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  • Writer's pictureIshaan Bharadwaj

BMW X1 MSport - Black Magic

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

I have been yearning to have a good daily driver car since a very very long time and I prioritized something spacious, is robust, can take India's bad monsoon broken roads and is very easy in my pocket. I have had the BMW 730Ld for many days as my daily driver and I clocked more than enough kilometres in it through the Indian summer months. I loved it to the core before I got hit by high-speed bumps, intimidating traffic jams and squeezed out parking situation all across the city. Need something smaller eh!

Hence from living with one of the most expensive cars that BMW makes I come down to the entry point to BMWs India portfolio and picked up the brilliant 2nd generation X1 in its M Sport XDrive 20d avatar. It is crazy how BMW came up with the idea of creating an SUV that could give the comforts of the X5 at a fraction of its price. The way the current generation of the X1 looks reminds me of its elder sibling as well, it is also taller, longer and wider than the car it replaces. The main feature is that it looks more SUV like than a station wagon with an X badge. There is more wheelbase and has a wider track to enhance the space on the inside.

Although the bonnet is a little shorter and the engine is now transverse than longitudinal which was the case in the previous generation of the X1. This is done to create more space and reduce the weight of the car. The transmission tunnel was a major lock in the space situation reduction of which has created more room for 3 passengers in the rear seat. The engine is a 2 litre, twin-scroll turbo, 4 cylinder engine producing 190 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. The turbo kicks in at lower rpm making the acceleration very linear and the process happens with absolutely zero jerks. This is due to an ultra-smooth 8 speed ZF gearbox which is servicing almost every BMW vehicle in the world today. The X1 xDrive 20d sprints from 0-100 kmph in 7.8 seconds which is brilliant for a car of this size and also the quickest in the competition in reality.

The xDrive system that we have on our car is a permanent 4WD system which comes with a variable torque split. That means that when the car's traction system senses a loss of grip in any of the wheels it supplies that amount of power of braking to it. We tested the system by doing triple digit speeds through some crazy rains in Rajasthan and drove through some harsh gravel infested roads in the jungles of Behror and it performed perfectly well. The system does however kicks in pretty often if it checks the roads to be very slippery and warns the driver to lower speed to prevent any impact.

The ground clearance is a healthy 190 mm above ground which is very useful to cope the irregularly sized speed bumps across the metropolitan cities of India. The tires are chunky 225/50 R18 Pirelli P7 rubbers with 10 spoke M sport alloy wheels which look very tastefully designed indeed. The brakes and suspension setup are both from the M sport parts basket and really show up while performing at the limit. There is minimal roll and pitch which taking corners. It also helps majorly in keep the stability intact when doing triple digit speeds, the X1 feels flat while you are cruising down the highway.

The Sapphire black shade looks magnificent under the summer sun but does tend to get dirty very quickly when driven through the rainy days with muck and grim being thrown from the cars ahead on the road. But the great torque and acceleration figures of the car ensure that you overtake them as quickly as possible. The engine is quite silent below 3000 rpm and at higher rpms it tends to get a little too audible on the inside. What is different in the M-Sport variant is the addition of aerodynamic bumpers and rear diffuser which does help the overall stability to be better than the lower variants.

The interiors in the M sport variant too are a notch above the competition. The sporty 3 spoke steering wheel picked from the M3 Sports Saloon and the body hugging 10 way adjusable front seats are a boon to live with. The quality of materials in the cabin are top drawer and do make you feel that you have put your money in the right place. The visual and physical space inside the car is much more than what the Audi Q3 or the Mercedes Benz GLA offers especially the shoulder room for both the front and the rear passengers.

The iDrive system on the M-Sport variant is the updated 8.8 inch touch screen with configurable menus and a very high resolution display. This system comprises of Navigation and a very Indian dialect friendly voice command system which would understand my words in one go without a retake 90% of the time. There is dual zone climate control system which is very effective in the Indian summers and circulates fresh air evenly across the cabin. There are rear AC vents which do have a pretty strong blower, but I do wish that they had individual adjustments as well.

The Rear seat experience is brilliant too. The seats are well cushioned and to support major parts of the body with utmost comfort. The underthigh support and headroom is also great for a body of my size, I am 5'8" which is an average male size in India. The Panoramic Sunroof just ups the game by providing enough light in the cabin to make it look more roomy. This sunroof also has the largest opening in the segment which does make it feel like a convertible car when driven through some great weather.

The Space in the boot is massive at 505 litres which is 85 litres more than the previous generation of X1. There is a space saver tyre under the boot floor and some net hooks to tie down those expensive painting you bought from the gallery. The rear seats fold 40-20-40 to create more space and then you can carry your entire wooden wardrobe and roadtrip around or even use this area to camp inside the car. The boot lid however does not open or close electronically which is quite a miss at this price point. Also the fact that the boot lip is on the higher side which can make taking heavier items in and out can be a workout.


The BMW X1 is an exciting car to live with. It is massively spacious, is very practical to live with, looks the money, and with a city and highway fuel economy of 14.5 kmpl and 21 kmpl respectively it is very very frugal as well. I took it to some really nice roads, very rough roads and a wildlife sanctuary in my time period of acquisition and it out performed anything and everything the X1 competes agains. It isn't the prettiest looking car, nor is it something that inspires awe, but as a tool to make you feel special everyday, it is a brilliant piece of kit. I absolutely love it being my daily driver, I do!

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