Thursday 29 September 2016

Confident X1 marks the spot

The weather has been pretty poor the last few weeks but Campbell Spray was driving a nifty BMW which could cope

Published 17/01/2016 | 02:30

DRIVE ANYWHERE: The xDrive in the well-equipped BMW X1 means it has full utility use
DRIVE ANYWHERE: The xDrive in the well-equipped BMW X1 means it has full utility use

The second Christmas after we moved in to our house in Phibsborough there was awful snow.

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The pavements were dangerous, the roads were worse and little seemed to be done to make it better. Unfortunately at that time I was road testing the new BMW 5 Series. It wasn't pretty.

Like many BMW drivers that year I found that a powerful rear-wheel drive car with ordinary tyres was nigh-on useless in the snow. Very quickly we abandoned the Beemer in the garage and used my partner's car which was then a Nissan Micra. We were safe and mobile.

Marques like Subaru rightly quickly capitalised on their all-weather ability. Although many purchasers then have been waiting for a long time to get back in real snow. I know that the metal grips for our shoes, which we spent weeks looking for, have remained unused in storage under the hall seat. Probably when we take them out, the rubber will have failed.

For the first time since then, I was driving a BMW over the festive season. And what a difference it made. This time the two cars I was driving over consecutive weeks were fitted with the X-Drive system which gave full AWD capacity. It meant that during the floods and very heavy rainfall we could happily drive down some very tricky roads and then last Sunday we could confidently head into the Dublin and Wicklow mountains to go for a decent trudge in the snow, much to the delight of our dog Sam who kept rolling in it.

This weekend I am again driving a BMW but this time it only has rear-wheel drive and the forecast isn't good. I'll return to it in a couple of weeks but first let me praise the BMWX1 xDrive20d xLine I was driving over Christmas. The new X1 is a great improvement over its predecessor which still managed to sell some 730,000 units. It's more like a mini X5 and is built on the 3-Series platform but configured to give excellent room for both passengers and luggage. It's not the 1-Series by any means. The whole car exudes a quality other manufacturers will never achieve.

The car was incredibly well-equipped, perhaps reflecting that when people are buying on PCPs they can be easily "upsold" to buy a lot of options for a relatively reasonable monthly amount. The basic cost of the vehicle was €53,520, but extras including the navigation, glass sunroof and technology package pushed the price to a Twix bar short of €63,000. There was little wrong with the X1 except rather thin seats in the back and the price. I'd love one, it rekindled my feelings for the marque.

Sunday Independent

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