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Old 10th November 2010, 17:08   #1
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Default First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)

(Disclaimer: pre production vehicle pictured. Features and equipment levels subject to change for India built CKD model.)

SEGMENT BUSTERS

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1348.jpg
BMW X1 xDrive 20D

Key specs:
  • 1995 cc, 4 cylinder in line
  • 16V DOHC CRDi diesel with variable nozzle turbo
  • power: 177 hp@4000 rpm
  • 350 nm torque@1750-3000 rpm
  • 17" wheels with 225/50 R17 runflat tyres (car pictured has 18" wheels with 225/40 R18 runflats)
  • 6 speed automatic transmission
Trim levels (20D):
  • CE
  • highline
Price band est for diesel:
  • 24-30 lakh INR.
First impressions:
  • A perfect blend of sedan, wagon and compact SAV blended into one practical package. Priced correctly, BMW has a potential winner in its hands.
(*PPP=Pre production prototype)

Last edited by sidindica : 10th November 2010 at 17:09.
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Old 10th November 2010, 17:15   #2
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Sid! you are the man!
Isnt this the same engine as in the 3 series? And would this have a better ride and space than the 3 Series?

Edit; seems it will.
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Old 10th November 2010, 17:20   #3
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MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1346.jpg

There are cars, and then there are cars which pretend to be cars. There are wagons and then there are vehicles that pretend to be wagons. And then there is this category of soft roaders, which shamelessly pretend to be SUVs which itself is an insult to SUVs.

OK, OK, enough of movie masala. Well, infact this masala of many items blend into one is catching the fancy of many automobile firms as they continue to create their segment of their own. Often unclassifiable, today's new breed of automobiles are fast catching fancy of potential buyers. Whether they contain added fruits, flavours or preservatives is anyone's guess left best to them but today's fast lane fashion demands vehicles which defy stereotype. And its these vehicles that are now proving to be more profitable to automakers than convectional designs.

Some examples include the CLS, the X6, the 5 series GT, the A7, A5 sportback, panamera, rapide and the car driven here, the all new BMW X1, stated to go on sale this December.

BMW claims that this car is perfect for Indian familes and those who want to step into the BMW ownership experiance, tom tomed by the promise of an "aggressive pricing strategy" and competent engine options and trim/ equipment levels. BMW wants to defy the stereotype again, like it did with the unconventionally designed, love it or hate it 530D GT.

Can it succeed? Read on to find out.
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Old 10th November 2010, 17:51   #4
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Design and engineering

Simply put, the X1 to an untrained eye is just a gussied up 3 series touring or a shrunken X3 SUV (sorry, SAV or sports activity vehicle as BMW wants us to call it).
The main purpose of this vehicle is to provide all the utility and practicality that the 3 series wagon is known for, in a package which mirrors the experiance to that of a small soft roader, or SAV in this case. The elevated driving position, available AWD (RWD is also available depending upon the market) and a larger overall size are all giveaway factors that this is not a wagon, but in fact a blend of wagon and an SAV.

Picture this: you want a vehicle looks and feels like an SAV but not interested in exploiting the full potential of the SAV, read off road driving. For that purpose, the X1 perfectly suits the bill. For a family of 4 or 5 people and decent amount of cargo, the car's high GC is perfectly suited for most Indian roads and requirements. utility and style have come togeher t create this blend of SAVagon (SAV plus wagon) thingy.

Pictures do not do this car justice. Its actually longer than what it appears to be and dark colours disguise its length pretty well, making it appear smaller. This particular unit had a dark brown paint with ivory white/ black interior combination and build, fit and finish is top notch, as what you expect from a new generation beemer, unlike the erstwhile E 30 based X3 which feels cheap.

The car rides on its own platform, derived from 1 series and 3 series chassis components and shares its suspension design from the 3 series touring but modified to adopt to the haldex (IIRC) based AWD system as seen here. To keep prices competitive, base models in EU are offered without AWD and so does this close to top end 20D model, which came equipped with AWD (and so the X-drive monicker.) Equipment levels and gasoline engine options are still undisclosed, but this 2.0 litre diesel will surely make it into our shores when CKD production starts anytime soon in BMW's plant in Chennai.

The diesel model, when launched, will be available in two variants-CE (Corporate edition) and highline, pictured here. 17" wheels and 16" wheels will be the visual difference (18" wheels will NOT be provided in the interests of ride quality), and so will be the various equipment levels. I expect the CE to be stripped of features like a sunroof, iDrive, CD changer and USB port (only a single CD ad aux-in will be provided), leather grade and diferent wheel designs etc. Only closer to launch date will exact prices and equipment levels be known, but expect an aggressive pricing as BMW targets young aspiring individuals, most of whom will be new to BMW brand.
So, anywhere between 24-29/30 lakh INR seems very likely.

