2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine Review : Orange Pop
Singapore - There are many premium car options available to buyers, and the BMW X1 is just one of the many choices you could make, if one is looking for an aspirational car upgrade.
BMW’s smallest SUV (or SAV in their language) is now in its third generation, and it has grown slightly. The increase in size includes a 22mm increase in wheelbase, and we know that BMW has put some good work in interior packaging.
Their new car is boxier, and it also carries a large-upright grille (similar to the 2 Series AT mini MPV), which is a more sensible design touch, since it vibes more like an SUV this way. Like its larger X3 sibling, the X1 also receives squared-off wheel arches, but departs on side styling, with bolder-yet-simpler pressed metal. At the rear, the 1X follows BMW’s current design trend of sculpting its tail lights.
From some angles, the small SUV visually channels the larger X3. In-all, it is a design which is more timeless than what has been offered previously.
This is a far cry from the first X1 was 2 generations ago - a claustrophobia-inducing RWD car. The second-gen X1 was already a huge jump in features and passenger accommodation, the latter feature was primarily because BMW switched to a FWD platform; sharing resources with sister brand, MINI. The current car still uses the very same UKL2.
2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine - inside
The dashboard, which is lifted right out of the 2AT, takes inspiration from the iX electric SAV. And like the 2AT, it has that massive mobile phone charging dock, which fits two phones, but is in reality built to charge one. The previous car, even with its facelift, did not receive BMW’s previous voice-activated Operating System 7 infotainment firmware, and owners had to make-do with an older NBT Evo system. The Operating System 8 (also voice-activated) which makes its way into the new premium SAV, is a much-needed improvement. But while I say this, it takes a few more presses and swipes to get to some of its functions.
The 10.25-inch information display is significantly smaller than those on larger BMWs, which translates to the screen displaying 3 widgets, versus the 4.5 you’d get to see at a time on something larger, like a 7 Series. For the driver, the instrument panel is now a digital 10.7-inch control display, which is extremely customisable.
Like the 2AT, there is a floating centre console which houses the shift-by-wire gearshift, volume controls and the drive mode button. The small BMW also loses the iDrive control wheel. If you are sharp enough, you’d notice that the 1X, like the 2AT, is prioritised for LHD markets. The gear shift tab is located on the left side, and if you were to open the armrest/storage, the lid swings toward the driver… not a deal breaker, but I feel less special now. #LOL… But my spoiled self should not be complaining much here, as there is a notable step-up in overall material quality, which feels more “correct” for a car in its class.
The X1, being what it is… is capable family trooper transport. There’s a relatively straight roofline, which translates to pretty good headroom, while legroom is easily sufficient for most above-average adults. We like that BMW has carried over the sliding function for the rear seats, which provides even more cargo-loading versatility. Together with the 13cm fore and aft sliding seat bases, rear seatbacks can be individually folded down, and a huge cavity (about the diameter of the boot area itself) below the boot floor, cargo room can be anywhere from 540 litres to 1600 litres, this is up from 505 litres and 1550 litres respectively.
2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine - driven
High COEs dictate that BMW’s only power option for now, positions the X1 as a Category A COE car. The sDrive16i is powered by BMW’s smallest engine, the 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol. Over here, it produces 122hp and 230Nm, the latter which spreads across a range between 1500 to 3600rpm. For me, I’m not the biggest fan of 3-cyl engines, but on a day-to-day regular-ish drive, the BMW unit feels surprisingly smooth. But squeeze that needle past the maximum torque band, and you’d quickly go out of puff. You also get characteristic 3-banger raspiness. The other time the engine reminds you that you’re a barrel short, is when you’re stopped at the lights, with a hint of “bub bub bub” through the steering wheel. Oh yes, you also get some roughness when the engine restarts.
But on the highway, the X1 cruises incredibly well, and it also holds its own in most city driving situations. The 7-speed dual-clutch does most things right, but as with all DCTs, there is a fair amount of judder when creeping and then attempting to accelerate.
The variant here is the “simpler” xLine model, which not only gets frosted silver trim, paired with black wheel guards; it also sits on a milder suspension which in my books, rides very well, and holds its own… well this is until you hit an uneven patch, where the car jiggles quite a bit. The M Sport variant on the other hand gets a stiffer sports suspension, which I feel will compromise ride quality. While the X1 is definitely going to handle differently from its FWD sibling, the 1 Series, it holds fast cornering lines well for its height. There is still a bit of roll, but all is manageable.
BMW claims that the sDrive16i will do an official combined 14.7km/l, but I managed something closer to 13.3km/l, but this is factoring more start-stop traffic than usual. In contrast, Audi’s Q3 1.5 MHEV (which we drove up to Thailand in here, and stay tuned for the review) does 15.4km/l, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA 180, 15.6km/l. Among the three, the GLA is the other Category A COE car.
But while the BMW does pale slightly to the rest in terms of fuel efficiency, it does have one of the best infotainment systems, and it also lets you flex that Reversing Assistant. Also, it has that all-important suite of driver safety aids, through its Driving Assistant, which includes Rear Collision Prevention.
Despite the X1 not being perfect, it is a premium SUV which will attract its fair share of fans, especially those who feel that a grille… I mean, a badge is important.
PHOTOS Jay Tee & Clifford Chow
STORY Clifford Chow
2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine
Engine 1499, inline3, turbocharged
Transmission 7spd Steptronic dual-clutch
Top Speed 200km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.8l/100km