And Mister Clarkson is back……In its usual language and writing style, Clarkson takes another stab at BMW and as expected by us, he is very much so against the BMW X1, just to put in a few nice words.
Not built for everyone, the BMW X1 came to the market to fill a gap, an entry level SAV that is highly fuel efficient, and that replaces the X3 at the bottom of the X-family. Not the most fun car to drive nor the most spacious, but with a defined demographic, especially in Europe.
With this being said, let’s see what Clarkson had to say:
I felt BMW might be able to pull off a bit of a winner, then. It had learnt some lessons with the woeful X3 and it really has got styling worked out these days. Plus, BMWs are almost always better to drive than any of the cars with which they compete.
Sadly, I was to be disappointed. First of all, the X1 looks like a Hyundai that’s been subjected to a thousand years of wind erosion. It’s dreary. And it’s much the same story on the inside, where you are greeted with lots of extremely scratchy plastic and almost no equipment at all. You want a built-in sat nav system? Well, tough.
Rigid ride? Seats less comfy than Ford Galaxy?
It’s very uncomfortable as well. The ride is much too rigid and the seats are very nearly as firm as those fitted to a Ford Galaxy. Which means they are hard enough to shape diamonds. That’s nice if you actually want to shape diamonds, but if you just want a comfy place to sit while you go home, the X1 won’t do.
Off-road work? Well, yes, there is a four-wheel-drive version, which should be all right on farm tracks and the like, but the car I drove was fitted with something called sDrive. That sounds exciting. It sounds like the sort of system Captain Scarlet would have used to fight the Mysterons. But no. For some extraordinary reason, sDrive means rear-wheel drive.
…but he likes the RWD
Now I like rear-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive makes a car feel better balanced than front-wheel drive, or even four-wheel drive. It’s right that the front wheels do the steering and those at the rear the propulsion. It’s why BMWs always feel so proper. But I can’t see the point of such a system in a tall car with the engine from a canal boat under the bonnet.
And here comes the slam..1 out of 5 stars
It robs space, adds cost and means that if we get another snowy winter, you won’t even get out of your drive. I fear the marketing men have insisted this car has rear drive even though it makes no sense at all. The whole package doesn’t, if I’m honest.
If it were a book, it would have no plot and a stupid cover and it would fall to pieces in the sun. But it isn’t a book. And neither is it a car. It’s rubbish.
Now this is all fair game and clearly, once again, this is not a car for everyone and we have not yet fully embraced it either, but what we would really wanted to see from Clarkson was a comparison against the competitors, a far more logic approach before the guillotine is sent down.