BMW X1 xDrive 20d

Sport

BMW X1, front
BMW X1, rear
BMW X1, side
BMW X1 2015, boot
BMW X1 2015, interior
BMW X1 2015, side
BMW X1 2015, rear
BMW X1 2015, front

DESPITE clocking up sales in excess of 700,000 there always seemed room for BMW's X1 to be improved.

The launch of the second generation model offered the opportunity and the Germans took it turning a duckling with issues into the Sports Activity Vehicle equivalent of a swan.

When launched in 2009 it was based on the 3 Series Touring model so lacked the king of the road elevated driving position these types of cars thrive on while also suffering with tight hatchback proportions leaving it vulnerable to more spacious upright rivals.

That is banished with the latest incarnation however, which is both taller and wider than the previous version.

It means this X1 is a good-looker with a spacious cabin and great visibility from behind the natty steering wheel.

There's almost an ‘I've been driving you all my life' feeling about this Beemer as you quickly feel at home with the car seeming to anticipate your every need with the flat surfaces of the instrument panel and centre console controls angled towards the driver.

It is a pleasure whether you're on a motorway or a country track with the xDrive models featuring the intelligent all-wheel drive system that alternates power between front and rear as required.

This gives a confidence-inspiring amount of grip which, allied to sharp steering, makes taking on winding lanes a real thrill.

The ride is firm but comfortable with the X1's excellent suspension settings handling with aplomb the many humps and hollows littering the roads these days.

You can set the motor to suit your preferred driving style using the Driving Experience Control switch on the centre console. Choose from Comfort, Sport or Eco Pro modes at the touch of a button to alter the settings of the accelerator pedal, gearbox, damper settings and steering.

The 20d diesel engine - linked to a super slick eight-speed automatic gearbox - is both powerful and frugal zipping from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds while achieving an average fuel consumption figure in excess of 50mpg.

Other engines in the range include the front-wheel drive only 18d sDrive, the powerful 25d and the petrol fed 20i

All models get lots of kit including 17-inch alloy wheels and satellite navigation while the Sport model I drove offers bigger rims and contrasting stitching.

Other goodies include dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel, front fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, electric windows, automatic headlight control, remote-controlled central locking and keyless engine ignition, plus electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors.

Numerous optional extras are available - such as the Navigation Plus package featuring a head-up display and real-time traffic information I found useful. But be warned, costs can quickly spiral if you over-indulge. Additional equipment on my test car takes the final price-tag north of £40,000.

The interior is modern and well-styled offering plenty of room for driver and passengers - especially in the back where there's space for a six-foot adult to reside comfortably behind a tall driver.

The boot is roomy providing 505-litres of room expanding to 1,550-litres thanks to a rear seat bench with three-section backrest that can be split and folded flat with the simple tug of a strap.

Other neat ideas include an automatic tailgate with a button that allows the rest of the car to be locked when you shut the bootlid and a centre panel that drops down between the two rear-seat passengers to reveal a handy tray and cup holders.

FAST FACTS

BMW X1 xDrive 20d Sport

Price:£31,550

Mechanical:190bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:137mph

0-62mph:7.6 seconds

Combined MPG:58.9

Insurance Group:29

C02 emissions:128g/km

Bik rating:23%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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