BMW X1: Agile and aggressive like a Peugeot 3008, but fancier

BMW X1: Agile and aggressive like a Peugeot 3008, but fancier

The previous BMW X1 had everything from the ideal son-in-law. Spacious and flexible like a minivan, it knew how to impress with its roadworthiness and its sober engines. Replacing such a gifted individual is a challenge, but the Bavarian manufacturer managed to blow the style chart. Admittedly, the outgoing generation showed a more contemporary look when it was launched. But the years passed and, above all, its silhouette was found too close to a minivan. So the stylists grabbed the bull by the horns. The new generation, codenamed U11, has done it heavily revised proportions. The grille sees its nostrils enlarged without falling into the excess of the high-end Series 7 and X7. Smarter, BMW wanted to bring its X1 closer to the X5, whose styling is consensus. The hood is more horizontal and the fenders are more pronounced. Finally, the vertical tailgate shows some similarities with the spectacular XM. In short, the X1 masculinizes itself while eschewing shocks. That’s the price of success.

This more massive aspect has only a moderate impact on the dimensions. With a length of 4.50 meters (5 cm longer than the previous generation), this BMW X1, which is considered a compact SUV, is starting to move away from the European concept of a compact car, actually. The wheelbase gained only two small centimeters. This of course benefits livability a bit, but the X1 was already one of the benchmarks in the category. The main feature of this SUV was its modularity, worthy of a minivan, with a three-part sliding and folding seat (optional). This is an asset that the newcomer keeps. The 540-litre boot proves that the X1 has retained the family fibre.

The BMW X1 retains the modularity of a van

Beneath its SUV exterior, the X1 still sports a minivan interior. The statement is all the more true as the dashboard has been carried over entirely from the Series 2 Active Tourer. Aesthetically, we won’t complain: the style and build quality are there. but Ergonomics don’t win. If the curved dual screen shows impeccable resolution, we regret the clutter of the main menu, which stacks the icons with no logical order. Too many buttons are gone, too many shortcuts are missing and it turns out very difficult to find specific features without taking your eyes off the road for a long time. And that’s not just related to the disappearance of the iDrive wheel: the big electric SUV iX retains it, and the ergonomics are just as complex. The organization of the software is much less clear than before, which seems unfortunate.


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