Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 BMW X1.
The hardest thing to figure out about the BMW X1 is what it is. It’s sort of an SUV, but isn’t all wheel drive; it’s sort of a station wagon, but rides a bit a higher than a traditional estate car, so classification is difficult.
BMW have found a nice little niche between the two styles, and if sales are anything to go by, it’s a success. It’s quite a rewarding little car to drive and from some angles is quite good looking, although from other angles you may be tempted to throw stones at it.
We tested the entry level sDrive 18d with a 105kw 2.0 litre turbo diesel, linked to the brilliant BMW 8-speed automatic. The little diesel is a punchy performer offering brisk acceleration and plenty of torque, 320Nm in fact, but like all turbo diesels there’s a bit of lag between putting your foot down and going anywhere.
It’s a real fuel miser; we averaged 6.7 litres per 100km over a week of mainly inner city commutes. The stop-start system in the 2013 BMW X1 helps the economy and is faultless in its operation.
Handling is sharp and rewarding and was the biggest surprise in the X1. The rear wheel drive layout provides a front end with plenty of bite, and there is very little body roll in corners. It has a predictable tendency to oversteer which only adds to the fun of the drive.
The ride was too harsh for my liking, with every nuance in the road surface communicated through the cabin. The ride is not helped by the Sport package fitted to our test car that was shod with low profile 18 inch alloys.
I’d imagine the standard 17’s would provide a more forgiving ride although whether that would substantially dull the agile handling is an unknown.
Inside was a little disappointing for a car starting at $44,900. Whilst the layout is typically BMW and everything works in a logical fashion, the cabin of the BMW X1 felt just a little cheap.
The plastics where a bit on the hard side, the iDrive controller and buttons on the steering wheel weren’t particularly pleasant to the touch, and the sound of the diesel engine was always evident.
It’s not all bad news though, the driving position is excellent, the seats supportive and comfortable, and the feeling of space is excellent with plenty of head, leg and shoulder room in all seats.
A decent sized cargo area in the back and the ability to configure the rear seats in a number of ways means you’d carry almost anything.
Standard features in the BMW X1 are relatively generous with Auto Start/Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, ABS, Stability Control and Traction, Cornering Brake Control, Cruise control with braking function, Park Distance Control, Front and Rear Fog lights, front and rear, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, Bluetooth and USB audio interface.
Our test car was laden with options including the $2538 Sport Package which gives you the 18 inch alloys, chunky sport steering wheel and floor mats among other things.
The 8 Speed Auto is a $2693 extra, the Panorama glass sunroof costs $2308 and the Navigation Package Business costs $2900. Metallic paint was also a $1,308 option taking the total cost of our X1 to $56,647 before on road costs; a rather hefty price.
But if you’re after European engineering with a BMW badge, an engaging enthusiastic drive and some convenient cargo space the X1 is well worth a look.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo diesel developing 105kW and 320Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 3 years
Price: From $44,900
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: BMW E84 X1.