BMW X1 M Sport Review
Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.
The BMW X1 created quite a furore when it landed on our shores back in December 2010. Launched at a starting price of INR 22 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), the crossover lowered the entry point into luxury car ownership. A little over five years after pioneering the entry-level luxury crossover segment, BMW introduced the second generation X1 in India. The F48 BMW X1 raised a few eyebrows as it moved from a rear wheel drive to a front wheel drive layout. Purists may declare BMW using an FWD layout as sacrilegious, but that alone does not determine the fate of a car. What does, however, is whether the X1 checks all the right boxes in its target audience’s books or not. We spent a few days with a BMW X1 xDrive 20d M Sport seeking answers to that question.
What does it look like?
Appearance wise, it is a rather attractive looking car and we doubt there will be too many who will disagree with that statement. The rather aggressive looking front fascia features full LED headlamps flanking the signature kidney grille. The M Sport spec which we had for review comes with a different nose section devoid of any silver trim. At the back, much like the front, there is a bumper exclusive to the M Sport spec. There’s a big chunk of it finished in gloss black. Although, in this case, it almost blends in with the Black Sapphire exterior shade. The 18-inch Ferric Grey alloy wheels are also specific to this trim.
Compared to its predecessor, the current X1 pulls off the SUV look much better thanks mainly to a shorter, higher set bonnet and a more cab-forward design. As we said, there isn’t much to fault in terms of appearance. Unless, of course, you take issue with BMW’s design approach in general.
What’s it like on the inside?
Design wise, the dashboard is typical BMW affair draped in black with wood inserts and hints of silver. The seats, however, are wrapped in beige upholstery. An 8.8-inch display for the iDrive setup sits atop the centre console with the controller residing just behind the gear selector. Recent updates to the features list have added a reverse parking camera to the X1, a feature that was missing when the car was initially launched in February 2016. Also part of the kit is a panorama glass roof, dual zone climate control, head-up display, M steering wheel, orange/white ambient lighting, electrically adjustable front seats with memory function for the driver’s seat, and one-touch tumble rear seats.
The front wheel drive construction and transversely mounted engine have helped free up cabin space. As a result, rear passenger knee room has improved and so has the headroom and shoulder room. The driver also sits higher up now getting a better view of the surroundings. A 505 L boot ensures the X1 can swallow four people’s weekend luggage with ease and still have space for more.
What’s it like to drive?
The BMW X1 employs a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine. Peak power of 190 PS comes in at 4,000 rpm while a max torque of 400 Nm can be accessed right from 1,750 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive setup. Power is sent ot the front wheels under normal usage, but the xDrive system can send 100 percent of the torque to the rear axle if necessary.
The 2.0 L unit’s strength lies in its strong mid-range. Our time in the X1 was spent navigating busy city streets as well as open highway stretches and there was never a point when we felt the car could do with more power. Even in Eco or Comfort mode, the engine felt fairly lively. The 8-speed transmission’s reluctance to downshift, albeit rare, was the only negative aspect of an otherwise satisfying driving experience.
BMW has set the X1 up in favour of comfort, which means imperfections are dealt with ease. The soft suspension setup does mean that the X1 wallows over undulations at higher speeds, though. Still, like most BMW’s, the X1 too is a keen handler and quick changes in direction do not seem to unsettle the car. Adding to the overall driving experience is the well-weighted steering and the “sport seats” that do a superb job of holding you in place through tight corners.
Should you buy one?
The BMW X1 range starts INR 32.40 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) onwards. This particular variant, which is the xDrive 20d M Sport, is priced at INR 42.70 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). Although no longer available at a sub-30 lakh price tag, the X1 remains the cheapest offering to wear the revered BMW badge. It looks good, especially in the M Sport trim, offers a spacious and feature-laden cabin, and despite being positioned at the lower end of BMW’s lineup, does not default on cabin quality and refinement. The 2.0 L diesel engine and 8-speed automatic combo coupled with BMW’s sorted dynamics ensure the X1 is enjoyable to drive. So, are there any faults then?
There are. But not really obvious ones, though. The wood trim on the dash seems a bit out of place in the M Sport spec X1. And buyers who prefer the more sophisticated looking Expedition and xLine trims over the sportier M Sport spec will not be able to opt for the 8.8-inch display or AWD. Those trims get a smaller 6.5-inch screen instead and front wheel drive. So, does it check all the right boxes? Well, the fact that the only faults we could find are related to trim specifications sums it up, doesn’t it?
BMW X1 – Price List
|Variant Name||Ex-showroom Delhi price|
|BMW X1 sDrive20d Expedition||INR 32,40,000|
|BMW X1 sDrive 20d xLine||INR 37,35,000|
|BMW X1 xDrive 20d M Sport||INR 42,70,000|
BMW X1 – Specifications
|Engine||1,995 cc TwinTurbo Diesel|
|Power||190 PS @ 4,000 rpm|
|Torque||400 Nm @ 1,750-2,500 rpm|
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)||7.6 seconds|
|Top Speed||219 km/h|
|Fuel economy (claimed)||20.68 km/l|
|Tyres||Front – 225/50 R18
Rear – 225/50 R18
|Fuel tank capacity||61 L|
|Cargo volume||505 L|
BMW X1 Review – Image Gallery
Product Name: BMW X1 xDrive20d M Sport
Product Description: Top of the line BMW X1 reviewed
What we like?
- M Sport styling additions
- Well equipped
- Engine and transmission combo
What we don't like?
- AWD available only in M Sport trim
- 8.8-inch display restricted unavailable in non-M Sport trims (they get a 6.5-inch display)
- Beige seats in what is intended to be a sportier spec