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Old 21st July 2011, 14:47   #1
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Default BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

I exchanged my Laura for a friend's X1 for a few days. Here is a Quick Review with some pics.

What's Good-
  • Legendary BMW Handling and Fun to Drive factor.
  • Brilliant Steering.
  • Torquey and Revv Happy Diesel engine delivers punchy Performance.
  • More ground clearance than an Average car.
  • Cheaper CE version comes with all the safety equipment.

Whats's Not-
  • Not an actual crossover it's perceived to be, it's just a Station-Wagon that looks like a crossover.
  • Stiff Ride gets uncomfortable at slightest road imperfections.
  • High NVH for a car of this segment, especially the annoying vibrations at idle.
  • Quality of certain Cabin parts not at par with other BMWs.
  • Gearbox response in S and Manual modes .


BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4706.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4709.jpg

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 16:09.
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Old 21st July 2011, 14:47   #2
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BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4729i.jpg


The X1 is marketed as a crossover, but in person it looks like a Station wagon on stilts, just a raised Estate with big SUVish wheel arches with the body kit to make it look like a SUV. It’s not as tall as any of the other crossovers in the market, it’s slightly taller than an average Sedan, some taller cars like Suzuki SX4 are taller. With the imposing Kidney grille you can instantly recognize it as a BMW from a distance. The design carries elements from the 1 series and the X3 crossover. The long bonnet looks imposing from side. The BMW trademark Corona Rings and projector headlamps are not available for the cheaper variant, it gets the standard halogen lamps with double barrel beams. X1 is around the same size as the 3 series sedan. Overall the X1 manages to look stylish but does not have the road presence of a SUV.

It comes with BMW trademark solid Build, though the doors do not close with as much reassuring thump but overall it feels it can easily take all the abuse our roads can throw. The Panel gaps are tight and Paint quality is excellent. At 1575 kg it weighs as much as a sedan of this size should, in comparison the 3 series sedan is around 130kgs lighter.

Even the cheaper CE version comes with 225/50R17 Run Flat Tires meaning there is no spare tire and replacement tools.


BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4749.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4754.jpg

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 16:09.
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:08   #3
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BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4750.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4751.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4758.jpg


The X1’s interiors too carry the traditional BMW design theme. Most of the parts like seats, steering, switchgear etc are all carried from the ageing 3 Series. The removal of the huge iDrive screen leaves a huge gap utilized as a small storage box with a lid. This CE variant gets the cheaper leather upholstery which does the job but does not feel rich, I find the leather too sticky making me sweat more than the standard leather.

Interior quality is a mixed bag here, all the equipment carried over from 3 series like the switchgear, the steering, the Climate control console, the Audio unit they all feel great. The upper part of the dashboard, AC vents etc are also nice but most other parts like the lower parts of the dashboard and other plastics do not feel as rich. Overall the cost cutting is evident, even Cabins of the cheaper cars like the VW Passat and Skoda Superb or even the Yeti have a richer feel. Fitting of all the penals is perfect.

The Front row has very good leg room with the seats which can pashed all the way back stretch the legs. For the front row the cabin feels airy with no intrusions. The Rear row in comparison feels tighter, with a six footer in the driving seat another six footer on the back the space becomes slightly tight. It has more space compared to the 3 series but loses out the other cars. The high transmission tunnel at rear makes it best suited for 4 passengers. The 420 litre boot is not as large as I guessed considering the absence of Spare tire. The seats can be folded flat to carry more luggage, they can even be split in 40/20/40 for flexibility.


Even the Cheaper CE variant gets electrically adjustable front seats, the Driver seat gets 2 memories which can also be set to the car keys. This version does not get Lumber and Thigh adjustment. I find the seats a bit too soft for my taste, the shape and size of seats is all great. Rear seats too are well set up, it is not too upright, the headrest is softer than other cars which feels like pillow Being higher set than than an average sedan it’s easier to get in and get out.

