The new BMW X1 is a little car with big ideas. BMW has imbued the third generation of its
compact SUV with extra space, higher tech and more features to make it what the maker
claims is the segment leader. I tend to agree.

Coming to Australia in two petrol powered variants – an electric version is penned for later
this year – the entry-level is the X1 sDrive18i front wheel drive, which leaps to the X1
xDrive20i all-wheel drive.

Added attractions have upped prices to $60,400, plus on road costs, for the sDrive18i and
$70,400, plus on-roads, for the xDrive20i. Two added-cost enhancement packages are
available. An M Sport Package pumps the price up to $73,400.

Leaving the former model in the feature remaindered rack, the base model now includes such
things as keyless entry/start, sports seats, a 10.7-inch multimedia touchscreen, a 10.25-inch
instrument cluster, ‘Hey BMW!’ voice control, a head-up display, GPS with augmented reality
view, dual-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights, a powered tailgate, adaptive cruise
control, automatic parking assist and a blind-spot monitor.

The sDrive18i on test sported Enhancement One, which delivered metallic paint,
panoramic glass sunroof, driving assistant professional, electrically adjustable front seats
and sliding rear seats, harman / kardon premium audio and 19-inch alloy wheels, all for an
extra $6513.

However, there is one oddity: a subscription system by which the bones of heated seats
and steering wheel are embedded in the Aussie released X1, but the skeleton will only
come to life by the owner paying a subscription starting at $29 a month up to a lifetime
$589. BMW claims it saves the buyer money: really!

The car is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, with three years
complimentary 24 / 7 roadside assistance.

While the new X1 has put on the inches, the compact SUV maintains near perfect
proportions, all the way from its expansive rejigged signature kidney-style radiator, via a
curved roofline, to a neat-and-tidy no nonsense rear.

With a typical squared-off SUV stance, extensive glass makes for panoramic views of
surroundings from all seating positions.

With the X1 now rivalling the dimensions of the first X3m it’s no surprise this new car feels
like a medium SUV.

Wrap around front seats offer excellent support in day-to-day motoring, and while on the
firm side, maintain a level of comfort welcome on long trips. Two adults can sit in relative
comfort behind a similar pair in front, with good head, knee and legroom, even with the
panoramic roof.

The middle position is fit only for short trips or small children. ISOFIX anchors are positioned
on the outboard seats as well as top-tether points across all three. Comfort is bolstered by
adjustable air vents behind the centre console, two USB-C charge ports, pockets behind the
front seats, bottle holders in the doors and a fold-down centre armrest with cup holders.

Behind the 40:20:40 split folding rear bench is room for 540 litres of cargo with all seats in
use, expanding to a generous 1600 litres with the second-row seat backs folded flat. No
room for a spare, only a tyre repair kit.

Bye-bye buttons is the catchphrase here, with the need to dig into the touchscreen for
several vehicle systems, the most annoying being for the climate control air-con. Gone is
the iDrive rotary control knob of yore too. In its place is the engine start / stop button,
electronic gearshift switch and audio volume roller.

The centre console itself is a bridging version with a large open space underneath for
easy-access storage. At the base of the centre stack is a phone charging point which
holds the handset in a near vertical plane, making it easy to view when in position.

A 10.7-inch centre screen, plus 10.25-inch digital instrument display are sharp as a tack to
view and responsive to inputs. ‘Hey BMW’ voice commands now have more options.

Power in the X1 sDrive18i comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine
developing 115 kW at 6500rpm and 230 Nm between 1500 and 4600 rpm, driving the front
wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The X1 carries a five-star safety rating based on 2022 Euro NCAP tests. Standard features
include upgraded autonomous emergency braking forward and reverse with pedestrian
and cyclist detection and junction assist adaptive cruise control including stop / go, blind-
spot monitoring, forward collision warning, high-beam assist, lane change warning (blind-
spot), lane departure warning, parking sensors front and rear, rear cross-traffic alert,
reversing assistant and surround view (360-degree cameras).

The body structure has had a boost and there are front, side, curtain and front-centre airbags
on hand in the event of an ‘unscheduled incident’.

Despite featuring a three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, the X1 sDrive 18i performs as
well as the ditched four-cylinder motor at low speeds in city traffic.

Tuning is the key here, with the newbie, following an at-times tardy take-off, running with
relative ease through the rev band. No neck-snapping acceleration, but according to BMW, at
9 seconds, 0.6 seconds sooner to 100 km/h than the previous model’s time on the way to a
215 km/h top speed.

Overtaking on the open road can raise a few questions about the missing pot, though. The
maker claims combined urban / highway fuel consumption of 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres. The
test X1 sDrive 18i clocked an average of 7.2 litres of 95 RON premium unleaded petrol over
the test period.

Steering has been the subject of attention from engineers and is smooth and responsive in
town, yet able to cope with assurance on the open road or hilly twists and turns. Wind and
engine noise allow a normal level of conversation between occupants, the only blemish being
some tyre noise on courser road surfaces.

Traditionally blinkered by driving performance at the expense of features, BMW has
flipped with the new X1. With the vehicle’s ambitions to be a medium-size SUV, it is well
on the way to being a friend of the family.

Looks: 7/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 7/10


BMW X1 sDrive18i FWD $60,400
BMW X1 xDrive20i AWD $70,400
BMW X1 xDrive 20i M Sport AWD $73,400
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (BMW X1 sDrive18i 1.5L Turbo 3-cylinder petrol, 7sp dual clutch
automatic, FWD)

Capacity: 1.499 litres
Configuration: 3 cylinders
Maximum Power: 115 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 230 Nm @ 1500-4600 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium petrol, 95 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.5 L/100km

DRIVELINE: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4500 mm
Wheelbase: 2692 mm
Width: 1845 mm
Height: 1642 mm
Turning Circle: 11.7 metres
Kerb Mass: 1500 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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