Tuesday, June 18, 2024



SUVs these days are bigger, more sophisticated and better connected than ever before – the entry offering from BMW, the X1, showing more than most how far the Bavarian brand’s smallest SUV has come.

The X1 has grown so much, in fact, that not only is it now significantly larger than its predecessor, but it is also mere millimetres smaller than the original X3.

Launched in 2004, that model measured 4565mm in length, 1853mm in width, 1674mm in height and rode on a 2795mm wheelbase.

By way of contrast, the new X1 measures 4500mm long (-65mm), 1845mm wide (-8mm) and 1642mm high (-32mm). It also offers between 540-1600 litres of cargo space, just 10 litres shy of the current-generation X3 and Audi Q5, and between 35-50 litres more than the outgoing X1.

Compared to its predecessor the new X1 is 53mm longer, 24mm wider and 44mm taller, and features a 22mm increase in wheelbase – a big jump by, err, any measure.

On the scales – and in proving the difference modern construction techniques play in not only improving safety but also fuel efficiency and vehicle dynamics – the new X1 (all-wheel drive) weighs 1595kg, or 170kg less than that first X3.

BMW says the use of aluminium, carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, high-tensile steel and other lightweight materials have pulled mass from non-critical areas of the new X1 compared with its predecessor, including the bonnet (-10kg), body (-8kg), wheels (-12kg) and door carriers (-2kg) to name but a few.

Changes to the X1 are not only related to size alone. This vehicle is genuinely new, with heavily revised powertrains, a glistening new electrical architecture – which brings with it the latest in connectivity and safety technologies – and a substantially improved level of space and comfort for up to five passengers.

Under the bonnet, BMW says the 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines comprise up to 90 per cent new or improved components. Power and torque figures for the pair grow to 115kW/230Nm and 150kW/300Nm respectively – up 12kW/10Nm and 9kW/20Nm.

Fuel consumption is heavier than before, with the sDrive18i consuming 6.5 litres per 100km (+1.1L/100km), and the xDrive20i 7.2L/100km against the outgoing all-wheel drive’s 7.1L/100km. Acceleration performance is improved, now 9.0 seconds (-0.6 seconds) for the 18i and 7.4 seconds (-0.2 seconds) for the 20i when compared with the F48 series.

Both engine choices are paired as standard to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Now that higher grade offerings are the norm across the X1 range – with xLine and M Sport variants offered – it is a given that technology levels are suitably high.

BMW says the new X1 is equipped with its latest eighth-generation operating system, which places great focus on voice and touchscreen inputs.

Larger screens for the infotainment array, digital instrument panel and comprehensive head-up display system provide detailed yet logical access to an expansive array of connectivity and safety features, while also bringing new vehicle controls to the fore, including a rocker-style gear selector set on the X1’s floating-style centre console.

Further, X1 owners can digitally share their car ‘key’ with family and friends via BMW’s Digital Key Plus system, provided, that is, they possess an Apple iPhone.

Equipment highlights of the new X1 range include dual-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights, automatic tailgate, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, BMW Live Cockpit Pro comprising 10.7-inch and 10.25-inch curved widescreen displays, keyless entry and start, anti-dazzle mirror package, remote software updates, adaptive cruise control stop-and-go function, blind-spot monitoring, automated parking, surround view cameras with drive recorder and wireless Android Auto.

Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are available as digital purchase and subscription at $589 and $349 respectively while metallic paint is a cost option. Option packages now offer sensibly bundled features for a set price with Enhancement and M Sport packages available (from $3000).

Priced between $53,900 plus on-road costs for the sDrive18i and $65,900 plus ORCs for the xDrive20i the X1 duo jumps $6000 over the starting point of the outgoing range.

The “small” SUV competes locally with rivals including the Audi Q3 (from $58,400), Jaguar E-Pace (from $71,070), Lexus UX (from $46,085), Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (from $55,100), Mini Countryman (from $45,000) and Volvo XC40 (from $52,990). All prices before on-roads.

With more than 22,000 examples of the X1 sold in Australia since the model debuted back in November of 2010 – and BMW Australia predicted this generation will be its best-selling yet – we expect great things from the model over the next 12 months, especially when it is joined by the all-electric iX1 in February of next year.

All BMW passenger cars and SUVs are now backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

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