When BMW India brought the X1 to our shores, we instantly knew that this vehicle was destined to be a game changer. For the first time, a luxury brand such as BMW, became affordable for a rather large population and wasn’t just destined for the elite. Not only did the X1 create an initial fury in the market, it also pushed BMW sales to a whole new level.
As expected, the competition wasn’t going to sit around twiddling their thumbs while BMW ran to the bank, and they eventually ushered in their range of competing vehicles. While the introduction of the competition has helped this new segment grow, BMW has taken a hit and in a bid to gain back that market traction that the brand commanded, the company has set forth with the upgraded, 2013 edition of the X1 which in many ways has the equipment to put up a solid fight.
Getting right down to business, the changes to the exterior include a new tripartite air intake, which is a feature that is shared by all the X models, a new fog lamp layout to add a bit of width to the look and the most prominent of all the exterior changes are the new design xenon headlights with chrome garnish and twin circular rings with LED accents to ensure that classic BMW look. Other changes include ORVMs with integrated turn indicators and a revised rear end in terms of how it has been painted to bring out the striking surface structure of the underguard which in effect creates a rather sporty aura.
In addition to this, BMW also claims that an increased surface area is now painted as compared to the outgoing model and while this might not feel like a major feature, it does wonders to changing the visual appearance of this model and we are not complaining!
Open the nice heavy front door, typical of just about every BMW, and you are greeted with a fantastic dual tone interior with faux wood highlights added for taste. No doubt, being seated in a BMW is a great feeling and it is familiar territory, however on the new X1 BMW has tweaked the center console layout to be more driver centric. Apart from that, BMW has played with materials to usher in a sophisticated touch and this does enhance the cabin environment substantially.
Having said that, the cabin itself isn’t as cramped as one might make it out to be and can seat four adults in comfort, while a fifth one would make the rear bench quite a squeeze. In terms of creature comforts, the X1 comes with climate control air conditioning, a HiFi sound system with AUX-In, Bluetooth and USB compatibility.
Powering the X1 is the state of the art 2.0 litre diesel mill that we have grown to really appreciate here in India. Essentially, this is the same engine that does duty in the 320d, X3 20d and the 520d. It is a versatile engine that offers both outright performance and brilliant fuel economy.
The four cylinder, 1995cc diesel engine pumps out 184 hp at 4000rpm and 380Nm of torque between 1750-2750rpm. It is capable of going from 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds and while achieving all this, it also manages to return an ARAI certified average fuel economy of 17.05 kilometers to the litre! Fitted with an 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifts, the X1 is a blast to drive, especially with the improved package.
The first thing that you notice about the change in drive feel is the lighter steering. Unlike the earlier BMW X1 which had a very heavy steering wheel, this new one seems perfectly weighed. The other element that definitely comes into the picture is the quality of the ride. The earlier X1 was constantly criticized for its jarring ride quality and while that did great from the handling perspective, it was a disaster for those who were looking for an everyday vehicle to trot around in. The good news being that the X1 is now perfectly suited to being that daily vehicle to go city driving in, and if you feel the urge to step on the gas and have an absolute blast-it will do that too! Despite the softer ride, handling doesn’t seem to have been drastically affected, and probably the difference would only come to light if the vehicle is really pushed.
Overall, BMW has managed to improve the X1 substantially and has looked at addressing the most pressing needs that customers have highlighted and criticized about the product. It feels richer, drives better, is easier to steer and though it lacks some sort of 4x4 option, it still has the potential to take on the competition in a big way.
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