Even though about a year ago we tested what we thought was a more domesticated version of the X1, the 320d xDrive Touring
, we weren't greeted by the exact specifications in the X1. On paper, strictly looking at the numbers, these two cars are twins separated at birth. In real life, the only common traits between the two reside in the design elements.
As we mentioned earlier, the X1 is based on a modified platform shared by both the E90 3-Series and the E81 1-Series. In length and width, the X1 sits right between a 1-Series Coupe/Cabrio and a 3-Series Touring, but it's much closer to the 3-Series in overall size. So, apart from the increased ride height and a couple of other details, we were at first inclined to compare the technical bits of the X1 to our earlier test car.
Turns out, the two are alike in some ways, while in others they are completely different animals. For example, the two-liter four-cylinder under the hood sounds a bit noisier but it's somehow less vibrating inside the cockpit of the X1. We suspect the main difference came from the fact that the X1 automatic gear shifter knob is less prone to vibrations than the manual one found in our previous six-speed manual 320d xDrive Touring.
Other than the noise problem, the two-liter turbo-diesel is quite a feisty little engine. Just like in the 3-Series, it manages to offer 177 horsepower and a more-than-adequate torque figure of 350 Nm (258.1 lb ft). What really got our attention about it was the very little lag experienced, especially since it was coupled with a six-speed Steptronic transmission, and the fact that the maximum torque ca be felt from 1750 to as high as 3000 rpm.
If the very long maximum torque line isn't enough to impress you, learn that the fuel consumption on a car like the X1 with an automatic will not jump above 11 liters per 100 kilometers (US 21.4 mpg) unless you're driving the car in a highly "dynamic manner".
Even if it's quite far from the sharpness of a dual-clutch, the six-speed automatic transmission gets the job done. Made by ZF, it can be encountered on numerous other cars, like Audis, Volvos and Jaguars, but it's specially tuned for each manufacturer and/or car. It's not exactly fast, but the gear changes are smooth and the kick down option is well-anticipated by the ECU.
The most important techy bit on our X1 test car was of course the xDrive all-wheel drive system. You may know this already from press releases or other test drives, but it's one of the very few pro-active systems out there, ready to intervene even before the driver knows that something (bad) is happening with the traction. Continue reading