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BMW launches 3rd-gen 1 Series

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Last week, a couple of “entry points” were refreshed and renewed in Munich-based car maker BMW’s local portfolio. Its new X1 SAV (sports activity vehicle, the brand’s appellation for SUV) and all-new 1 Series were exhibited at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. While the 1 Series is an all-new version, the X1 gets heavily updated at what is presumably its generation life-cycle midpoint.

The X1 first sauntered into worldview back in appearance back in 2008 through the Paris Motor Show — capturing attention in a then-burgeoning small ute-crossover scene. The production of the “E84” ran from 2009 to 2015, with the second generation taking over thereafter.

SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (SMCACDC), local BMW distributor, now brings the “F48” into the country following its world premiere at BMW’s #NEXTGen event in Munich last June.

We asked SMCACDC president Spencer Yu In an exclusive interview what these entry points (as far as pricing goes) into the BMW stable have in common with their more illustrious (and expensive brethren). “BMW is about driving dynamics, hence our motto ‘sheer driving pleasure.’ That is one of our hallmarks whether you have the 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series. It’s all about driving. That’s gives you maximum ownership pleasure and joy,” he said. “On top of that we have all the technologies in the car. The numbers don’t tell you the story.”

He describes the X1 as “extremely fuel-efficient and torquey,” something we confirmed for ourselves last year when we took the X1 for a drive in Munich.

SMCACDC brings in only one variant for the X1, the sDrive18d xLine. This is actually a result of listening to what customers want, averred Yu. “They’re after better value,” he said. “We can put in all the options that they want but the price would be very high. We asked them what features are important and unimportant to them… basically, they’re looking for more comfort features — for maybe when they get stuck in traffic.”

Conversations with customers have revealed the following as musts: electronically controlled seats, impressive wheels, a good stereo, and diesel power plant for SUVs. “And people prefer a standard seat over sports seat,” added Yu.

During our aforementioned trip to Germany last year to get acquainted with the new X1, Birte Voorgang, an X1 product manager for the BMW Group, said, “Our target market is very youthful, modern, and active. They live in an urban environment, and like to go outdoors.”

Getting behind the wheel of a diesel-sipping xDrive25d for drive around the periphery of the BMW Group München Zeppelinstraße facility, the vehicle proved sprightly and communicative — its 231hp and 450Nm proved easily reachable even low on the rev band. When on the back row, the X1 surprises with reasonable space and provides large windows with which to admire the undulating roads and unfurling scenery.

The vehicle has been “given a standalone visual presence tailored precisely to its character profile.” Immediately obvious is the larger kidney grille and new front bumper which, Voorgang averred, “(make) the exterior design even more expressive… We’ve integrated the new LED foglights into the now-bigger outer inlets… giving it a broader stance. We have new LED headlights with a more modern hexagonal design.”

On the rear are “new stylistic features” such as a new inlay in the body-color rear apron.

Another highlight is the driver’s-side exterior mirror, which features a puddle lamp which projects an LED “X1” image when the car is unlocked. The X1 sports 18-inch Y-spoke Style 566 light alloy wheels with run-flat tires.

New contrast stitching adorns the instrument panel, which is black on its upper section and adopts the color of the interior upholstery lower down. A high-gloss interior trim is complemented with pearl chrome inserts, and the seats feature standard Sensatec upholstery.

A center-mounted 6.5-inch screen is operated using the BMW iDrive Controller. BMW ConnectedDrive comes standard, and rear passengers can access two USB-C ports located near the rear ventilation. The rear seats can be folded own in three sections (40:20:40) and can slide forward by up to 13 centimeters.

Under the hood of the sDrive18d xLine is an f our-cylinder engine that puts out 150hp and 350 Nm and powers the front wheels. It is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The new X1 is priced at P3.09 million and is available in Alpine White and black. BMW Philippines also extends its usual five-year/200,000-kilometer manufacturer’s warranty.

Yu also said that owners of BMW units 23 months old or younger who bought before the standard five-year warranty can buy additional coverage. “You pay us the warranty, and we pay the warranty to Germany. This is a BMW factory warranty — a factory extension.” Yu also promised that every BMW launched will have the extended warranty as standard.

Angel Rivero

You may remember Angel as Tado's trusty driver 'Erning' from the defunct Filipino satire show, Strangebrew. These days, she enjoys spending her time driving around the country and to distant lands, in search of interesting cuisines and unique adventures. She also occasionally competes in circuit and endurance races. Tama!!

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