1 Apr 2010
BMW launched its first compact SUV – the X1 series – in April 2010.
It has been designed to lure younger and new-to-BMW buyers, and is promoted as the world’s first true premium compact SUV – until the Audi Q3 and Land Rover LR1 come on stream anyway.
Heavily based on the 2005-2012 E91 3 Series Touring platform, the X1 was initially launched as eight models, brandishing four-cylinder petrol (sDrive18i) and diesel (sDrive20d, xDrive20d and xDrive23d in ‘s’ rear and ‘x’ all-wheel drive guises, as well as an xDrive25i featuring a 3.0L in-line six-cylinder engine.
All models include a full suite of safety gear including six airbags, stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes for a five-star EuroNCAP crash-test result, EU5 emissions-rated engines, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, cruise control with brake functionality, rear parking radar, a multi-function leather steering wheel, minimum 17-inch alloy wheels on Runflat tyres, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a cargo floor storage facility as standard.
The 20d models are currently the most economical X1s, and are expected to account for up to half of all sales, split down the middle as far as what drive configuration is chosen.
Under the 7 Series-style bonnet is a 1995cc 2.0-litre common-rail direct-injection four-cylinder diesel with a variable intake geometry turbocharger to help produce 130kW of power at 4000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1750rpm to 3000rpm.
The base diesel’s impressive efficiency is enhanced by the manual’s Auto Start/Stop function that cuts the engine at standstill, as well as a gearshift indicator. Other EfficientDynamics measures include optimisation measures for aerodynamics and the alternator.
The auto-only xDrive23d flagship adds twin turbochargers known as TwinPower to up the 2.0L’s outputs to 150kW at 4400rpm and 400Nm between 2000-2250rpm the sDrive18i features BMW’s familiar 1995cc 2.0-litre Valvetronic twin-cam four-cylinder petrol unit delivering 110kW at 6400rpm and 200Nm at 3600rpm, while the 2996cc 3.0L Valvetronic in-line petrol six possesses 160kW at 6100rpm and 277Nm at 2500rpm.
Being E90-generation 3 Series based, BMW’s smallest compact SUV employs the same 2760mm wheelbase as the E91 Touring wagon. Length, width and height measurements are 4454mm, 1798mm and 1545mm respectively. The front track is 1500mm while the rear’s is 1529mm. Ground clearance is 145mm.
The front suspension uses a double-joint thrust bar axle and the rear employs a five-arm axle design, while the steering is via a rack and pinion of hydraulic power motivation.
Cargo space is rated at 360 litres with the backrest at the 31 degree recline position. If you tilt it forward to its one-degree upright ‘cargo’ mode, this increases to 480L, while folding all three portions of the back seat down increases that to 1350L.
BMW gave its X1 crossover a mid-life update in November 2012 that included three new four-cylinder engines, a diesel and two petrol, in addition to the carryover but uprated 135kW turbo-diesel.
BMW claimed improved efficiency for the updated X1, with the entry-level 105kW sDrive18d turbo-diesel variant consuming 4.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, while the 135kW turbo-petrol sDrive20i delivered 6.9L/100km.
The new top-spec xDrive28i was powered by a 180kW turbo-petrol and raced from 0-100km/h in just 6.1 seconds, with fuel consumption of 7.8L/100km.
The xDrive variants were differentiated by 18-inch alloy wheels, extra chrome highlights, aluminium-look roof rails (sDrive variants had black items), auto-dipping interior mirror and leather sports steering wheel.
Other changes to the X1 for 2012 were subtle exterior and interior styling tweaks and the option of a segment-first eight speed automatic transmission.