The seating position in the X1 is not as commanding as the other crossover but you sit higher than an average sedan, the seats height adjustment range good meaning you can pump it all the way up if want more of road view or some may like the lowest position with ‘In the seat feel’ instead of ‘on the seat’feel. The steering is manually adjustable for rack and reach with quite wide and usable range. The steering has controls for Audio and Bluetooth, the buttons are laid out well and are intuitive to use. The Meters carried over from the 3 series have the typical BMW look. MID does display FE in KPL. The variant has Auto headlamps and Auto Wipers.

Front and Side visibility is good but reversing it is a bit of pain, the parking sensors in this variant only have the audible warning, there is no display, in comparison the sensors in my Laura have better detection range and give out the info better. The huge convex mirrors have good coverage. The OVRMs can be electrically folded too.

The CE variant comes with Automatic Climate control with dual split zones. The rear passengers are not as lucky to have separate vents. The AC is quite strong and copes up well with Dilli ki Garmi. This variant has only single CD receiver, thankfully there is a USB port. The BMW professional audio HU sounds punchy with tight bass. The sound adjustments are limited, there is no adjustment for Midrange.



BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4759.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4748.jpg

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 16:09.
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:08   #4
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BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4723.jpg


X1 20d comes with the same 2000cc 4cylinder CRDI Diesel engine as the 320d. In this state of tune it makes 177bhp and 350nm torque, this gives this car a healthy power to weight ratio of 118bhp/tonne. This engine comes mated to the same 6 speed conventional Automatic gearbox as the 320d, the gearbox has all the standard modes PRNDS + Tiptronic. It does not come with paddle shifters in this variant.

Fire the engine with the Start/Stop button and the first impression you get not very good, a lot of vibrations filter through seats and steering, the IVRM can be spotted shaking, even the clatter is intruding. This same engine which feels super refined in the 520d sounds rough and louder with vibrations, the cost cutting in sound damping is clearly evident, the NVH does not suit the car of this price, even the 10L rupee Hyundai Verna feels more refined at certain revs especially at idle. Slot the gear selector in D and press the accelerator, the X1 starts pulling strongly from low revs, the torque convertor does a great job of entirely hiding the turbo lag. Power delivery is excellent all across the revv band especially the top end where the engine feels very comfortable and power stays all the way till the 5k redline. This is a Diesel that loves to be revved, the engine though sounds intrusive when accelerating hard. Expect this car to do 0-100 sprint in 8.5-9 secs.

The 6 speed Auto ‘box feels best in D mode, with light input it upshifts early and shifts are slow but very smooth. In D mode it downshifts without much effort, it requires more Accelerator input to maintain the pace compared to the DSG in my Laura which also adapts better to the driving style. The DS(Sport) mode is disappointing, here the ‘box holds the gears till redline and is more aggressive in downshifts but that’s all, the shifts continue to be as slow as in D mode and it still lacks the urgency to match the otherwise sporty character of the X1. Flick the gear lever into + or – and the ‘box goes into tip-tronic mode which is even more disappointing, this variant does not come with Paddle shifters, the gearbox takes it’s own sweet time for shifts which makes this a pointless exercise if you in mood for some fun. I got a good 12kpl for my driving which was a mix of city, open roads, sedate and flatout driving, expect this car to deliver 15-16kpl on highways, 10-11kpl in traffic.



BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4731.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4737.jpg


X1 comes with a steering so good that it entirely transforms the drive experience. The Steering is very well weighted, in fact I should call it really heavy but it is talkative, it starts conveying the road details(minus the shocks and bumps) from as low as 20-30kph, the feel is consistent right from center to full lock, the steering is so good that you can even feel what the rear is upto. But for the time when you in not in mood for fun this steering can be a pain, especially in basement parkings(you can entirely skip doing the Biceps in gym and concentrate on other excercises), at times it feels as heavy as non assisted steering. Ladies will absolutely hate this steering(except the petrolheads). Expect this steering to be swapped for EPS just like they did it for 3 Series, I am told even the BMW EPS is great.

If you Live for Drive, this is the car for you, it Likes to be Driven. Over the 3 Series the X1 comes with raised suspension, slightly more weight and more suspension travel but the core ingredients like Rear wheel drive and suspension setup remains same, so it does not compromise much of handling pleasure, yes it does not have body control as good as the 320d but it’s better than any other car in the segment. The grip levels with the sticky 225 section run flats are very good, even with the ESP off it does not misbehave. High speed stability is typical Euro affair.

