Magical touch lacking in BMW's small crossover
While the feeling becomes far smoother at speed, the extra weight makes parking a chore and you start to wonder if the power steering is acting up. Parking is also hindered by the narrow rear window that limits visibility, which means you can either play the guessing game when reversing into a space or invest in rear parking sensors.
It’s hardly surprising that the X1’s performance is enhanced by its 2-litre 143bhp engine. Slip an engine block this size into any car this size and it will shift. Yet it’s official times of 10.1 seconds from 0 to 100km/h is hardly record-breaking. That’s partly down to the extra weight of the four-wheel-drive system.
Of course you could opt to lighten the load and save a few euros with the rear-wheel-drive sDrive version. Opting for the sDrive variant also means you reduce emissions, so if you don’t need the extra grip then it’s the smarter buy.
Lot of money
However once you start thinking practically about what you really need and what offers the best value the very idea of the X1 starts to come unstuck. While the range starts at €35,160, most buyers will not leave the forecourt without forking out close to €40,000. That’s a lot of money these days for a high-set family car. You don’t even have to leave the BMW showroom to realise that you can get a well-dressed 3-Series for similar money and if you need a little more functionality then the 3-Series Touring – the model upon which the X1 shares much of its underpinnings and one of my favourites in the range - is well within reach.
For the sake or argument let’s accept that you still hanker for those SUV looks: well there are a host of mainstream crossovers and SUVs that you could choose and with €40,000 to spend you could lavish all sorts of extras upon these cars.
The reality is that mainstream brands have closed the gap on the so-called premium rivals, at a time when value for money has become the priority for buyers. There are a host of larger SUVs you can get – some with an extra row of seats – that offer more practicality but all the comfort features and plenty of driving pleasure for the same price as this BMW. The X1 may boast a premium badge, but it lacks any overriding wow factor to warrant placing it ahead of the mainstream pack.
The lowdown BMW X1 Drive 18d Sport
1,995cc turbodiesel engine putting out 143bhp and 320Nm of torque
143g/km (4WD version with auto transmission)
5.4 L/100km (52.3 mpg)
Hyundai Santa Fe Executive 4WD - €41,995; Mitsubishi Outlander 4WD, €36,950; Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDi 140bhp 4motion Spot, €35,490
€42,500 auto (starts at €35,160 for X1 16d sDrive)