As with all beemers, runflat tyres will be standard and stepney will NOT be provided, though a space saver seems a possibility.

Coming to the design, this is the better looking of the X series BMWs, pretty convectional design which will please all, but excite only maybe a few. I think that this brown colour suits this vehicle the best. 6-7 other colours are scheduled to be available, this one included.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1346.jpg
front end looks pretty aggressive and curvy with huge BMW twin kidney grills dominating. Steel skidplate wth contrast black bumper housings look pretty contemporary and is essential to protect the paint from scratches in case of mild off roading.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1347.jpg
front 3/4 view is pleasing, 18" wheels could be made optional as part of personalization kit. wheel design exudes aggression and gives the car tremendous character. Xenons with washers standard on high line. CE gets halogens. Daytime corona rings standard.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1348.jpg
Side profile is a shrunken and curvier X3. looks pretty neatly balanced. panoramic sunroof optional.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1345.jpg
A close up look. Actually longer than its design suggests. Dark paint , character line and window belt line neatly designed and cleverly disguises visual bulk. Steel side skid plate looks classy and contrasts well.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1344.jpg
Mix of a hatch and a wagon. Striking LED taillights.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1343.jpg
Rear end shouts a mix of a hatch and a wagon. Looks pretty curvy and feminine. Rear steel skid plate aimed at convincing people that this is an "SAV".

Last edited by sidindica : 10th November 2010 at 17:52.
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Old 10th November 2010, 17:51   #5
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Oh Lord. Look at those alloys.
Absolute beauties.
I want them.

The car looks so so. My 2 cents.
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Old 10th November 2010, 18:02   #6
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Tell me Sid, how do get all these scoops?

Anyway, is it a 4wd/AWD? What are its other specifications? GB, FE, GC, acc figures etc?
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Old 10th November 2010, 18:53   #7
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Wow Sid thanks for the post on X1. I was eagerly awaiting some info on this SAV. Hopefully my next car Insha Allah. I have set my mind on this.

Some interior pics and first driving impressions?

Cheers. thanks again.
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Old 10th November 2010, 19:01   #8
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Interiors, space and comfort:

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1336.jpg

Climb inside and you are greeted with a familiar dashboard with design, bits and pieces from the 3 sedan and the 1 series coupe. There is nothing ground breaking about the design itself, its typical BMW logic, where function follows over form. Fit and finish are of very high quality, this being an import, and expect the Indian built models to have similar Q levels given the low level of local content used.
The dashboard is tilted towards the driver and has a 4" screen to show the vehicle's function controlled via the i-drive controller. A MID, push button engine start/stop and a trip computer of course,are standard. AC vents for the rear were not provided on this car.
Only the HL will get an iDrive, not the CE.

BMW owners will feel instantly at home and will appreciate the sheer simplicity of the interior layout. Sit at the driver's seat and you will enjoy a panoramic view of the road ahead, a result of the elevated driving position over the sedan. The seats, though firm are pretty comfy with optimised lower back support, though under thigh support can be better. As with typical RHD teutonic cars, the driver side footwell is pretty cramped, but pedal placement is better, as a result of the RWD design and transmission tunnel which is also designed to accomodate the optional AWD system. Headroom is amazing, even for a six footer, but finding a perfect driving position will take pretty much of your time depending upon leg size. Short and medium drivers will leave no room for complaints but tall drivers, surely will complain for legroom shortage.
In contrast the front passenger enjoys tremendous space up front, part due to the dashboard design and its placement. The seats have pretty long travel and finding optimized leg space is not that difficult.
Seats are powered (donno about the memory dunction-maybe an oversight) and the layout is ergonomically sound with all controls falling easily onto the hand.
Plastic quality is amazing and save for some small HVAC controls and buttons mounted on the door, the overall ambiance is better than a C class, whose hard dashboard plastics can be deal breakers.

Come onto the rear and things get only better, with the long wheelbase aiding more legroom over the 3 sedan which is immediately noticeable. I was comfortable with a 5"9 passenger sitting in front of me, though I will reserve my comments for taller drivers until a full report comes up soon. Cushioning is good but comfort could have been better. The biggest drawback is the low placement of the seats, which will be comfy for short and medium persons, but not for taller persons like me. the low H point compromises comfort but thigh support makes things better at least. Width for three persons is OK but only if they are phat, not fat. If latter situation arises, a third is a strict no-no as limited shoulder space will mar comfort. The central hump due to transmission tunnel is again very high and the rear seats is again good for two at best.

