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.