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BMW X1: Joins the fleet

  • Very striking design that looks great, especially with optional alloys
  • Roomy for a small compact 4x4 with decent sized boot
  • Cost of this spec and options will almost get you into an X5. Almost.

The latest addition to the Parkers long term test fleet is certainly one of the most striking. The BMW X1 with its full-time all-wheel drive M Sport trim is turning plenty of heads.

The metallic white colour scheme with matching bumpers and wing mirrors plus the big 19-inch alloys certainly mark it out; it has a classy look about it.

BMW X1 19-inch M Double Spoke Alloys

That carries on inside thanks to a full, black leather interior and textured plastics, plus BMW's stylish design conspires to add a real quality feel to the car.

There is a monster list of options that has been fitted to our test car so deep breath, think Generation Game prize conveyor belt and here goes: Media Package (adds sat-nav, DAB radio, Media player, real time traffic information, BMW Apps, Information Plus, Online services including news, weather and google, SOS emergency call), Bluetooth connectivity, extended storage, heated front seats, Visibility Package (adds Xenon headlights, auto windscreen wipers and lights, auto dimming rear-view mirror, headlight wash, adaptive headlights and auto high beam),  Driver Comfort package (cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, interior ambient lighting), folding and auto dimming wing mirrors, luggage compartment separating net, metallic paint, panoramic sunroof and Sun Protection package (adds grey shade band to windscreen and glass protects against the sun).

Oh, oh, and bike rack preparation!

And breathe… well, didn’t he do well?! And certainly the chap who ticked this lot of options really did go for it. To the tune of nigh-on nine grand's worth of extras.

It would be easier to list the optional kit not fitted to the car (yes, there are some) and we'd wager it's very unlikely anyone will spec their X1 to this degree. At a total cost as tested of nearly £40k, you are only two grand shy of affording a brand new entry-level BMW X5.

BMW X1 Eight-speed automatic

To be fair to BMW, the company is giving us the chance to test a full range of options to assess how good or otherwise they are, and whether they are worth your hard-earned cash.

First impressions are that you certainly don’t want for anything as a driver. BMW’s sat-nav system is very good, the parking sensors are helpful - especially with rear visibility not being great - and long distance comfort is impressive. The restraining straps in the boot floor are perfect for lashing boxes down and keeping it fixed in place.

BMW X1 drivers view

Driving impressions are particularly impressive, not least thanks to the eight-speed automatic transmission that changes gears smoothly and is very effective in getting the 2.0-litre diesel’s power to all four wheels when required.

It may look like a sporty 4x4 but this is one wagon that prefers the metalled road - and smooth ones at that. Suspension is on the firm side which makes for impressive rapid driving on twisty roads, but it's jiggles and bounces ahoy on bumpy back roads and lumpy city lanes.

It’s never serious enough to be off-putting but it’s enough to reassure that this is no off-roader but rather a very capable and comfortable A-to-B mile-muncher. Think blasting to the coast for a spot of surfing, or racing to the mountains for some downhill biking. Not surprising given the X1’s youthful and sporty appeal.

BMW X1 xDrive20d M Sport

We’ll be assessing just how good the BMW is and which options are really worth the extra cash over the next few months as the keys get passed on to Parkers youthful and sporty staff writer, James Taylor. 

Total mileage: 4,039 miles

Average mpg: 41.5mpg