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2022 BMW X1 Singapore Review - sDrive16 xLine

The BMW X1 sdrive16i xline is the 2nd generation BMW X1 and will sit within Category A COE. The entry level car in BMW's range of small SUVs or compact SUVs has grown up significantly though, delivering better ride quality, larger wheel arches, 540 litres of boot space, more legroom in the rear seats, a redesigned kidney grille, and will sport the same refined 1.5 litre turbocharged 3 cylinder found in other cars such as the 2 Series Active Tourer, 2 Series Gran Coupe, and the 1 Series Hatchback.

More Grown Up & More Practical

One of the first things you notice about the new BMW X1 is how much the car has grown over its predecessor. The overall car feels longer and taller, and actually visually resembles the footprint occupied by the previous generation BMW X3. Inside, space utilisation has also been refined, offering users a spacious feeling cabin that also accords rear passengers extra legroom.

The boot is also competitively sized and will no doubt provide families with more practicality on family errands and road trips. The result of these space and size related upgrades mean that the BMW X1 now feels like a more mature car, growing with the same demographic that fell in love with the original BMW X1 and made it such a popular car in sunny Singapore.

As a product, it’s not just size that has made the BMW X1 feel more grown up - it is also the way the car has been dressed both inside and out. Apart from a more imposing exterior, the car also sports upmarket detailing in the front fascia, front apron, and rear taillights that make the car feel more upmarket than before. Despite being the entry level SUV in the BMW lineup, there is little feels entry level about the car. Though definitely not as polished as its larger siblings, you’d be forgiven for missing the memo that the X1 is the cheapest BMW SUV you can buy. To the lay man, this could easily be a mid sized SUV.

CAT A Goodness

One tell tale sign that the BMW X1 is BMW’s entry level SUV, is probably through scrutinising the spec sheet, on which you will now find that the X1 carries a tuned down 1.5 litre 3 cylinder turbocharged power unit mated to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission that is good for 121 bhp, allowing it to sit comfortably within CAT A COE requirements which will save consumers some upfront costs when purchasing the car.

Despite being tuned down from its predecessor’s 134 bhp, BMW have done an amazing job at tuning the drivetrain, resulting in what I think is probably one of the most refined 3 cylinder engines on the market, rivalling the refinement and smoothness offered by other entry level 4 cylinders on the market. In fact, it would be difficult to guess the power output of the X1, as the car feels way more powerful than its spec sheet says, delivering punchy performance off the line along with a healthy torque band that remains accessible past what most other 3 cylinders in the market are capable of. The car actually sounds pretty good too, delivering a rather raspy exhaust note that will sit well with those willing to push the car past 3,500 rpm.

On its stock 19 inch wheels, the X1 provides good all round ride quality, proving to be firm enough to resist leaning too much into corners, yet comfortable enough over most irregularities on the road surface. Despite its larger footprint and taller stance, the car handles well through corners, once again deceiving its position as an entry level SUV.

Class Leading Package

Despite all its merits, the new BMW X1 will likely be judged on its ownership viability rather than its practicality and performance. After all, conquest models like the X1 play an important role in drawing in customers who are new to the brand, providing consumers with good value for money, a well thought out package, and a teaser of the goodness that is to come should a consumer decide to dive down the rabbit hole and purchase a more expensive model in the the lineup somewhere down the line. If that is indeed the role of the BMW X1, then I would have to say that the car is well positioned to do an excellent job for BMW, boasting a class leading package that stands out from its closest competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLA or the Audi Q3.

In my opinion, the BMW X1’s trump card will be its larger size and increased practicality, because for the first time, upgraders from full full size Japanese sedans won’t have make the painful choice of sacrificing space for brand. With the BMW X1 costing only marginally more than a Toyota Camry for example, its ability to cater an uncompromising amount of legroom in the rear may well just be the push that many families need to jump onto the continental bandwagon and experience an elevated car ownership experience.

Who Will it Appeal to?

A car as versatile and practical as the BMW X1 is bound to cater to a wide demographic, but right off the bat, it would seem that the new X1 will serve as a great next step for owners of the previous X1 who love the car, want something new, but aren’t quite ready to make the jump to something like the X3. Additionally, because the new X1 feels quite comparable to the previous X3 in terms of size, and is actually priced quite similarly to the previous X3 when it was new, the car will also make a very good replacement for previous X3 owners who have now been given an opportunity to keep with the brand without losing out too much on space and stature. Last but not least, upgraders from full sized Japanese sedans or mid sized Japanese SUVs that sit in the same price bracket as the new X1 will definitely want to give it some consideration, probably fulfilling their (or their wive’s) dream of owning a continental car in status driven Singapore


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