BMW has done a good job with the update of the XI. The car now has more equipment and its diesel engine gets added power

BMW has given its entry-level SUV, the X1, a facelift. The refreshed X1 gets updated interiors, more equipment and more power for the diesel engine. For now, only a diesel engine is on offer for the line-up. Although the new car is Rs. 1.5 lakh more expensive than the old X1, with a starting price of Rs. 27.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), it remains the most affordable BMW in India. A lot has changed in this new X1. Let’s take a closer look.

The overall design of the X1 has been tweaked subtly. The main changes are at the front and rear bumpers which now get a more upmarket looking glossy finished plastic cladding at the chin and the rear lower back and the side-skirts. The headlamps retain the same familiar shape as those used on the existing X1, but receive new internal elements, including LED corona rings in some variants. It gets reshaped exterior mirrors with housings for side repeater lights.

Based on the 3-series touring chassis, it uses a longitudinally mounted engine, rear-wheel drive layout and the old X1’s six-speed gearbox has been replaced with the ZF eight-speed unit that’s in all new BMWs. Also new on the X1 is the electro-mechanically assisted power steering.

This new car addresses one of the biggest weaknesses of the old X1 — its dull interiors. This one gets more premium materials than before and instead of a two-one dash, it now gets an all-black theme throughout the cabin including the seats. The wooden inserts on the dashboard are now replaced with aluminium-finish inserts and the high-gloss surface around the air-con controls and chrome inserts around the display screen gives it a nice touch.

Three trim-levels are on offer – base, xLine and Sportline. The base variant includes climate control, electric wing mirrors and fog lamps, on board computer, audio system with CD/aux/USB and 17-inch alloy wheels. The xLine variant adds underguard elements for front and rear aprons, side skirt covers and air intake and kidney grille slats in Titanium Silver matte finish. This variant also gets special door sills with xLine badging, sports multi-function steering wheel with leather, multi-colour ambient lighting, floor-mats with colour-matched piping and Fineline Bay matte wood finish exclusive to the xLine trim level.

The next trim level, Sportline, comes with front and rear aprons, side skirt covers, air intake and kidney grille slats in black high-gloss, black-chrome trimmed exhaust finishers, unique design for 17-inch alloys and door sills with BMW Sport badging and sport seats, BMW Sport steering wheel with leather and red stitching and brushed aluminum trim on the interior.

A navigation system with an integrated hard disk and an 8.8-inch screen, panorama glass roof, power seats, rain-sensing wipers and a heated steering wheel are on offer as optional equipment.

The X1’s longitudinal setup means that the transmission tunnel intrudes into the cabin. The X1 is low slung and you sit much closer to the ground and the seating position, even with the height adjust, is low and it doesn’t give you the feel of an SUV. The high sill makes getting into the X1 a little difficult as well.

The X1 now makes slightly more power and torque — 181bhp and 38.74kgm. This step-up in power and the closer stacked ratios of the eight-speed box means the X1 hits the 100 kph mark in 8.25seconds, a whole 1.2seconds quicker than before. Peak torque is available from as low as 1750rpm which means the motor pulls effortlessly and acceleration is linear from low engine speeds. The eight-speed auto works brilliantly and is very quick to respond.

That said, the X1’s motor is still quite audible at idle and under hard acceleration. It’s only when cruising that the engine settles down to a murmur.

As for the ride, BMW seems to have gone a bit soft at the rear in the interest of passenger comfort. It is pliant and absorbent for the most part but the soft rear suspension set-up results in constant up and down movement over broken surfaces. It’s not uncomfortable, but it’s there.

One of the best things about the old X1 was the driver involvement it offered. This new one is as good and this, despite the switch to an electrically assisted steering setup. The steering is very responsive and gives accurate feedback to the driver at speeds but strangely, is quite heavy at parking speeds.

Overall, BMW has done a good job with the update for the X1. It has carefully checked the old X1, figured what was lacking in the car and addressed those issues. The new X1 definitely makes the case stronger for itself.

Keywords: BMWentry-level SUVX1facelift