Wired up

The new BMW X1 PHEV adds plenty of charge to the X range, says Tonio Darmanin

The X one is the smallest member of the BMW X family and what started as a raised 1 Series in 2009 eventually became a full member of the X range in 2015 using the UKL2 platform.

Today we are driving the latest model which not only features a facelift but also introduces for the first time a PHEV option. In fact the car being tested is the X1 X Drive 25e plug-in hybrid.

On the exterior the facelift includes a new front bumper design and, as expected, a larger kidney grille. There is also new headline design and square fog lamps, new alloy wheel ranging from 17- to 19-inch and new full LED tail light design.

This car features the M Sport package which means it is 10mm lower than the standard model, has larger disc brakes, larger air intake (albeit fake) and a sportier stance all around. There is also a range of new colours to choose from.

The changes on the inside are not too dramatic – this is typical of BMW being relatively conservative, but it works well for customers in general. The new additions include 6.5-, 8.8- and 10.25-inch touchscreen options, good infotainment system, brilliant materials and ergonomics.

Seating position is surprisingly low, not as high as the X3 but closer to the 1 Series. Headroom is good as is general visibility. Excellent legroom at the rear is enabled by the fact that the transverse mounted engine allows for more interior space.

Since we are looking at the hybrid version of the new X 1, the battery is located under the rear bench so you effectively sit a bit higher and you also lose some storage space (some 55 litres) from the luggage. This however remains reasonably spacious at 450 litres.

The hybrid system consists of a three cylinder 1.5-litre petrol combustion engine on the front developing 123bhp and 220 Nm of torque. This is combined with an electric motor at the rear offering an additional 94 bop and 165 Nm of torque.

Combined the X1 PHEV produces 217bhp and 385Nm of torque accelerating to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds but at the same time capable of covering up to 57 kilometres in pure electric mode.

The default setting is auto e drive which means that you start up and drive off on electric power. If you wish to, in Malta you can drive virtually all the time in electric mode, particularly if you charge the battery daily since our distances are generally quite short.

However the car adjusts automatically and the interchange between electric motor and combustion engine happens seamlessly, as per your driving requirements.

There are different driving modes from max e drive – only electric – to save battery mode which you can use on long highway-speed distances to save the battery for when you are driving in slow city traffic.

“In Malta you can drive virtually all the time in electric mode, particularly if you charge the battery daily”

One of the main benefits of PHEV is the fact that the car is treated as an electric vehicle so there is no registration tax payable on it and the government gives a €6,000 grant on the vehicle. You will get an additional €1,000 if you scrap an older vehicle.

Video: Paqpaq
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