BMW’s best selling car in India, the X1 crossover just got itself a mid life makeover. The facelifted BMW X1 comes with a host of changes, changes that BMW hopes will be enough to ensure that the X1 continues to maintain its leadership position in the luxury SUV segment even as recent upstart, the Audi Q3, has mounted a stiff challenge to the X1’s supremacy. Team ICB got an opportunity to sample the X1 for an extended period of time a week ago. After living with the facelifted car for a couple of days and putting it through its paces for over 500 kilometers across the city and highway, here’s what we feel about the facelifted BMW X1 crossover.
Let’s talk looks first because that’s what’ll strike you first. The facelifted BMW X1, while retaining familiar lines comes with a bunch of changes to justify the “facelift” moniker. The exterior looks more suave than before with a new tripartite air intake up front. The front and the rear bumpers get once overs with a tastefully finished plastic cladding at either ends. The xenon headlamps boast of a chrome garnish with twin LED corona rings. A new fog lamp housing perks up the front end.
The electric wing mirrors get integrated turn indicators. The large 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear aprons, side skirt covers, air intake and kidney grille slats in Titanium Silver matte finish are worth relishing. A larger surface area has been painted in the facelift as compared to its predecessor, which came with more unpainted bits. That’s pretty much the round up on what’s new on the BMW X1’s outside.
Stepping into the cabin, the first thing that strikes you about the facelifted BMW X1 is the overall improvement in the quality of the interiors. There were a few low rent bits on the previous version of the X1 and with the facelifted model, BMW has ensured that these bits are ironed out to make a better finished interior. Apart from the better materials used on the dashboard of the car, an all-black theme runs throughout the cabin and this theme is carried on to the seats as well.
In a time and age where luxury cars in India scream beige, we actually loved the black finish considering the easier maintenance this color scheme affords over the longer term. Further spicing things up on the interiors, BMW has generously used satin inserts on the dashboard. A rich glossy-woody strip along the air conditioning unit and chrome inserts on the display are the other feel good bits on the facelifted X1.
As is the case on new Beemers, the facelifted X1’s dashboard and center console is inclined towards the driver, a touch that indicates the driver centricity of this car. The X1’s front seats are very comfortable for the driver and co-passenger. As long as two adults occupy the rear seat, they’d be reasonably comfortably. Three adults at the rear is definitely a squeeze. Leg room at the rear will suit most Indian frames although heftily built folks will find the rear cramped, especially if the front seats are pushed back in case of tall folks up front.
The older BMW X1 was a sheer delight to drive, what with its superb driving dynamics aided in great measure through the longitudinally mounted turbo diesel motor and the rear wheel drive layout. On the facelifted X1, BMW has taken an all diesel approach with the 2 Liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel motor being the only engine option. The 2 liter motor produces slightly more power and torque than on the older X1, with 184 Bhp-380 Nm. The big change on the facelifted model is that the older 6 speed automatic gearbox is replaced by an 8 speed slush box. Also, the steering is now an electro-mechanical unit, a departure from the pure and full hydraulic affair of the older X1.
The men in white coats at Munich have ensured that the electro-mechanical unit delivers excellent feedback even as it is lighter to operate than the older steering. However, the new steering still exhibits heaviness at parking speeds and surprisingly, this is something that’s carried over from the hydraulic unit. The new BMW X1 also gets slightly softer suspension at the rear. While the softer suspension doesn’t affect the excellent driving dynamics of the car noticeably, rear seater might experience more movement due to the softer suspension, especially when the car is pushed hard across broken surfaces and the twisty bits.
The addition of the 8 speed automatic gearbox has meant that the engine responds with an urgency that was missing on the older X1, whose 6 speeder took a while to kick down and give you that torque boost. The new transmission ensures that you’re in the meat of the torque band and this is definitely stuff that a driving enthusiast would really revel in. The X1 feels faster than before and the result is a 0-100 Kph time of about 8 seconds, that’s about 1 second faster than the older car. Push the car hard and you’ll see a 200 Kph figure on the speedo but the engine does sound off at those speeds.
A Start-Stop system and brake energy regeneration is standard on the new X1. These fuel efficiency boosting bits mean that the X1 will deliver about 10 Kpl in the city with this figure going up to 14 Kpl on the highway. If you drive like a grandma, with due respect to the grandmas of this world, you’ll even manage 16 Kpl plus but then again, the X1 isn’t meant to be driven like that. The car enjoys being pushed around and the X1 is more of a hatchback on stilts rather than an SUV. Why, even the driving position is more akin to a raised hatchback than an SUV.
Coming to the equipment on offer, the base variant comes with climate control, electric wing mirrors, fog lamps, factory fitted audio with support for CD/Aux, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The top spec Sportline model of the facelifted X1 can be specified with an satellite navigation, a sunroof, power seats, rain sensing wipers and a heated steering wheel. The base variant of the X1 is priced at 27.9 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. All in all, the facelifted BMW X1 is a comprehensive improvement over the previous version and the crossover has enough muster to hold its own against newer competition from Audi and Mercedes Benz.