Now with polish and presence

BMW X1

BMW X1

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You may not have been bowled over by the BMW X1 when it first appeared.

I’ll admit to being wholly underwhelmed by its original look and feel, but it was hard to argue with some of its engineering.

The latest generation model improves on the efficiency of the oily bits but gives the car some much-needed polish and presence. There’s no longer that nagging feeling that you’ve overpaid for the badge, the exterior looking a good deal more assured and the cabin significantly more premium.

Spend a little time assessing what has actually changed in terms of feel and it might appear that these changes are mere window dressing, but that last few degrees of presentation was what the X1 so sorely lacked in a market sector where some rivals are quite beautifully turned out.

One area where there is absolutely zero debate about the X1 is economy and emissions. It’s simply astonishing in this regard. Even the most powerful model in the range, the all-wheel drive 218bhp xDrive25d can achieve up to 51.4mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 145g/km. That’s about what we expected for a supermini not so very long ago, yet this is a car with the power to keep a Porsche Boxster on its mettle in a straight line. The real star in the line up is the 163bhp sDrive20d EfficientDynamics which gives 62.8mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of just 119g/km. It’s better on both economy and emissions than an entry level 1.2-litre Vauxhall Corsa.

It’s taken a while, but I reckon the X1 might have finally hit its mark.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: BMW X1

PRICES: £24,660 - £31,860

INSURANCE GROUPS: 22-27

CO2 EMISSIONS: 119-154g/km

PERFORMANCE: [X1 xDrive25d] 0-60 6.5s / top speed 142mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [X1 sDrive20d] (combined) 62.8mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Stability control, ABS with brake assist and EBD, twin front and side and curtain airbags

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height mm 4454/1798/1545