The new BMW X1 takes its key styling cues and practicality from the X5 but shrinks it into a more compact and affordable package. The vehicle's lines and command driving position echo its larger stablemate, while the five-seat configuration and 1,350-litre boot space provide outstanding load-lugging capability.
Inside, and all the main controls and dashboard displays are angled towards the driver. A range of storage compartments, trays and large door pockets provide a variety of places to keep personal effects. An owner that specifies one of the two available satellite navigation systems featuring the latest iDrive display, controller and Favourite Buttons gains a slightly revised interior layout to accommodate the system. The interior of the BMW X1 can be further enhanced by opting for the new Design package. This sees Sport seats in Oyster Nevada leather, Anthracite headlining and Fineline Wave wood trim. The Oyster theme continuing to the lower part of the dashboard, all of the centre console and leather piping on the floor mats.
Power comes from a choice of three diesel engines and, for the first time on a BMW X product, the option to have rear-wheel drive (sDrive) or four-wheel drive (xDrive).
The dominance of diesel engines in other BMW SUVs, led BMW UK to decide only to offer diesel in the UK. The BMW sDrive18d and the xDrive18d feature four-cylinder powerplants with an all-aluminium crankcase and a single turbocharger with variable intake geometry. Third generation common-rail diesel technology ensures optimum combustion.
The 1,995cc engine produces 143hp while peak torque is 320Nm from 1,750rpm through to 2,500rpm. This equates to a zero to 62mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph for the rear-wheel drive X1 sDrive18d SE. The X1 xDrive18d SE posts figures of 10.1 seconds and a 121mph top speed. Both models are exceptionally fuel efficient, capable of 54.3mpg and 49.6mpg on the combined cycle respectively. The engine is EU5 rated and records 136g/km and 150g/km CO2 emissions. Offering a higher outright performance, the BMW sDrive20d SE and xDrive20d SE are also offered. Powered by the same 1,995cc engine but in a higher state of tune, these two models up the ante offering 177hp and 350Nm from 1,750rpm to 3,000rpm. This results in improved performance figures with zero to 62mph attained in 8.1 seconds (8.4 for the xDrive20d) and a top speed of 127mph.
As the flagship model the BMW xDrive23d SE is offered only as a four-wheel drive variant. Still using a 2.0-litre engine, albeit with twin-turbocharger technology, this International Engine of the Year category winner provides rapid performance that defies the model's Sports Activity Vehicle position. The 204hp engine accelerates the X1 to 62mph in 7.3 seconds. The near flat torque curve with a peak output of 400Nm from 2,000rpm to 2,250rpm permits effortless overtaking. The xDrive23d SE is an EU5 rated vehicle that records 44.8mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 167g/km.
Most BMW X1s come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. However, buyers of the xDrive23d have a six-speed Sport automatic gearbox with gear change paddles located a finger tip away from the steering wheel for sporty changes.
EfficientDynamics plays a part in the BMW X1 story with the introduction of Auto Start-Stop technology on an X product for the first time. Available on all manual transmission cars the system improves fuel consumption figures. The BMW X1 also has the full suite of EfficientDynmamics technologies including Brake Energy Regeneration, optimised aerodynamics, optimum shift indicator and on-demand use of ancillary units to name a few.
The BMW X1 goes on sale in the UK on 24 October, 2009 with the sDrive18d and xDrive18d variants following in December.