Home Automotive Testing BMW’s entry-level SAV—the X1 sDrive18d xLine

Testing BMW’s entry-level SAV—the X1 sDrive18d xLine

I still remember my drive of the very first BMW X1 (codenamed E84), not so much for the car, but for its distinctive and beautifully named color, Marrakesh Brown. That was way back in 2009.

Which makes it almost amazing that the X1, after 11 years, is just on its second generation (F48 to Bimmer fans)—albeit a newly facelifted one. Chalk it up to the current car’s gimmick-free styling that’s kept it looking fresh over the years since its 2015 introduction. Of course, the recent styling refresh has gone a long way, too. The new sleeker quad headlamps and the upsized twin-kidney grille bring it right up to date with the brand’s bold and increasingly controversial new fascia design. But with the X1 being one of the brand’s entry-level models (it was actually the bestselling BMW worldwide in 2018 with almost 290,000 units sold), don’t expect it—yet—to wear the love-it-or-hate-it huge grille like the ones on its recent high-end siblings.  

The latest model update makes the X1 an even more desirable proposition. Key to its new appeal are pronounced design revisions, a high level of versatility, and a host of cutting-edge features. Under the smooth large hood, meanwhile, is a powerful yet extremely efficient four-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo engine. 

The new X1 exudes a more assertive aura up the front. The larger BMW grille – the kidneys now merging in the center – links up with the new LED headlights including sharper light iconography and a bumper with larger air intakes. At the rear end, a new inlay in the rear apron adopts the car’s main body color. 

Another highlight can be found on the driver’s side mirror, which projects a two-tone LED “X1” image when the car is unlocked. This is far from just a visual trick; it also makes getting in and out of the BMW X1 that much easier. The attractive new design of the X1 is further enhanced by two gorgeous colors – Alpine White and Black – and 18-inch Y-spoke light alloy wheels with 225/50R-18 runflat tires. 

Inside, the X1 cements its strengths of having a well-crafted, spacious and versatile interior with an increased number of smart, functional features. High-quality standards are evident in the new contrast stitching on the instrument panel, which is black on its upper section and adopts the color of the interior upholstery lower down. The black, high-gloss interior trim is combined with pearl chrome inserts, and the standard Sensatec upholstery provides a comfortable and pleasurable experience. 

One of the highlights of the X1’s interior is the Control Display, a centrally mounted 6.5-inch screen that can be operated using the BMW iDrive Controller. The Control Display represents the ideal platform on which to explore the X1’s richly varied infotainment offering and accesses the digital services from BMW ConnectedDrive. Additionally, rear passengers get the extra convenience of two USB-C ports located near the rear ventilation for charging convenience. 

The remarkable versatility of the BMW X1 is not confined to all things digital; its interior can also be adapted to individual requirements. The reasonably spacious rear seats (from a 2,670mm wheelbase) can be folded down in three sections (40:20:40) and, as an option, slide forward by up to 13 cm. Automatic tailgate operation and Comfort Access raise convenience levels another notch. All things considered, the X1’s cabin presents a truly luxurious ambience that belies the car’s entry-level position in the brand’s lineup.   

All BMW engines now meet the highest EU6d-temp emissions standards. The X1 sDrive18d xLine is equipped with a smooth and silent 150hp/350Nm 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The power generated by the efficient yet energetic four-cylinder engine is translated via cutting-edge front-wheel drive into dynamic performance on the road. Yes, you read the last sentence right. Our sDrive18d test unit is front-wheel drive; only xDrive models get all-wheel drive. But it still comes packed with the Bavarian company’s usual alphabet soup of safety and driver-assist technologies, too many to list here. 

Living up to the brand, the suspension of the X1 provides fleet-footed agility familiar to customers, delivering precise handling and imbues the car with sublime overall dynamics—while still delivering a smooth, supple ride. Acceleration is nothing to write home about (BMW claims a 0-100 km/h run in 9 seconds. But it’s not standing-start acceleration that this crossover was designed for. Thanks to the generous 350Nm of torque and the 8-speed tranny, at-speed acceleration (i.e. overtaking other cars) is a piece of cake. Top speed is a highly academic 205 km/h. 

The BMW X1 sDrive18d xLine is priced at Php 3,090,000 and is available in the two handsome colors of Alpine White and Black—although we wish more playful color options (or at least more colors, period) were available. The X1 is targeted at a younger, less conservative audience, after all. All BMWs now come with a 5-year or 200,000-kilometer manufacturer’s warranty – a new standard in the premium automotive segment in the Philippines.

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Manny de los Reyes
Manny de los Reyes has been covering the automotive and technology industries for over 25 years. He is a multiple award-winning journalist who has been writing for the Philippine Star for 20 years and has been its motoring editor since 2012.


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