BMW X1 review 2012
By Ian Lynas, 23rd September 2012
My destination was Saalbach Hintergleem in one of the most scenic parts of Austria - famed for its winter sports. However, it was early autumn and my mission was to try out the new BMW X1 and of course, take in some of the delights of the region.
On arriving at Munich Airport, the X1 was collected and the three hour drive was to one of the best hotels in Austria, the Theresia Gartenhotel. Thanks to the great satnav system, a hold up on the autobahn was averted, then a diversion through Munich and a relatively clear run to the destination (despite the heavy rain).
Driving in such conditions was made easy with the surefooted roadholding of the X1 and its four-wheel drive system. I noticed that there are quite a number of X1s in Austria, which was easy to understand as a large slice of the year is spent driving in snow and ice.
Before crossing into Austria, I had to buy a vignette: this is a window sticker which you must pay for and display if you want to drive on Austrian motorways. It's also best to have high-viz vests on board and if you wear spectacles, a spare pair in the glovebox.
As it turned out, there was no need for the vignette as the route, so well employed by the satnav system used the German autobahn and then excellent cross country roads to Saalbach Hintergleem.
The X1 recently received a makeover, with a number of improvements and new engines. My test vehicle, the top of the line Xdrive25d had 218bhp on tap, which is enough for the sprint to 62mph to be covered in 6.8 seconds.
The dreadful conditions on the autobahn prevented discovery of the 142mph top speed but the average consumption for the week was more pleasing – 44mpg.
With the latest generation X1, it is a more a case of evolution: the vehicle has simply improved in all the key areas, it has a more feeling of luxury than the first generation model and in terms of build quality that has moved up a notch as well.
The distinctive lines have been strengthened with a comprehensive range of stylistic enhancements. From the front extended painted surfaces, emphasising the X-shape running along the bonnet’s precision lines, through the kidney grille and into the lower bumper. There is reduced plastic bordering at the lower edge of the body, while the indicators are now integrated into the wing mirrors.
At the rear, larger painted areas echo the frontal treatment, while there is a more prominent underguard to reinforce the sporty, off-road appearance of the X1. New exterior colours and alloy wheel designs complete the look.
The cabin is driver-focused and the driver‘s side of the angled centre console is now shallower and covered with a higher-quality surface material, while the panel for the sound system and climate control is now finished in high gloss black to match the air vent surrounds. The new model features a storage compartment in the instrument panel as standard but when the vehicle is specified with satellite navigation, this becomes the operational screen for the iDrive system, highlighted with chrome accents.
There is revised trim for the gear lever surround, cup holder and headlamp switch to create a high quality atmosphere within the cabin.
With a pair of turbochargers working together in sequence, the smaller of the turbochargers features variable geometry technology and is responsible for the low rev response of the engine with peak torque of 450Nm available from just 1,500rpm. The larger turbo is concerned with higher rev output and helps the engine to produce its 218bhp.
The six-speed manual gearbox is standard but a new eight-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic is available on every variant apart from the sDrive EfficientDynamics model. I had the automatic transmission and this would be my choice. The combination of the highly efficient diesel engine and the automatic transmission delivered an effortless drive.
Finally, a further comment on the Theresia- Gartenhotel; this was my third time to visit and I enjoyed superb food, hospitality and a warm welcome from the owners, Marianne and Harald Brettermeier and staff.