BMW X1 xDrive23i M

Sport

BMW X1, 2023, front, action
BMW X1, 2023, front, static
BMW X1, 2023, nose
BMW X1, 2023, side
BMW X1, 2023, interior
BMW X1, 2023, centre console
BMW X1, 2023, rear seats
BMW X1, 2023, tail
BMW X1, 2023, rear, action
BMW X1, 2023, rear, static
BMW X1, 2023, boot

DESPITE its undeniable popularity, I wasn't a huge fan of the original BMW XI launched in 2009 so I approached the latest third-generation model with some trepidation.

I needn't have. This is a car that has truly grown in stature.

It has, if you like, the X Factor, and it won my vote.

And, it has quite noticeably grown. It's 53mm longer than its predecessor, 24mm wider and 44mm taller.

That might not seem a lot, but in car terms, it's huge. The X1's track widths are also up 31mm front and rear for improved cornering and also giving it a more imposing stance. Definitely no argument there. It makes its predecessor look positively puny.

Its growth also means there's more knee and head room inside, especially in the rear seats. The 540-litre boot is also 50 litres more than before. Flatten the 40:20:40-split rear backrest and there's up to 1,600-litres of capacity is available.

The X1 now looks like the smaller yet equally robust sibling of the X5 and comes with the engorged, love it or hate it, kidney grille now familiar on new BMWs. It doesn't matter as it is the interior which adds premium class.

The dash is dominated by a pair of gently curving displays; a 10.7-inch one ahead of the driver prioritises driving data, while the central 10.25-inch touchscreen deals with the infotainment functions.

The latter display incorporates the 'BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant', a clever voice control system responding to the command 'Hey BMW'. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. And the infotainment set-up now updates itself with 'over-the-air' upgrades.

The touchscreen is one of the finest around with fantastic graphics and logical menus. Even my luddite senses found it a cinch to use. Didn't even need any help from my teenager.

Standard kit includes LED headlights and LED rear lights, an auto tailgate, cruise control and a reversing camera, as do four USB-C ports, and two 12V power sockets.

The M Sport gains a typically dynamic body kit, 19-inch alloy wheels - though I was riding on 20-inch wheels - adaptive M Sport suspension, sports seats and a 15mm drop in ride height.

The X1 is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines as well as an all-electric version. Although sales of the all-electric version are eventually expected to make up the majority, the xDrive23i is top of the list.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit makes 218bhp and is mated to a seamless seven-speed dual clutch transmission and mild-hybrid tech. Officially it'll achieve up to 43.5mpg. Over 375 miles, I was happy to return 36.4mpg.

For an SUV - or as BMW would have it, an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) car, the X1 handles more like a regular hatchback, with a positive front end that points keenly into turns, with very little body roll, and plenty of grip.

The X1 also comes loaded with plenty of the latest safety kit including a new front-collision warning system with brake intervention. If the car detects a pedestrian or cyclist nearby it will automatically halt if either gets too close.

Near-actuator wheel slip limitation is fitted as standard in the new BMWX1, benefiting both traction and directional stability. The Parking Assistant including Reversing Assist Camera and Reversing Assistant also forms part of the standard equipment roster.

FAST FACTS

BMW X1 xDrive23i M Sport

Price:£41,470

Mechanical:218bhp, 1,998cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine driving all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed:145mph

0-62mph: 7.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 43.5mpg

Insurance Group:31

C02 emissions:154g/km

Bik rating:35%

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