that, via three main modes, 'ECO PRO', 'Comfort' and 'Sport', allows you to tweak throttle response, steering feel and stability control thresholds. Gearshift timings too if you've a car whose original owner opted for the 8-speed automatic gearbox.
You have to have this auto transmission if you go for the 192bhp xDrive 20i petrol version or the top 231bhp xDrive 25d diesel. Otherwise, an auto 'box is an option across the range. X1 buyers get a front-driven 'sDrive' set-up on lower-powered models and a 4x4 'xDrive' layout for the pokier variants that gives you just enough on-demand traction for icy days and muddy tracks. Enginewise, the line-up starts with the three cylinder 1.5-litre petrol and diesel units that BMW has borrowed from the MINI and fits to the base sDrive 18i and sDrive 16d derivatives. Otherwise, you'll be looking at the Bavarian brand's 2.0-litre TwinPower diesel unit. This comes with 150bhp in the 'sDrive 18d' and 'xDrive 18d' models, or with 190bhp in the volume xDrive 20d variant.
For most buyers, an X1 would make far more sense than BMW's comparably-sized 3 Series Touring - and there aren't too many reasons to pay more for the Bavarian brand's larger X3 model either. As for appeal within this X1's market segment, well it's more practical, slightly cheaper to run and classier to sit in than Audi and Mercedes rivals.
Are there downsides? Not many. A few enthusiastic drivers might miss the previous generation model's rear-driven handling balance, but there aren't too many buyers of that sort shopping in this segment. More significant is the fact that opting for one of these now requires quite a price stretch if you started out looking at a mainstream-branded Qashqai-class family-sized Crossover - even quite a nice one. Still, make that step and you'll be getting yourself a much higher quality product that'll pay back quite a lot of its price premium at resale time.
ONE TO WATCH 14/06/2019 14:27:00
BMW's second generation X1 brings fine handling and a touch of class to the growing Crossover market that's suiting people who want an SUV feel without its associated costs. June Neary reports
Will It Suit Me?
It's taken the motor industry quite a time to realise that typical buyers like me don't want a fully-fledged 4x4 SUV, even in compact form. They're too expensive and pricey to run. However, we do want the high driving position and purposeful design cues associated with cars like these. We want the best of both worlds.
Cars called 'Crossovers' have been developed to meet this need and it's at the top of this little group that the model I'm testing this week resides, BMW's second generation X1. In principle, it'd be ideal for me - but in practice? Let's find out.
In the cabin, there's BMW's usual fine balance between driver focus and practical elegance. The flat surfaces of the instrument panel and centre console controls are angled towards the driver, while the controls located in the lower section are surrounded by quality surfaces and are separated from the front passenger side by a smartly-designed bar.
Rear seat accommodation will be fine for two adults once they've entered through the rather narrow door apertures and provided that they're under six feet tall. On shorter trips, you can squash up to provide space for a third middle seat occupant provided they're not the whinging sort likely to object to the bulky central transmission tunnel.
The designers claim that there's an extra 37mm more kneeroom this time round, a figure you can extend to a limousine-like 66mm if you pay extra for a sliding rear bench which offers 130mm of back-and-forth adjustment. It's annoying that this feature's optional, but otherwise irritations here are few. Some might question BMW's decision to provide only a single 12v socket as a means for rear passengers to charge their various electronic devices - and a few parents might wish that an ISOFIX childseat fastening was provided for the middle seat as well as the two outer ones. Otherwise, there's precious little to criticise here. With the optional seatback tables, it'll even feel rather MPV-like and if you pay the extra for the Panoramic glass roof, the otherwise rather dark cabin can be flooded with a welcome burst of sunlight.
Behind the Wheel
On the move, this second generation X1 feels quite different from its predecessor, with a higher-set driving position that's less sporty but more commanding than before. All the key elements are in place for a decent driving experience and there's a 'Drive Performance Control' vehicle dynamics system that, via three main modes, 'ECO PRO', 'Comfort' and 'Sport', allows you to tweak throttle response, steering feel and stability control thresholds. Gearshift timings too if you've opted for the 8-speed automatic gearbox that I think many X1 buyers will want.
You have to have this auto transmission if you go for the 192bhp xDrive 20i petrol version or the top 231bhp xDrive 25d diesel. Otherwise, an auto 'box is an option across the range. X1 buyers get a front-driven 'sDrive' set-up on lower-powered models and a 4x4 'xDrive' layout for the pokier variants that gives you just enough on-demand traction for icy days and muddy tracks. Enginewise, the line-up starts with the three cylinder 1.5-litre petrol and diesel units that BMW has borrowed from the MINI and fits to the base sDrive 18i and sDrive 16d derivatives. Otherwise, you'll be looking at the Bavarian brand's 2.0-litre TwinPower diesel unit. This comes with 150bhp in the 'sDrive 18d' and 'xDrive 18d' models, or with 190bhp in the volume xDrive 20d variant I tried.
Value For Money
This second generation X1 range is priced between £27,000 and £36,000, with the mid-range xDrive 20d model I tried - the one most buyers will want - needing a budget starting from just over £32,000, about the same as you'd spend on a 4WD 320d version of BMW's 3 Series Touring estate. Overall, we're talking of figures that see this second generation X1 pitched a little more expensively this time round - which is significant. At the bottom of the range, BMW offers its three cylinder MINI-derived engines in the front-driven 136bhp sDrive 18i and 116bhp sDrive 16d models, with either six speed manual or automatic transmission. I decided though, to focus on one of the four cylinder units the range was initially launched with, these being the powerplants most customers want and the ones that can be ordered with 4WD.
The four cylinder line-up is focused around BMW's familiar range of 2.0-litre TwinPower diesel units, the starting point being a 150bhp '18d' variant that can either be ordered in 'sDrive' front-driven form or, for a £1,500 premium, in 'xDrive' 4x4 guise. With the remaining versions, provision of the xDrive system is non-negotiable and in concert with the 190bhp diesel I tried, it's a set-up that makes the xDrive 20d model a strong package. The 231bhp xDrive 25d version offers an even pokier alternative and across the 2.0-litre diesel range, there's the usual £1,550 option of the company's 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. For the few buyers who'll be looking at fuelling from the green pump, there's a single automatic-only 192bhp xDrive 20i petrol variant.
Could I Live With One?
There are plenty of people ready to be cynical about lifestyle SUVs and the Crossover models that copy them but reality is that without these kinds of models, the 4x4 market would have petered out here long ago. With this MK2 model X1, BMW has looked carefully at this sector and produced a product carefully designed to suit. There are premium prices true, but it's decent value and provides most of what you get in a BMW 3 Series Touring in a better value package. On that basis, it gets my vote.