The BMW X1 drives well with little body roll for an SUV and the steering is meaty with sufficient feedback
Spruced up BMW X1 The BMW X1 drives well with little body roll for an SUV and the steering is meaty with sufficient feedback. PHOTO: BMW

It has been four years since the second-generation BMW X1 was launched in 2015. It is time for a facelift.

The nip-and-tuck has resulted in a bigger front grille, in keeping with BMW's latest design direction. Bigger air intakes sit on each side of the bumper below the headlamps. Instead of round foglamps above the air intakes of the predecessor, the refreshed X1 has LEDs sited horizontally across the intakes.

There are no chrome bits in the M Sport variant save for the front grille surround and twin tailpipes.

The rear lights have been restyled with the familiar L-shape LEDs seen on other BMW models. The tailpipe (single on the sDrive18i) is no longer puny and has been beefed up to 90mm - from 70mm.

Three new colours have been added to the palette - Jucaro Beige, Individual Storm Bay metallic and the sporty Misano Blue metallic on the M Sport Model.

The interior tweaks include a centrally positioned 8.8-inch infotainment screen with the latest iDrive. The cabin is now bathed in ambient lighting, with six colour choices: orange, violet, green, bronze, blue and white.

Despite being BMW's smallest sport utility vehicle (SUV), the car is not short of space. All the practicality you see remains, such as its 40:20:40 rear seat split. When the rears seats are flattened, cargo space expands from 505 litres to 1,550 litres.

In Singapore, versions include the sDrive20i M Sport, with M Sport suspension but without adaptive dampers.

The test car is an xDrive25i, a 2-litre 231hp/350Nm all-wheel-drive. The same engine in the sDrive20i gets 192hp/280Nm. The smallest capacity sDrive18i churns out 140hp/220Nm from its 1.5-litre three-cylinder.

The adaptive suspension in the xDrive25i in Sport mode is a little too stiff and jiggly. Switch that to Comfort mode and the drivetrain to Sport and the X1 handles at its best.

The ride is firm and well damped in Comfort. A sporty note from the engine in Sport accompanies the kickdown acceleration on the autobahn to well over 200kmh.

At 200kmh, it is stable, with no floating sensation. Top speed is specified at 235kmh. It does 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds. The front-wheel-drive sDrive20i does it in 7.7 seconds, while the sDrive18i is two seconds behind at 9.7.

In the xDrive25i, power is transmitted to all wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. But in the sDrive18i and sDrive20i, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmits power to the front wheels.

Tracking the xDrive25i around bends at any speed does not leave you second-guessing if you are in lane. The X1 drives well with little body roll for an SUV and the steering is meaty with sufficient feedback.

All these traits and numbers already apply to the pre-facelift. But next year, BMW will launch the xDrive25e, the first plug-in hybrid X1.