Being tuned for handling and the convenience of Run flat tires show their downside with the Ride, the result is a very firm ride. The suspension has more travel than the 320d meaning it is slightly better at soaking roads but overall ride remains a mix of stiff jolts and bumpiness at rear, the bumpiness spoils the otherwise liveable stiff ride. At times when accelerating hard on uneven road(not broken roads) the DTC(traction control) light starts blinking because it gets bumpy and constantly one or the other rear tires get into air. When I switched back to my Laura the same roads which felt uncomfortable in X1 felt OK in Laura.

The 193mm GC may look great on paper but actually the front bumper is placed quite low(probably even lower than my Laura, need to check it with scale) so it cannot leave the tarmac, it surely is good worst of the speedbreakers even with full load but it cannot rival other crossovers.

With the 225 section tires and huge Discs all round the braking is as good as the Handling of the car. The pedal feel is great with no spoginess. The level of assistance is entirely subjective as it depends in what you are used to, to me it was similar to what I am used to with my Laura. This variant comes with all the safety equipment from the higher variant, meaning you get all the Airbags(I guess 6, maybe 8), ABS with EBD+ Brake Assist, Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Program etc . The European version got a 5 Star EuroNCAP Rating.



BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4742.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4744.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4745.jpg

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4728.jpg

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 21:13.
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:09   #5
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To sum it all, just like the 320d, the X1 is an excellent car for you if you love to drive. Compared to the 320d it has more Ground clearance, looks like a crossover, has more space and is a newer model. Pick the 320d if you are looking for a purer drive experience, better quality interiors, better refinement and better performance. Given a choice if would pick 320d over X1.

Avoid the above mentioned cars if Space and Comfort are a priority for you, the VW Passat and Skoda Superb may be better suited for you.

BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced-img_4740nr.jpg

I have left out lot of detail especially on the Interiors to keep the review short. i will keep updating this thread with more pictures, ownership experience and expenses.

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 16:02.
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:22   #6
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Default Re: BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

thank you for the detailed test drive. just yesterday saw X1 in dark grey and it looked fantastic.

if i would finally know where in india i am going to live for a while i surely would consider this car

Last edited by GTO : 21st July 2011 at 20:50. Reason: Correcting spelling. Please proof-read your posts before submitting
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:37   #7
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Thanks for that nice crisp uptight report of the X1.
Seems like a decent vehicle to use for the highway then. As it can get past bad road conditions with ease.
I remember on our last trip to Goa, there were 2 X1's which zoomed by. They were going together and keeping up with them was out of the question.
Got a chance to admire them at the next tollbooth though.
Overall for me, i would probably pick this over the 3.
but like you rightly mentioned if you are looking for generous space in the cabin. Look elsewhere.
Reading about the refinement levels too was a bit dissapointing. You pay a lot for the brand and the tech, and you expect a super quiet refined cabin.
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Old 21st July 2011, 15:56   #8
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Default Re: BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

Vow, thanks for the great review anshuman. I wish more of such exotic exchange offers could be made available between team-bhp members. I did look at the X1 before grabbing the Laura, but somehow it failed to appeal in any quarter. Completely second your comments on ride quality, gearbox and cabin plastics - was a complete let down.
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Old 21st July 2011, 16:30   #9
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Default Re: BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

Great, crisp review there .anshuman. It covers most of the aspects very well.
Just a few days ago, a blue X1 overtook our car at a traffic signal in Pune and it was awesome to say the least. It totally stood out from the other cars on the road and the alloys were the best I have seen on a car in India. Any idea how much they cost?! I hope we can convince a fellow bhpian to buy one, just for us to ogle at, if nothing else!
You know who you are and I am sure you will see this thread soon; it seems to be a very good fruit you know

I am surprised to hear about high NVH; this is not excusable for a car in this segment even if they are looking at having an audible grunt in the cabin.

