Its SST exempt price of RM216,780 (on-the-road, without insurance) has managed to bring attention to those looking to own a BMW for the first time.
It comes with a newly enlarged and redesigned kidney grille, front bumper with integrated fog lights, larger air intakes and hexagonal automatic LED headlights and BMW even added a Light Package that includes a Welcome Light Carpet as well as a projected “X1” logo from the driver’s side mirror.
Even the rear light cluster fully sports LEDs.
Dressed in Alpine White, the body colour is paired with perforated Black Leather Dakota upholstery for the seats for a nice monochrome effect.
Because this SAV has the “M Sport” moniker, it gets an M Sport Suspension to cruise around with 10mm shaved off its ride height - a welcome addition indeed.
The lowered stance helps it look somewhat hunkered down in an attempt to close the unsightly gap between the wheel arches and the 18-inch M lightweight Double-Spoke Style 570 M Bicolour alloys wrapped by 225/50 series tyres.
It could do with a little more “drop” and a larger and fatter set of 19-inch wheels but that’d just take too much of a toll on comfort, so perhaps not.
Although the overall shape might seem “vanilla”, the front end is where it makes itself stand apart with those large gaping intakes at its lower half and combined with those slightly slanted LED headlights and dual 90mm (+20mm) diameter exhaust tips - it sure does look rather aggressive.
And even though the BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim and M Aerodynamics Package does add to this effect, the question beckons as to whether it has got what it takes to back it up? Oh yes indeed.
You see, under the hood lies a capable 2.0-litre turbocharged mill that’s been transversely mounted - due to it being front-wheel driven, while a seven-speed Steptronic Dual Clutch Sport transmission manages its 192hp from 5,000 to 6,000rpm and 280Nm from 1,350 to 4,600rpm.
This transpires into a 0 to 100kph sprint time of 7.6 seconds before reaching a top speed of 224kph and while at that, the brakes are capable enough of holding dominion over the “land of speed”.
There’s enough braking power to dial things down quickly if needed and the gearshifts are smooth.
Moving inside, the cabin isn’t exactly spacious nor cramped.
It’s more cosy than one might expect due to the “blacked-out” interior which helps to mask the lack of spatial offering.
At least the front seats are powered with driver-side memory function and plenty of bolster for the thighs, waist while the cockpit provides a nice driver-centric setup with a more upright driving position.
The controls here are easily in reach and provides a good amount of tactility and the 8.8-inch full-colour touchscreen, as well as the digital instrument cluster, are simply crisp, clear and comprehensible - all while the combination of horizontally-brushed aluminium and Pearl Chrome accents add contrast to the “dark” interior.
Moving to the rear, there’s simply plenty of headroom thanks to the tall roofline, but although now it has a front-engine front-wheel-drive (FF) setup - which should have freed up some room, it still feels on the tighter side of the spectrum even if it is an improvement at the end of the day.
Regardless, there’s still plenty of practicality to be had with the powered-tailgate opening up and swallowing up to 1,550 litres of luggage if needed with the rear seat’s backrests folded down.
But as a people mover, it would be more ideal to seat four rather than having the maximum capacity of five.
Alone with no one else, the X1 simply breezes along highways in relative comfort as the notes and nuances of the road’s surface gently reaches your senses.
Once the route begins to wind tightly, the X1 will show how much it relishes the situation as it carves up corners skillfully with plenty of agility and panache thanks to its sharp steering response that’s accompanied by weighted steering feel to help its driver “aim” from one apex of a corner to another.
If the X1 was able to choose its owner, it’d prefer taking aim at young urban families who have a sizeable stash of “coin” to satisfy its asking price with at least one of them - if not both, able to appreciate its road-holding manners.
And if the proverbial “shoe” fits, then the X1 sDrive20i would be worthwhile exploring and if not, there’s always a tamer X1 sDrive18i to consider. —
BMW X1 sDrive20i M Sport
Engine: 1,998cc, B48 turbocharged, direct injectionMaximum power: 192PS from 5,000 to 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 280Nm from 1,350 to 4,600rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch Sport transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters, front-wheel drive
Acceleration (0 to 100kph): 7.6 seconds
Top speed: 224kph
Features: Automatic LED headlights with integrated daytime running lights and turn signals, full-LED taillights, LED foglights, M Sport suspension, twin tailpipes, USB-A (under centre armrest), two rear USB-C ports under rear air conditioning vents, perforated Black Dakota leather upholstery, brushed aluminium trim with Pearl Chrome highlights, 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and iDrive Operating System 6, powered front sports seats with driver-side memory, dual-zone automatic climate controls, cruise control 5.7-inch multi-information Black Panel instrument cluster, keyless entry with push-start button, hands-free powered tailgate, auto-dimming mirrors, Parking Assistant, six-speaker sound system, reverse camera and 18-inch M lightweight Double-Spoke Style 570 M Bicolour alloys with 225/50 series run-flat tyres
Price with SST: RM225,170 (on-the-road without insurance)
Price without SST: RM216,780 (on-the-road without insurance)