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The X1 is the best seller in the BMW range and we decided to live with the car for a while to see if it is truly a step above. We have previously driven the X1 but this time we planned to stretch its legs and also use it everyday. Our test car was the diesel version. If anything like our first drive, the X1 has its looks as its biggest plus point. It simply looks bigger than rivals and the edgy styling is such a big change over the earlier crossover like design. It looks premium too and has presence, which is a big deal while not exactly having a huge grille like its siblings. Infant sitting on 18 inch wheels, you may confuse it with an X3! Everything feels top notch and it is solidly built as well.



The interiors though represent an even bigger change. It feels different and the floating centre console to the vertical smartphone wireless charging to the slim vents- its very premium. This is the entry level luxury SUV but no corners have been cut with metal/leather and soft touch finishes all across the cabin. We liked the metallic detailing on the doors too. The touchscreen isn’t as big as the bigger BMWs but the twin screen layout is crisp and the touch response for the centre screen is slick. But then it better be as physical buttons have been removed. The climate control functions are for example on the touchscreen and even after two weeks, I did not get used to it. 


Some bits that we liked over the course of two weeks included the rear camera, despite not being a 360 degree one, is very clear and the Harman Kardon Audio system has a nice sound quality with 12 speakers. Some other features we appreciated were massage seats, reclining and sliding rear seats, a big panoramic sunroof and more. That said, ventilated seats, an HUD and a 360 degree camera is needed since much cheaper cars offer this feature these days. Rear seat space is excellent though and much better than rivals with good comfort- you can take 3 passengers here, unlike rivals. Taking it for a road trip, the 476l boot came in handy too.

In terms of powertrains, there has been some downsizing especially with a smaller turbo petrol engine and even our test car- the 2.0l diesel has less power than the earlier diesel X1. But, does the new X1 feel slow? Not at all. The gearbox is superb and it feels plenty quick with enough power when you want. It has the trademark diesel punch and that helps it in being a comfortable cruiser but what has changed is the new refinement at low speeds with less of the diesel clatter spilling inside. 


Only when pushed hard do you feel the need for more power but the handling along with the driving experience are all top class. It feels the sportiest that a BMW should be and the way you sit to the steering wheel or even the way it handles- it entertains the driver, despite being a front wheel drive car! There is no AWD option which we think should be added and the petrol is also more down on power while we have not yet driven it. Efficiency is fantastic though and in the low teens with the official figure being near 20 kmpl. The diesel X1 has a stop-start system which we think is aggressive while you need to get deep down in the menu to turn it off!

The new X1 diesel in its top spec form is above 50 lakh but where you can see its popularity is with the size, looks, quality and more comfort over the earlier one. Yes, it does not have as much power as the earlier one but now it looks and feels more premium, which is what buyers want and the interior does feel special. Thus, the new X1 diesel is a much better car than before and appeals to more customers, hence the sales! 

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