Until the late 1990s, BMW had only four different families of models, with just a couple of versions each. There was the tiny Z3 Roadster, the 3-Series (Compact, Sedan and Touring), the 5-Series (Sedan and touring) and the 7 Series.
In 1999, mostly as a response to Mercedes-Benz's M-Klasse, the BMW Sports Activity Series was launched with the BMW X5. It was the Bavarian company's first ever premium SUV - or SAV, as BMW likes to put it - but it was the first of many. Four years later, the smaller X3 model was being launched, complemented by the X6 in 2008, while the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show was host to the unveiling of BMW's smallest crossover-SUV, the X1.
In other words, approximately eleven years later, the BMW Sports Activity Series spans to no less than four different models, with the X1 being the entry-level model of the series. Based on a similar platform with the E90 3-Series, the E81 1-Series and even using parts from its X3 big brother, the X1 is a small crossover-SUV which currently has no direct competitors from the other two thirds of the German "premium triumvirate" of carmakers, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
It is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions, with the engine range mostly similar to that of the 1-Series, so as to not cannibalize the slightly larger (and more expensive) X3. Following a naming-convention oddly first seen on the latest BMW Z4, the X1 rear-wheel drive versions are called "sDrive", while the all-wheel drive ones are called "xDrive".
After testing the somewhat compact BMW X3
about a year ago, we wanted to see exactly what advantages and disadvantages would a smaller "X" model from BMW have. We got our hands on what will probably be the best-selling European version of the X1, the 2.0d xDrive, fitted with what we thought were all the wrong options, and took it for a spin. Read on to find out what are our opinions about it.Continue reading