Boot space with seats folded is good for a vehicle of this size and can easily carry the 4 person's travel baggage. For added flexibility, the rear seats fold 40:20:40. The loading sill is not high, aiding easy luggage load. No, the tailgate is not split either unlike the X5.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1337.jpg
Console tilted towards the driver. Note idrive controller and USB/aux-in placed below the HVAC controls. Bluetooth standard on HL, not CE.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1338.jpg
this model was equipped with harmon/kardon speakers; wood finish looks amazing and HQ, front passenger enjoys amazing space.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1339.jpg
Panoramic sunroof could be optional for HL, or may not be provided. Instead, a convectional sunroof will be standard on HL. CE deletes sunroof.
Looks upscale, aids a level of airiness into the cabin and gives a fantastic visibility though.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1341.jpg
Driver legroom OK but tall passengers will feel cramped. Pedal placement good.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1340.jpg
Legroom improvement at rear immediately noticeable. rear seats placed low; only good for two at best; note high transmission tunnel hump due to AWD mechanism.

First Drive: BMW X1 xDrive 20D (PPP)-photo1342.jpg
boot space with seats folded; will swallow 4 passenger luggage.

Last edited by sidindica : 10th November 2010 at 19:17.
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Old 10th November 2010, 19:12   #9
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From the pics it looks like there are no rear AC vents, atleast at knee level. Is that so?
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Old 10th November 2010, 19:43   #10
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The heart of the matter:

The X1 is powered by the same 2.0D I-4 as that of the 320D, tuned in to produce 177 hp@4000 rpm and 350 nm torque@1750-3000 rpm mated to a variable vane turbo. Press the start button (no keyless GO), kewl, and refinement at idle is decent, like a typical German 4 banger.
Vibrations are well muted and cannot be felt inside the cabin. Engine noise is well damped and controlled and passengers will not felt irritated. With the limitations of a short first drive, the engine's full potential cannot be exploited but for daily use in typical delhi traffic, its very well caliberated. turbo lag is kept to a minimum and the turbo make its presence felt from as low as 1500 rpm, the rate at which 90 percent of peak torque could be felt. Slot the close ratio 6 speed into D and the gear ratios are perfectly calibrated to suit the torque characteristics of this motor. Performance in the city is very competent and the transmission is not hesitent to downshift if additional power is needed. Some jerkiness can be felt (just by the driver) but the shifts are smooth and well calibrated. City driving is a breeze and despite the limited power band, the torque makes much work of your right foot easier. While driving, you'd be hard pressed to tell whats under the hood and refinement only improves with speed, barring some excessive tyre noise thanks to ultra low 40 profile RFTs.
If city driving is a breeze, wait till you hit an open road. This car can waft you to three digit speeds without fuss and can get addictive. While not much of highway driving was involved, the mid range is particularly strong and though power tapers of after 3800 rpm, its best to keep the motor between 1500-3500 rpm to extract the maximum potential. No point revving beyond 4000, though she will rev to 5200 rpm without any fuss. Overtaking is a breeze and the car is effortless to pilot despite the size. Perfect engine chosen for India. The 5t and 6th automatic gears feature an in built overdrive and will surely make mile munching a child's play.

The 'box also features a tip-tronic style manual mode which can be used if you want to shift gears manually. Just push the lever to the left to operate and push to forward (+) or backward (-) to select the desired gears. Shift paddles were not equipped in this car but expect BMW to provide tham on HL version, though its too early to comment on its availability.

Ride and handling:

Ride with 18" RFTs is obviously not a X1 strength. 40 profile tyres means ride can be bone jarring on extremely rough roads and road noise can be felt throughout, especially at the rear. BMW will tweak the suspension and equip its Indan models with 16" wheels (CE) and 17" wheels (HL) which will see a considerable improvement at the ride. the AWD system was not put to test so I will again not comment on it, but the high ground clearance is a boon on rough and potholed filled Delhi roads. Not once did the car scrape its underbelly though it seemed that the alloys can break apart if driven rashly. Suspension, being a german import, is obvously stiff but expect some softer suspension settings if BMW is also targeting chauffeur driven owners.

The steering is again an EPS, as part of BMW efficient dynamics programme, but this is one of the better calibrated units. Superlight at zero parking speeds but the feel improves as speeds increase, though its not that much of a difference. Handling was not tested to the limit but expect this car to drive at least better than the 5 series, considering the weight and alterations needed due to AWD system.

