| 12.4°C Dublin

X-cellent driver but not in snow

WE'RE about as useless as a blizzard-load of Noel Dempseys.

All we need is that first sprinkling of snowflakes and we turn into a nation of drunken pensioners behind the wheel, fumbling, bungling wrecks.

A little bit of the white stuff and we lose the ability to make our way from point A to point B without smashing into every kerb from here to Christendom.

For some reason the simple task of travelling in a straight line becomes the impossible, as we hit those breaks like never before.


We believe that by stamping our right foot up and down on the middle peddle we can master the world of ice, when in fact the opposite is true.

And as bad as the overworked brake-user is the under performing driver.

The one who reduces speed to just over stop, causing havoc for all of us sensible road users who realise that a consistent pace coupled with a good dollop of confidence and we'll be just fine.

Let's be honest, if we're waiting for Noel Dempsey and his ship of fools to come to our rescue, we're sadly mistaken.

Little Noelie will be off sunning his arse on the Med during the next transport catastrophe, and don't doubt it.

The most incompetent Transport Minister of all time, and I include Martin Cullen in that, has thought us one thing -- we have to learn how to drive on the snow, and stop behaving like geriatric grannies.

And similarly, 4x4 drivers will have to learn that they're not infallible either in the artic conditions.

Just because four wheels are better than two, it still don't mean diddly-squat if you hop your jeep or SUV around the countryside.


Take a neighbour of mine who lost the arse of his Range Rover Vogue while hurtling around a bend, before finally regaining composure and steadying himself.

But four wheels are obviously better than two, and at the beginning of the recent polar conditions I took delivery of the latest BMW 4x4 ... .or at least that's what I thought.

I was always of the opinion that any BMW with an X in the title would automatically be a four-wheel drive, and so the super cool X1 was no different.

Not so. Not only was it two wheel drive, but it was rear wheel drive, deeming it ineffective during the icy snap.

I couldn't even get it beyond the gate of my house.

But when I did eventually get her out on the road, and up the hills that dominate my locale, I found it hugely impressive in its handling of the icy roads and of regaining composure during skids.

Now, as I said before confidence is everything on the snow, but obviously your carriage has got to help.

So while not an all-wheel driver the BMW X1 proved itself to be a highly capable performer.

There is some typically hot BMW take off and acceleration and always a great feel to drive.

Behind the wheel that BMW sense of quality is in evidence and the driver position


Looks-wise the BMW X1 is a gorgeous little number, and while a smaller BMW it is, there is plenty of room for all the family on board, about the same as the 3 series saloon.

Engine-wise only the diesel variants will be available to the Irish buyer in the 1.8 litre d, 2.0d and twin-turbo 2.3d sizes.

The pick is the 2.0d xDrive, (yes, that is a 4x4, which pops out 175bhp.

The BMW X1 starts at €33k.