Words & Pictures: Kevin C. Limjoco
The desirability and performance of any BMW X-series is without question, even with the 1st generation entry-level X1 (E84) crossover, which, despite its enormous worldwide commercial success, was the lone model that I personally did not like. It was supposed to reflect the strengths of the X3 and X5 in a more affordable and more compact package. It still had the vital BMW driving dynamics and it was plenty capable, but it was just downright unattractive inside and out. The old X1 was not consistent with its big brother’s level of execution, polish, and overall design, again despite having solid mechanical ability. I found it odd-looking and too plebian. I know I am repeating myself, but that is only because I really hoped that the idea would have been complete. Thankfully, the all-new 2nd generation X1 (F48) hits every sore mark and delivers even more than expected in stark contrast, but it comes with a caveat.
The outgoing model was built on a solid, traditional rear-wheel-drive platform melded from the X3 (E83), 3-series wagon (E92), and the 1-series (E87). The new X1 uses the new UKL2 platform, which is shared with the Mini Cooper Clubman and the BMW 2-series Active Tourer, so it is actually primarily a front-wheel drive. Which does not bother me at all because BMW has once again built an outstanding product with its core high-performance characteristics intact. The lone model sold in the US at the moment is this fully loaded xDrive28i which finally looks genuinely like a baby X5. And the new interior also resounds this.
The old X1 had a huge trunk, but the rest of cabin always felt marginalized. The new X1 has a 15% larger trunk while the cabin is very upscale and complete with all the expected fancy gadgetry and up-to-date infotainment systems. Power is down from last year’s parallel model from 241 bhp to 228 bhp, but the new X1 is almost a hundred pounds lighter too, along with a new updated Aisin 8-speed automatic gearbox to compensate. It drives with almost the same pace if not better especially where it counts in the mid-range. It is 1.7 inches taller, 0.9 inch wider, and 1.1 inches shorter with a wheelbase shortened by 3.6 inches compared to the outgoing model, but it feels substantially larger and exponentially more sophisticated than before.
Under normal driving conditions, the power delivery is 100% front wheel driven without deteriorating steering feel, which can instantly be channeled to the rear automatically and seamlessly when required through the intelligent xDrive multiplate clutch. The weight distribution is very good too at 57:43 (front/rear) so most drivers may not even feel the difference. The sensation may be quite obvious, if it bothers you, in the 2-series Active Tourer, but not in the new X1 xDrive28i. So if the old model was a huge success despite its shortcomings, the new model is guaranteed to be another brilliant winner for BMW and for us consumers. I just hope that the domestic pricing and equipment packaging in the Philippines won’t be too challenging.
Specification – 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
Engine: Inline-4, 1998 cc, dohc 16V, Valvetronic, Bi-VANOS, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, 8-speed AT
Max power: 228 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Max torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1250-4800 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 6.5 sec.
Top Speed: 210 km/h (130 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 22 mpg City / 32 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 46,570.00
C! RATING 9.5/10
+The best X1 model yet, more spacious, better looking inside and out, very planted
-Get past the front wheel drive stigma and you will be very happy, expected better fuel economy