Although 177 horsepower don't seem very much for a compact crossover, the X1 2.0d xDrive can really keep your back firmly pressed against the seat whenever you smash the acceleration pedal to the floor. The two-liter four-banger is both a fuel-sipper and a torquey little bugger, with no less than 350 Nm (258.1 lb ft) available from 1750 all the way to 3000 rpm, which is mighty good for a diesel engine.
Starting from a complete stop, the 2.0d xDrive with Steptronic can reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in just 8.3 seconds, which is oddly 0.4 seconds faster than the 320d xDrive Touring with the same type of transmission. We suspect the major difference comes from the fact that, somehow, BMW has made the X1 about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) lighter than a similarly-sized 3-Series Touring with xDrive.
The raised suspension doesn't take away too much from the famed BMW handling, while adding the capability of going over rougher roads at much higher speeds than with a regular 3-Series. There is some body roll, but compared to an average compact crossover the X1 feels like a sports car.
The sporty steering takes some getting used to after driving an average boat-like SUV, but on the upside it offers plenty of feel and precision. In other words, the X1 feels much more appropriate for sporty driving on rougher or on pristine condition serpentine roads than your average compact crossover. On the other hand, its off-road capabilities are obviously under par, since the ground clearance is not that high and the front and rear consoles are too long for a good angle of attack.
It does, however, has the Land Rover-inherited HDC (Hill Descent Control) system, which can help you when driving down slippery slopes. Plus, the Steptronic six-speed automatic transmission is a nice partner for both highway driving and semi-off-road challenges.
The only quarrel we had with the model we drive in the open road was the noise level coming from both the engine and the rather poor aerodynamic insulation of the X1 at highway speeds. It doesn't exactly sound like a tractor, but the engine delivers plenty of vibrations throughout the cockpit. Plus, despite the low, 0.30 drag coefficient, the noise level are seriously increased inside at speeds above 120 km/h (75 mph).
The impressive bit about our test car was again its fuel economy. During our drive outside the city we managed a fuel consumption of about 5.5-6 liters per 100 kilometers (US 39.2-42.8 mpg) as long as we kept our pilot feelings at a reasonable rate. Driven in a sportier manner, the consumption can rise to over seven liters per 100 km (US 33.6 mpg), but all these figures are more than satisfactory considering the available performance. Continue reading
Hold on, Mary would like to say something...
From the first moment the BMW X1 entered my line of vision I immediately knew I was going to enjoy driving it. I mean, what's not to like about it? The "Marrakesh Brown" color is simply stunning and, along with the LED taillights, it was probably the first thing about the car to fall in love with.
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