I look forward to more pictures; I havent been able to spot that car again

Last edited by selfdrive : 21st July 2011 at 16:34.
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Old 21st July 2011, 16:50   #10
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Great, so the review that I was eagerly waiting for is up. Thanks Anshuman & it looks like you've pretty much convinced me except for the effect of the stiff ride on the rear seat passengers. Time for another TD methinks.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Fire the engine with the Start/Stop button and the first impression you get not very good, a lot of vibrations filter through seats and steering, the IVRM can be spotted shaking, even the clatter is intruding. This same engine which feels super refined in the 520d sounds rough and louder with vibrations,
And this is surprising - the one they brought over for a TD last Sunday had a very smooth idle, excellent NVH levels & the ORVMs were definitely not shaking! It was a higher end model but surely there cannot be that kind of difference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
But for the time when you in not in mood for fun this steering can be a pain, especially in basement parkings(you can entirely skip doing the Biceps in gym and concentrate on other excercises), at times it feels as heavy as non assisted steering.
How would you rate it as compared to a Scorpio or Safari steering - I did feel the heaviness at low speeds but it wasn't a deal breaker though
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Old 21st July 2011, 17:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post

And this is surprising - the one they brought over for a TD last Sunday had a very smooth idle, excellent NVH levels & the ORVMs were definitely not shaking! It was a higher end model but surely there cannot be that kind of difference?
If you compare it to your 3.0 DICOR it will feel good , my 10 lakh rupee cheaper(ex showroom comparison) Laura CR in comparison has better NVH(Passat and Superb get even better damping with the same engine). 520d with the same engine as X1 has no hint of Vibrations or clatter, 320d also is much better.

I have noticed vibrations at idle several times, it has a annoying GRRRR shaky feel which i would have ignored in a 10lakh rupee car.


Quote:
How would you rate it as compared to a Scorpio or Safari steering - I did feel the heaviness at low speeds but it wasn't a deal breaker though
I have not spent much time with Safari but Scorpio's steering is easier to live with. Heavy steering will not bother you much, i got used to it by second day.

Check if you can live with NVH and Ride.

Last edited by .anshuman : 21st July 2011 at 20:01.
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Old 21st July 2011, 17:09   #12
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Default Re: BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

Anshuman, the review timing could'nt have been better (for me). My query on the car to own has been made easier, thanks to this thread.

Nice crisp review there. I completely agree on the 'station wagon look' part though. Happened to have a look of the X1 from a distance, and it did actually feel like a station wagon, more than a cross over.

Do add a few interior pics, that would help me greatly. Thanks for this timely thread.

EDIT: Selfdrive, thanks for the subtle hints . I was actually looking forward to this, when Anshuman happened to mention the review on another thread.

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Old 21st July 2011, 17:26   #13
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Nice review of the 'affordable bimmer'

Its disappointing to see NVH characteristics on such an expensive car to be in sub 10 lakh category. Can't understand what category of buyer is targeted here. It is short on space, features, plush interiors etc... What it only seems to have is good dynamics and handling characteristics.

It seems like it can only appeal to the hardcore 'BMW handling' fan who is worried about the low GC on the 3 and 5 for Indian roads.

Is it worth diluting the brand for such an offbeat neither here nor there crossover?
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Old 21st July 2011, 17:39   #14
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Thats a great short review, but for once I didn't like the external appearance of a BMW. The bonnet seems to stretch miles ahead and all the cabin is disproportionately stacked on the chassis at the very backend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
I exchanged my Laura for a friend's X1 for a few days.
I wish I had friends like these!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Itís not as tall as any of the other crossovers in the market, itís slightly taller than an average Sedan, some taller cars like Suzuki SX4 are taller.
SX4 taller than this thing?!!
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Old 21st July 2011, 17:48   #15
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Default Re: BMW X1 20d CE: Joy Experienced

Hi Anshuman,
Great write up and gorgeous snaps.
Would be great if you could post a couple of snaps of the engine bay.

Six months ago, in Jan '11, when I was evaluating candidates for my new set of wheels, the X1 was also caught by the radar.
But the price, 2WD and the very soft and outlandish looks didn't find favour with me as I was looking for a true blue, rough and ready SUV.

Though I was rather impressed by the interior/s and its quality.

Last edited by Guderian : 21st July 2011 at 17:55.
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