Braking, again, is fantastic and the front and rear discs with 4 channel ABS doing their job perfectly. Should anything go wrong, the DSC (Dynamic stability control-ESP) and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) should keep things in check. All round airbags are standard.
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Old 10th November 2010, 19:59   #11
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excellent scoop-review sid!!! unmatched!!

i was just wondering why the X1s have not made to India yet. and actually i was drooling over those super-cool, gorgeous alloys.
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Old 10th November 2010, 20:02   #12
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Summing it up:

BMW plans to launch the X1 by mid to end December, with first deliveries scheduled to begin from early 2011. Based on concept and whats on paper, it promises to create an entirely new segment of its own, for those lifestyle seekers who want the prestige of a sedan with he utility of a wagon and the flexibility of a soft roader. So, what does it intend to achieve?

Talk about breaking away from ordinary, defying stereotypes and if the initial bookings is anything to go by, BMW has a winner. Minor faults aside, if BMW fine tunes the final production versions, this has the potential to be BMW India's best seller and coupled with excellent quality of BMW after sales service and BSI packages, you are assured peace of mind.

Impressed? why not? after all, your neighbour has just purchased a 3 series sedan and you will be tempted to show him/ her that who's the boss...or could be that guy in the X5 is finding it difficult to find a decent parking space and you go and merrily park it without any fuss, thanks to its compact foot print. Whatever it is, its yet another "segment buster" from BMW poised to bring back BMW to the number 1 slot in the luxury car market.

First mover advantage? Yes.
Time for Audi to get that Q3? Yes.

Talk about multiple personality disorder? Yes.
Let the games begin.
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Old 10th November 2010, 20:26   #13
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perrrfect!!

what sizes are those wheels featured in the pics! you've mentioned that we'll get only 16 and 17 inchers. that means the one featured (assuming it to be 18 inchers) would not be available? that would be sad
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Old 10th November 2010, 20:46   #14
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Great review, Sid!

I must say the car looks striking, if not anything else. I'd spotted a X1 today on Airport Road. It is long, but in terms of overall size, I'd compare it to a Hyundai Tucson at best. It looks a little disproportionate if I'm honest. The front over-hang is longer and very un-BMWish. The nose/bonnet is too long for the rest of the car's length. This is noticeable in the 2nd picture of the 4th post in this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post

Boot space with seats folded is good for a vehicle of this size and can easily carry the 4 person's travel baggage. For added flexibility, the rear seats fold 40:20:40. The loading sill is not high, aiding easy luggage load. No, the tailgate is not split either unlike the X5.

boot space with seats folded; will swallow 4 passenger luggage.
So with seats in the upright position, what would the boot-space be, roughly? Do you think it's 400 litres or so? In that case, it should be able to take in 4 medium-sized suitcases comfortably!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post

Ride with 18" RFTs is obviously not a X1 strength. 40 profile tyres means ride can be bone jarring on extremely rough roads and road noise can be felt throughout, especially at the rear. BMW will tweak the suspension and equip its Indan models with 16" wheels (CE) and 17" wheels (HL) which will see a considerable improvement at the ride.
It's expected, and understandable. 16" wheels are the most practical option, 17" would be a good compromise and 18" would be simply too large, unless you know your exact route and confident that the roads aren't going to decimate them. Although, those 18" look absolutely delicious!

But will it be available with only run-flats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
the high ground clearance is a boon on rough and potholed filled Delhi roads. Not once did the car scrape its underbelly
Now that's a huge plus-point. Those who are looking at buying a BMW but settling for a cross-over like the CR-V/X-Trail just because of GC issues would be happy with this fact. There are several people who buy cross-overs fearing that sedans are two low for our moon-surface-like roads. Especially those who dream of buying a BMW and can look at only a 3er, the key factor being the price.
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Old 10th November 2010, 20:58   #15
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Thanks for sharing the report
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Coming to the design, this is the better looking of the X series BMWs, pretty convectional design which will please all, but excite only maybe a few.
In fact I think this is one of the most unconventional styling
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post

boot space with seats folded; will swallow 4 passenger luggage.
Probably you meant 'seat up'?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica View Post
Handling was not tested to the limit but expect this car to drive at least better than the 5 series, considering the weight and alterations needed due to AWD system.
Better then 5 series?! It is relatively a taller vehicle. Also, how would the part time AWD (which comes in to play only when there is a slip) makes it a better handler?
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