Motor Mouth: We drive BMW’s X-1, xDrive, 25i Steptronic

To the power of x: We drive BMW’s X-1, xDrive, 25i Steptronic
Don’t upstage the boss
New X-1 highlights:

Front view

Front view

• More power and torque for 20i, 20d models
• New 1500 cc three cylinder engine for 18i models
• 25i replaces 28i: 10 kW less power but same torque
• More head- and leg room
• 85 litres more luggage space
The 25i version of BMW’s X-1 can, at present, only be had with xDrive and eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Should you wish to personalise your little fabric-upholstered X-wagon, then packs on offer include xLine, Sport Line and M Sport. Our test car had the R24 000 xLine pack fitted.
That gets you combination cloth and leather upholstery in Granite Brown with black accents, interior trim strips in high gloss black with accent strips in Pearl Gloss chrome, matt aluminium bars on the grille, and matt silver accents for the air intakes, side skirts and underbody protectors. Is part-leather upholstery and some different coloured trim worth R24 000? Only you can decide.
Appearance-wise the new car has a more prominent grille, new head lights and a new lower valance with larger air intakes. At the back, the tailgate has been redesigned with new tail lamps, a reshaped spoiler with high-level brake light and a redrawn lower diffuser. Inside, the dash is completely new with a vertical information screen, new vents, redesigned ventilation and music controls, new steering wheel, reshaped centre console and an electrically powered parking brake.
While the new body is the same length as the old, it’s 32 mm wider and 53 mm taller. Repackaging permits higher seating positions (+36 mm in front and +64 in the back) without sacrificing headroom. Our tall backseat driver gave it a solid eight out of ten.

 

Interior

Interior

Knee room increased by between 37- and 66 mm, depending on how far through its adjustment range of about 13 cm the back seat is moved. The same passenger rated maximum knee space at “eleven out of ten” and foot room under the fully lowered driver’s chair a solid ten. Luggage volume grew by 85 litres to 505, while the seatbacks fold 40:20:40 to provide a load-through hatch should you need one. Naturally each segment shifts fore and aft, and its seatback reclines, independently.
The flat cargo floor is easy to reach, being only 66 centimetres above ground level. A light, a 12-volt socket, two bag hooks, six lashing rings, a pair of side wells for small objects, a full-width pull down handle and remote release tabs for the rear chair backs all make life easier. First aid kit, triangle, tools, cargo net and spacesaver spare are all under the floorboard.
BMW states that the new X-1’s body has been made stronger and more rigid while gaining only 40 kg in weight. This, along with reworked all-wheel drive and improved chassis technology make it handle less like an SUV (sorry, SAV) and more like a BMW saloon. We certainly had no complaints. Its dirt road behaviour was excellent too.
Comments from the front seat: Both are electrically adjustable but only the driver gets a pair of memory settings. Computer controls are as before with rotating controller and buttons, but it’s unfortunate that some functions are difficult to find. It’s possibly time to upgrade that vertical tablet to a touch screen. We’re used to electric tabs for parking brakes, but this one neither set nor released itself as those on many cheaper cars do. Guess we’ve been spoiled.
Three driving modes providing EcoPro for softer and more economical reactions, Comfort for daily driving and Sport for more aggressive use, were fun to play with but Comfort, the default setting, works well all the time. The stick-shifting manual override on Steptronic enables sportier driving although paddles are provided too. The car loafs along at about 2000 rpm at 120 km/h in eighth gear; with easy roll-on acceleration thanks to its superwide and flat torque band that begins at only 1250 rpm.
Summing up: It’s a BMW so it’s well put together and it charges like a platoon of Sturmtruppler. There’s more usable space than before and it handles better. It’s probably as much SAV as you’ll ever need, so why waste money on something with a bigger, fancier-sounding, number? Oh, of course: clubhouse bragging rights.
With the money saved, however, could buy more fuel and get more face time with the boss; where it counts, out on the golf course. And she’d appreciate you not trying to upstage her bigger X-wagon.

The rear view

The rear view

 

Test car from BMW SA press fleet
The numbers:
Basic price including CO2 tax: R633 180 – 60
Engine: 1998 cc, DOHC 16-valve, twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder
Power: 170 kW between 5000 and 6000 rpm
Torque: 350 Nm between 1250 and 4500 rpm
Zero to 100 km/h: 6.5 seconds
Maximum speed: 235 km/h
Real life fuel consumption: About 9.5 l/100 km
Tank: 61 litres
Luggage: 505 – 1550 litres
Ground clearance: 183 mm
Maximum towing mass (braked): 2000 kg
Warranty and maintenance plan: 5 years / 100 000 km

Words by Gordon Hall
Exterior pics by BMW-presse, Interior by author