2015 BMW X1 Review & First Drive

by under Review, luxury, SUV, family on 22 Oct 2015 03:18:22 PM22 Oct 2015
2015 BMW X1
FROM $45,000
Fuel Consumption
FROM 6.6L/100km

Best-in-class interior space; handsome styling; nice engines; great drive


Tyre noise on less than perfect roads

BMW has aced its major rivals with the all-new X1 compact SUV delivering the best-in-class interior and cargo space. And for that we can thank BMW’s young Australian designer Calvin Luk.

2015 BMW X1

And with prices starting from $49,500, the all-new X1 will continue the trend of the previous generation in bringing new customers into BMW dealerships. Some 73 per-cent of BMW X1 buyers have been new to the brand.

In fact with compact SUV sales sky-rocketing, the X1 is a clear example of BMW yet again having the right car in the right segment at the right time. Some 730,000 previous generation E84 BMW X1s were sold globally and at one stage the compact SUV accounted for 10 per-cent of the German giant’s total sales.


BMW X1 Overview

A new engine lineup flows onto a revised model range for the all-new BMW X1 (code-numbered F48). For the petrol range, the turbocharged 2.0-litre is available in two versions - 141kW/280Nm for the front-wheel-drive (FWD) sDrive20i and 170kW/350Nm for the all-wheel-drive (AWD) xDrive 25i.

And it’s a similar story for the diesel lineup with the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in 110kW/330Nm guise for the FWD sDrive18d and in 140kW/400Nm when powering the AWD xDrive20d.

2015 BMW X12015 BMW X1

Looks – the work of Sydney-born designer Calvin Luk – are very impressive and that win in the interior space race for the all-new BMW X1 will be the clincher for many buyers.

The new BMW X1lineup is:

sDrive18d  Diesel $45,000
sDrive20i  Petrol $46,909
xDrive25i  Petrol $54,456
xDrive 20d Diesel $56,500

BMW X1 Engine

The X1 is powered by all-new latest-generation turbocharged BMW engines. And they’re all mounted ‘east-west’ hence there is no under-bonnet space for a six-cylinder powerplant.

2015 BMW X1

Topping the billing is the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine fitted to the xDrive25i. With maximum power of 170kW and peak torque of 350Nm (between 1,250-4,500rpm) its output is virtually identical to the outgoing xDrive28i and it is equally as fast zero to 100km/h (6.5 seconds).

Drive is to all four wheels via the AISIN eight-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s latest xDrive system. Combined-cycle fuel consumption rates at 6.6l/100kms (much better than the 7.3l/100kms for the previous xDrive28i).

The other petrol model is the sDrive20i – also the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine but with outputs of 141kW/280Nm. Drive is similarly via the eight-speed Steptronic transmission but of course only to the front wheels. Combined-cycle fuel consumption scores 5.9l/100kms.

2015 BMW X1

Kicking-off the turbo-diesel models is the BMW X1’s entry-level model the front-drive sDrive18i. Output for the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is up over the previous generation to 110kW and peak torque is 330Nm. Combined-cycle fuel consumption measures 4.3l/100kms. The sDrive18i is the only X1 model which doesn’t use the AISIN eight-speed automatic transmission (but it is still an eight-speed auto).

Rounding-out the range is the xDrive20d (also a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel) which delivers 140kW/400Nm and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.9l/100kms). All of those figures are better than the previous generation xDrive20d.  


BMW X1 The Interior

We instantly liked the interior of the all-new X1. Noticeably more ‘SUV-like’ than the previous generation, BMW has ticked all the boxes for buyers in this segment.

2015 BMW X1

Interior space is the headline act and, as we mentioned, in this department BMW has stolen a considerable advantage over all rivals. Even though the all-new BMW X1 is 90mm shorter in the wheelbase than the previous generation, rear-seat knee-room has improved by 66mm - with the drivers’ seat in our position we took a seat in the rear and couldn’t get our knees to touch the back of the front seat.

The rear seat slides for-aft by 13cm, the seat base split folds 60:40 and the backrest split folds 40:20:40. That’s the sort of versatility buyers in this segment demand.

Cargo space is also massively improved. With the rear seat in-place we’re talking extra 85-litres at 506-litres and, with the rear seat folded, the capacity has grown by 200-litres to 1550-litres.

