From £23,880
New engine is great in everyday driving, but it lacks the polish and fun factor of a BMW six-pot

Our Verdict

BMW X1
The BMW X1 is a rival for the VW Tiguan, Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque

The BMW X1 is fine to drive, but buyers looking for premium feel may be better served by rivals' offerings

  • First Drive

    BMW X1 xDrive25d x Line

    BMW’s new trim strategy means that there will be three ‘x’s in the name of your X1 xDrive25d x Line
  • First Drive

    BMW X1 xDrive 28i

    New engine is great in everyday driving, but it lacks the polish and fun factor of a BMW six-pot
20 February 2011

What is it?

A good deal more torque, reduced consumption, lower emissions and less weight - but better? Before driving BMW’s new X1xDrive28i, the first model to feature the German car maker’s new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, I wasn’t so sure.

The new unit, known as the N20 and set to head into a whole range of models in the not-too-distant-future, has been conceived to (indirectly) replace one of the landmark engines of our time, BMW’s classic naturally aspirated 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder, as part of an on-going downsizing program at the centre of the company’s much heralded EfficientDynamics initiative.

The new four-cylinder follows the blueprint laid down by BMW’s most recent turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder; it boasts the same 91mm bore centre spacing and runs a twin scroll turbocharger (albeit from Mitsubishi not Borg Warner), Valvetronic variable valve timing, Vanos camshaft control system and latest 200bar direct injection system from Bosch. At 144kg, it also weighs 18kg less than the old naturally aspirated six-cylinder.

What's it like?

First impressions reveal it to be well up to the job. With peak power and torque arriving 1600rpm and 1350rpm earlier than with the old six-cylinder, BMW’s latest four-cylinder doesn’t have to be worked anywhere near as hard before delivering its best.

In every day driving, it is noticeably more responsive, although its non-descript aural attributes are nowhere near as alluring as those of the engine it replaces (something BMW says will be rectified on certain models, including the upcoming Z4sdrive20i, by the addition of a electronic sound generator).

The new BMW engine might give away 12bhp to its perceived predecessor, but it is wonderfully refined and always feels more urgent; with 258lb ft of torque on tap at just 1250rpm its delivery is uncannily like a modern day diesel, with particularly strong low end attributes by four-cylinder standards and impressive flexibility across a wide range of revs. BMW puts the X1xDrive28i’s 50mph to 72mph fourth gear split at just 6.0secs.

Power builds in a smooth, free revving fashion without any hint of turbocharger lag right from the idle onwards. Work it hard and it also revs happily to 7000rpm, although like most modern direct injection engines there’s a distinct lack of engine braking on a trailing throttle; the engine’s powerful electronics package ensures maximum coasting potential is achieved by allowing the revs to fall away.

Should I buy one?

In combination with BMW’s familiar EfficientDynamics features – brake energy recuperation, standard stop/start and an on-demand water pump, it results in a 16 per cent improvement in combined cycle consumption over the old six. CO2 emissions are also cut by 36g/km in manual guise. Efficient, then. But not quite as entertaining.

BMW X1 xDrive 28i

Price: tba; Top Speed: 149mph; 0-62mph: 6.1sec; Economy: 35.8mpg; CO2: 183g/km; Kerb weight: 1580kg; Engine: 4 cyls in-line, 1997cc turbocharged, petrol; Power: 242bhp at 5000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1250rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
24

23 February 2011

Autocar: "something BMW says will be rectified on certain models, including the upcoming Z4sdrive20i, by the addition of a electronic sound generator"

And that sums up everything that is wrong with the modern car.

That aside, BMW continued to impress with their constant improvements in economy, it's just a shame that the 6 banger lump had to be sacrificed because of it.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 February 2011

byyyyyy 'eck it's uglier than a kick in the nuts, innit, though I do realise looks aren't part of the brand obsession equation.

Anyone know what X1 sales figures are doing? I would imagine they are inversely proportional to SpecSavers revenues.

24 February 2011

One point about the X1. Does anyone else think the grille looks too big for the front of the car. I saw one this week that just looked awkward. It works on the X5, even the X3 but grafting it onto a smaller body just looks strange.

BMW are getting like VW with their "one grille for all" designs. Just doesn't work for me, sorry.

24 February 2011

I had copied exactly the same bit of text from this report as Teg to make the same observation.

What the heck? I guess the next step is BMW letting us choose an engine note from iTunes...

Think I'll go and buy a BDA Escort...

Apart from the stupid noise issue, it sounds an amazing engine. Hopefully my next car won't be a diesel! Imagine how effective it will be in the 5 series estate...

24 February 2011

If they could have justified turbo-ing the six they would have, but what with emissions being so in the news these days, turbo-ing a four was the better option,lower CO2, plenty of power and torque.

Peter Cavellini.

25 February 2011

Max power at 5000 rpm????? I thought I was reading about a late 80's Corvette!!!!

25 February 2011

[quote ThwartedEfforts]byyyyyy 'eck it's uglier than a kick in the nuts, innit, though I do realise looks aren't part of the brand obsession equation.[/quote]

Amaizing how tastes differ. Everytime I see one, it gets prettier to me. Also, what I like about this design, is that you never mistake it for anything else other than the X1. Not even another BMW.

I'm always excited when BMW release a new engine - not too crazy about this down scaling, but, I do understand that it is necessary. Every BMW engine is a modern marvle, even if it is smaller.

25 February 2011

[quote Autocar]

What is it?


A good deal more torque, reduced consumption, lower emissions and less weight - but better? Before driving BMW’s new X1xDrive28i, the first model to feature the German car maker’s new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, I wasn’t so sure.


The new unit, known as the N20 and set to head into a whole range of models in the not-too-distant-future, has been conceived to (indirectly) replace one of the landmark engines of our time, BMW’s classic natural...Read the full article

[/quote] Greg should wait & do a full test before believing the economy claims. we ditched our 6 cylinder BM for a 170 bhp 2.0 litre 3 series. BMW claim 41 mpg we get 28.5, the six pot did 27. We wuz robbed. Anybody fancy a gorgeous to look at cheap to insure 3 series with 4000 miles on the clock? Make me an offer, we can't wait to go back to a sportier 6.

25 February 2011

28mpg from a 2 litre as opposed to 27 from a 3.0? I don't get this. Do you not think this is largely down to your driving style? Perhaps flooring it more regularly to try compensate for the lack of relative power? As for the new engine, sounds great as usual. I predict petrol will become considerably cheaper than diesel in the future as demand for diesel continues to increase in the UK. Possibly to the point that petrol becomes the better buy from an economic aspect. Anyone else agree?

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

25 February 2011

[quote n50pap]

BMW are getting like VW with their "one grille for all" designs. Just doesn't work for me, sorry.

[/quote]

Do you mean the double kidney grille, the grille thats been a BMW design signature since time began?!

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run