There’s a Forum thread elsewhere on this website’s which asks, perhaps not unreasonably: ‘What is the point of the BMW X1?’

The consensus seems to be that, unsurprisingly for a modern BMW, the new soft-roader is a bit of a munter.

Read Matt's first drive of the BMW X1

See the hi-res picture gallery

Last week I went to drive it. And although to my eyes it gets no better looking in the metal, it and the X3 fail - like the hairs that sprout in increasing number and length from my nostrils these days – to shock me as they once did. I fear I have become conditioned.

Is it pointless, though? Certainly, on the surface X1 seems to operate within the confines of a very small niche.

BMW would like us to think of it as a 1-Series Gone Large, and so makes a play of the fact the engines are common to the 1. And although the metalwork of its floor is actually shared with a 3-Series, the X1’s cabin is built down to a price so that it doesn’t step on the X3’s toes.

But does it do enough?