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First drive: 40 MPG 2010 BMW X1 xDrive20d - VIDEO ENHANCED
BMW enters premium compact segment right in time
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
LEIPZIG - September 26, 2009: Last year at the Paris auto show, when BMW
unveiled the X1 Concept, we got a good view on what to expect of the future
production model. Right now it rolls off the assembly line and a couple of
days ago, I could drive the X1 xDrive20d, a mouth full indeed, but
that’s what it’s called.
It was still too early for a test drive with the xDrive28i with the
six-cylinder engine. At the moment, the xDrive28i is the only model
confirmed to arrive on the North American market in the 2011 calendar year,
but in which month is not clear yet.
With the new X1, that BMW calls an SAV sports activity vehicle,
just like the X5 and X3, the Germans are entering the competitive premium
As the name indicated, the X1 is smaller than the X3 and somewhat
bigger than the 1 Series Coupe. With a 4 inches longer wheelbase than of
the 1 Series, it is 3.5 inches longer, 5.5 in. taller and 2 in. wider, but
it is still not large.
On the outside the new crossover (between an SUV and a station
wagon) benefits from the extra inches with more balanced and sporty look
than both the 1 Series and the X3. Of course, the interior space is
somewhat less than that of the X3. I always try to sit ‘behind my own
steering position and there is still ample space for my legs, which means
that somebody some 5 inches taller than my own 5 ft 6 will still be o.k.
while there will also still be enough head room.
Click PLAY to watch video
The capacity of the luggage compartment of 14.8 cu.ft. can be
extended to 4.6 cu.ft by folding the rear seats flat. Under the floor is
storage space of some about 2 inches high, that can be formed into smaller
sections by the optional divider.
Anyone, who has driven a new BMW lately will immediately feel at
home, when entering the X1’s cockpit. The layout is familiar, the
dashboard and center console have well placed controls and the materials
are of a high quality. As we know from the new BMW models, also the X1 has
standard equipment with 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, height-adjustable
driver and front passenger seats, a leather steering wheel, Harman/Kardon
audio system with Aux-in connections for external audio.
Front and side airbags as well as side head curtain airbags for the
front and rear seats are also standard. All seats have automatic seat
belts, up front with belt force limiters and a belt latch tensioner. Also
ISOFIX child seat fastening points for the rear seats come as standard. All
occupant restraint systems are controlled by the X1’s central safety
electronics. As with the other BMW Series, also the X1 gets extensive
optional equipment. For full details I refer to the BMW x1 ARTICLE (Includes Video) The Auto
Channel published earlier this summer .
xDrive and sDrive
The X1 is the first X-model that BMW offers with both xDrive
all-wheel drive and with sDrive rear wheel drive. That makes a lot of
sense, as mostly owners in warmer climates will not need an all-wheel drive
vehicle. During bad weather and road circumstances, the standard DSC,
including ABS, ASC, DBC, DTC and Performance Control will be able to keep
the car in the right track.
In Europe, the X1 sDrive will be available as the 18i and 18d and
20d, with 150, 143 and 177 hp respectively. The xDrive models come with a
choice of three diesel engines, the 18d, 20d 23d and one gasoline motor,
The only model available for the States will be the xDrive28i with
the 3.0-liter straight-six motor, that has 258 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque
between 2,600 and 3,000 rpm. This should be able to accelerate from 0-62
mph in 6.8 seconds and offer a top speed of 205 km/h or 127 mph (230 km/h
or 143 mph with optional high-speed set-up). BMW claims its fuel economy to
be 9.4 liter per 100 km or 25 mpg for the combined cycle.
Our 177 hp strong 2.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine has a
turbocharger with variable intake geometry and common-rail fuel injection.
Two-liter may look relatively small for the 3,470 lbs weight of the X1. But
the high torque (258 lb-ft), typical for a diesel, gives it enough power to
make the X1 respond willingly and quickly to pressure on the throttle,
especially in the range from 1,750 to 3,000 rpm, at which its maximum
torque is available.
The X1 xDrive20d automatic accelerates in 8.6 seconds from zero to
96 mph and reaches a top speed of 127 mph. The nearly 200 lbs lighter
sDrive20d should complete the sprint even faster: in 8.1 seconds. You will
have to take it for granted we did not verify these numbers on the two lane
roads of our German test route. Nor could we reach the top speed on the
Autobahn close to Leipzig with its long stretch of 120 km/h (75 mph) limit.
The X1 is equipped with EfficientDynamics technology, such as brake
energy regeneration and a detachable a/c compressor, plus a newly developed
power divider with optimized efficiency for the xDrive all-wheel-drive
system. For our xDrive 20d the measures result in an average fuel
consumption (in the European cycle) of 5.8 liters/100 kilometer, or 40.5
On and off
Even though the X1 is not a large car, it has a long bonnet, but the
higher seating position makes you feel in control with a good view on the
road. The rear window, however, provides a more restricted view and in
combination with the wide C-pillar makes parking along the curb, or backing
up more difficult.
Upon returning the test car we realized that the X1 is the first all-wheel
drive model that neither my colleague nor I drove off road. Our test road
simply did not offer us any opportunity. But soft off-roading should not be
a problem and with a ground clearance of 6.6 inches the X1 must be able to
drive on dirt trails and through shallow ditches.
On the road the X1 drives well, feels stable and turns into corners
with enthusiasm. You do not notice a trace of it’s all-wheel drive
that provides good grip. During the emergency lance-change exercise, the
car showed little body roll and was easy and fast to maneuver back to its
own lane without any resistance. Steering is precise and quick enough for
an all-wheel drive, weighty car. In short, the X1 is a well executed, fun
and easy to drive vehicle, with the right size for the cramped European
roads and parking spaces. In the US it is perfectly suited for urban
driving, while it will offer enough comfort for the long haul as well.
Just in time
BMW seems to hit the nail on the head again with the launch of a
complete new model with the right size at the right time.
The Bavarians realized at the start of the financial crisis that the X1 would meet the
need for down sizing and fuel efficiency and speeded up the development
time of the X1 by 40 per cent.
This was possible because the Leipzig plant,
where the X1 is built, is not only brand new – it started production
in march 2005 – but also very flexible. It builds the 3 series sedan,
1 series three-door, coupe and convertible and now the X1. All models leave
the assembly line in a mixed sequence. It enables BMW to match demand of
the markets in an optimal way without running the risk of over