Seating adopts the raised stature SUV buyers are often looking for. The fronts are up by 36mm and the rear by 64mm. In every other measure (head-room, shoulder-room and elbow-room) the all-new BMW X1 has substantially eclipsed its predecessor.

There’s a very stylish new look for the dashboard with nice curved and flat surfaces and a centre screen for the satellite navigation (8.8-inch in xDrive25i or 6.5-inch on other models). Two circular gauges for the driver are housed in a compact curved binnacle.

2015 BMW X12015 BMW X1

The latest BMW ConnectedDrive system handles the infotainment (no Concierge Services however) and a head-up display is available – the same system as fitted to the 3 Series range.  


BMW X1 Exterior & Styling

The all-new BMW X1 isn’t the only work of Calvin Luke. In fact the young Sydney-sider also ‘crayoned’ the updated 1 Series.

2015 BMW X1

There were 25 design concepts from BMW’s various international design teams presented to the board. Four progressed to clay models before Calvin’s creation got the green light.

The final product is a bold, simple design with substantially greater on-road presence than the previous generation X1. “It’s a sleek, sporty cabin with more ‘SAV’ (Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW-speak) side architecture than before and all sitting on powerful, robust wheels,” Calvin Luk revealed.

Sporty proportions are highlighted by hardly any front overhang. This is particularly impressive for a vehicle with an east-west engine installation and front-wheel-drive models.

Up-front we see a larger/bolder version of the hallmark kidney grille and bonnet shut-lines which point to the crisp new headlights. There are also bolder air intakes and a large lower grille as well as very neat apertures for the fog-lights.

2015 BMW X1

Aerodynamics feature at the rear which has a wider rear window trimmed with aero blades. The L-shaped rear lights also have aerodynamic leading edges.

The all-new BMW X1 is 4,439mm long, 1,821mm wide and stands 1,598mm tall (that’s 53mm taller than the previous generation.


BMW X1 On The Road

We drove both xDrive20d and xDrive25i versions of the BMW X1 traversing the excellent sealed and dirt roads inland from Coffs Harbour, NSW. Both scored high marks for driving dynamics.

2015 BMW X1

BMW equips the all-new X1 with an updated version of the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system which is lighter and includes a push-button Hill Descent Control system. This version uses an electro-hydraulic clutch at the rear axle which BMW says delivers drive to the rear faster than rival vehicles.

The range-topping X1 xDrive 25i also picked-up variable ratio sports steering.

Our test route out the back of Coffs turned-up just about every type of road surface (except deep bog holes) and without doubt the all-new BMW X1 mastered the lot. BMW takes its ‘sheer driving pleasure’ concept to heart and the X1 responded well with a refined and cohesive display all day.

2015 BMW X1

We particularly liked its compliance over bumps and the sure-footed turn-in evidenced in the excellent hills around Dorrigo. Even some mid-corner potholes created little disturbance from either end.

As usual with BMW body control was top-shelf with little roll and virtually no ‘juddering’ in the bumps.

In the engine department, the 400Nm on-tap from the excellent 2.0-litre turbo-diesel afforded the BMW X1 effortless overtaking and plenty of grunt for corner exits. But in a close decision we’re giving our preference to the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine – just that little bit more refined and with the hallmark purposeful BMW exhaust note when working hard.

We liked the eight-speed automatic transmission in both full auto and manual (paddle shifters) mode. It was refined and timely in its shift changes.


BMW X1 Challenges

Some coarse chip bitumen sections on the drive route resulted in a noticeable lift in tyre noise.


BMW X1 The Competition

The latest Audi Q3 is a cracker but in comparisons with the all-new BMW X1 you need to overlook the 2WD 1.4-litre base model. The 2.0-litre Quattro models start from $47,900 and offer typically gorgeous Audi styling inside and out and a great drive. X1 wins the space race – for people and cargo.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is also a stunning car but it’s closer to a passenger car than an SUV. Prices start from $48,300 for the 2WD GLA 200. Clever, nicely styled, beautifully built and great to drive, the ‘Benz (like the Audi) is seriously outplayed by the interior space of the all-new BMW X1.

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