COLLAGE 1.jpgI recently drove one of my favourite compact luxury SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) the BMW X1 M Sport. This is a car that is just the right size for city as well as highway driving. This variant was launched last year as an addition to the second-generation BMW X1.

BMW cars in the last decade have pushed the boundaries of design and styling leading to lots of conversation amongst car enthusiasts. Some have liked it, some hate it. So how does the X1 score in that department. Let’s find out.COLLAGE 2.jpgCOLLAGE 3.jpgThe X1 is good looking, well proportioned, elegant enough without being ostentatious. It rides on Y-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/50 R18 tires that fill out the wheel arches perfectly. The window sills are blacked out with LED headlights tail lamp. The aluminium kidney grille at the front, silver side trim is all in matte finish with well sculpted front and rear bumpers.

BMW cars are known for their luxury. The X1 follows that same line. Step inside and you are greeted with black interiors. The leather seats and wood panelling are of the highest quality, that one has come to expect from BMW. The front seats are fully electric adjustable, the rear seats are split 40:20:40, ambient lighting for exterior door handles and foot well, leather steering wheel with paddle shifters and integrated controls for various functions. The seats are comfortable and very plush. Good under thigh support with shoulder room is available in both the rows. The legroom in the rear seats is adequate. There is a heads up display for the driver, where using the integrated functions on the steering, the driver can control the features of the infotainment system.COLLAGE 4.jpgThe BMW X1 xDrive 20dM is powered by a 1,995 cc, four-cylinder, common-rail turbo-diesel that produces 190 hp at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 1,750-2,500 rpm. The moment you start moving the refinement of the engine is obvious. The NVH levels are very low. Step on the accelerator and you immediately get a sense of the power that’s available. The X1 comes with turbocharging delivering strong mid-range power.

I drove the X1 over 400kms during this review.  Most of my driving was on national and state highways. Due to road repair work which is constantly happening in our country, one also experienced off-roading in the X1. The X1 comes with 3 driving modes. Comfort, Eco and Sport. The mode one would drive in the cities would be a combination of Eco/ Comfort depending on the kind of traffic one encounters. There is enough power to overtake easily while keeping the engine relaxed for an enjoyable city ride. Sport mode only comes into play on highways where traffic is not an issue. The whole character of the car changes, acceleration is very brisk, the suspension setup is more race inspired, everything is the car now is tuned to deliver performance.

The 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission works efficiently. Upshifts and downshifts are very swift and smooth. Paddle shifters give you the option of shifting gears manually. The only time I used that option was on empty highways. Getting to triple digit speeds is effortless. The X1 feels very planted at high speeds. Shifting lanes or going into corners hard the X1 handles it all with ease. On good roads and highways, the ride quality the X1 offers is very good.  But the moment you get onto a bad stretch of road, the ride quality for people in the rear seats isn’t a very pleasant experience. While these tyres work superbly on good roads, on potholed roads that becomes a challenging exercise.

The X1 comes with a host of safety features. Six airbags, ABS with Brake Assist, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), stability control (DSC) and traction control. The stability control can be de-activated by the driver. The moment the driver does that, an electronic locking function system for the front axle differential is activated. This kicks in during slippery road surfaces preventing wheelspin by diverting power to the other wheel.COLLAGE 5.jpgThe infotainment system comes with Bluetooth connectivity with Apple Car-play, 7 speaker hi-fi,16.6 cm colour display with BMW’s iDrive system. The iDrive system gives you notifications for low tyre pressure, issues with the engine, when the next service is due etc.

A good looking compact SAV that ticks most of the right boxes, is fun to drive and comes with the BMW badge of performance.COLLAGE LAST.jpgThe BMW X1 prices start at Rs. 35.20 Lakh ex showroom Mumbai for the sDrive20d Expedition. Prices for the M Sport sDrive 20d start at Rs 42.40 Lakh ex-showroom Mumbai.


COLLAGE 1Luxury as a segment is becoming increasingly popular in India. With the changing economy and purchasing power, brands are offering world class products at competitive prices.

The BMW 630iGT is exactly that kind of product. The 6 series Gran Turismo (GT) was launched to fill a gap that existed between the mid-size and limousine luxury sedan categories. Since it’s locally assembled here, the pricing is competitive. The 3,070mm wheelbase that’s on offer is the same as the standard wheelbase 7 series sold in Europe. Make no mistake. This is a big car.

The roof flows to the raised rear section, which is adorned by slim tail-lamps that wrap around the sides giving the car a sleek look. The front grille is like what one gets in the 5 series.COLLAGE LAST.jpgCOLLAGE 3.jpgThe inside of the car is spacious thanks to the large passenger compartment. The leather seats come with a faux-leather dashboard, dark wood brushed aluminium and contrast stitching. The car comes equipped with iDrive, touchscreen and gesture control. Spinning your fingers in a circular motion lets you turn the stereo volume up or down. Pointing lets you accept an incoming phone call while a dismissive swipe action rejects it. Pointing two fingers at the screen brings up whatever function you’ve specifically programmed for it, such as changing the radio station or returning to the main menu.COLLAGE 6.jpgCOLLAGE 7.jpgThe BMW iDrive comes with Apple CarPlay, Adaptative LED headlamps, digital instrument cluster which changes according to the different driving modes, panoramic sunroof,4 zone climate control and adaptive air suspension are the features on offer. With the 630iGT Sportline trim you get the fancy ‘display key’ fob with a touchscreen which gives you info about the car such as petrol range, lets you cool the car before getting in.

The front seats are sporty in design which offer memory function, the option to tighten the side bolsters. Frontal visibility is good, thanks to a large front windscreen. Driving the 630iGT in traffic is quite easy despite its size, courtesy the notchback design.COLLAGE 5.jpgThe back seats have electric rear window blinds, rear entertainment screens and a reclining rear backrest. These are the seats that matter the most, as this is where most buyers of this car will spend majority of their time.
Courtesy the 3,070mm wheelbase, one gets lots of rear legroom. Headroom is very good despite a roof that appears to slope down quite sharply. Another benefit of a notchback body style. The seats are extremely comfortable which offer soft pillows on top of the headrest. The rear seats can be reclined by 9 degrees which offer an extra degree of comfort.COLLAGE 4.jpgHaving recently driven the X5M, I had a fair idea of what to expect in terms of driving capabilities. BMW cars are known worldwide for their performance and their reputation of being a “driver’s car”. The 630iGT has a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder engine with 258hp and 400 NM of torque. There are 3 driving modes eco pro, comfort and sport. Eco Pro is ideal when one is driving in the city as the acceleration becomes far more docile, which is what you need in bumper to bumper traffic.  Comfort mode gives you more power which makes it ideal when driving is a combination of city and highway driving. On weekend drives out of town, Sports mode is the one to go with. The responsiveness is very good, handling is sharper. The digital display changes with each mode adding a fun touch to proceedings. The 8-speed automatic is quick, smooth and shifts up and down are extremely refined.

What really impressed me was the Air suspension the 630iGt comes with. It’s weighted, sharp and ride quality is extremely plush. Bumps and bad roads are handled with such ease that it’s hard to believe that one is driving a notchback and not a SUV. Comfort is the primary objective here and the 630iGT excels in that department.

The 630iGT is just the car for you, if luxury, comfort and performance along with a fun to drive quotient is what you want.COLLAGE 2.jpgThe prices start at ₹63.90 Lakhs for the Petrol 630iGT luxury line, ₹68.90 lakhs for the Diesel 630dGT luxury line and ₹73.70 Lakhs for the Diesel 630d M Sport. All prices are ex-showroom Mumbai.