BMW X1 review

BMW X1

We road test the all-new BMW X1 – the ‘baby’ of the brand’s SUV family is bigger than before, and much better for it…

More than 119,999 BMW X1s have found homes in the UK since the model was launched way back in 2009.

Now it’s time for the third generation, and it’s a much improved proposition in every department.

Size is everything in the modern world and the new X1 is slightly bigger than its popular predecessor (53mm longer, 24mm wider, 44mm higher and 22mm in wheelbase), crucially delivering more space for passengers and their luggage.

BMW X1

So, just as the latest Volkswagen Polo is about the same size as the original Golf, the new X1 isn’t far off the Mk 1 BMW X3.

Sharing the same platform as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV, the overall shape of the Mk 3 X1 is chunkier with a greater road presence.

Up front, the large kidney grille is flanked by slim LED headlights. The side profile sports meaty wheel arches and fared-in door handles, while the rear boasts a pert tailgate, three-dimensional LED lights and underride protection.

Inside, the X1 features BMW’s impressive eighth generation iDrive operating system, which includes a 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 10.25-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster.

BMW X1

The curved screen infotainment system is mainly operated via the touchscreen, voice commands and flush buttons on the steering wheel. There’s no longer a rotary controller next to the gear selector, which may annoy some, along with the general minimalisation of switches, buttons and dials.

Priced from £33,775, the new X1 is available with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines (with an EV range of up to 57 miles), while a flagship all-electric iX1 variant joins the family in early 2023.

BMW expects 66% of UK sales to be pure electric, 14% PHEV and the final 20% split between petrol and diesel.

We had a brief test drive in a prototype iX1, but spent most of our time in the xDrive23i, which features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 48V mild hybrid tech that makes 215bhp and is mated to BMW’s seven-speed Steptronic dual clutch transmission.

BMW iX1

Taking just 7.1 seconds to cover the 0-62mph dash, it delivers a claimed 42.2mpg with CO2 emissions of 151g/km.

The top-of-the range iX1 EV costs substantially more, has a 64.7kWh battery producing 308bhp, a claimed range of up to 272 miles, and it can polish off the 0-62mph sprint in a swift 5.6 seconds.

We tested the AWD xDrive23i in xLine and M Sport trim levels (there’s an entry-level Sport too), and a posh piece of kit it is too, with BMW’s usual top build quality and classy materials.

There’s a commanding view of the road from up front (I would prefer the option of a lower seating position), visibility is good, though the reversing camera (standard on all models, along with front and rear sensors) comes in handy when manoeuvring thanks to the slim tailgate window.

BMW X1

A special mention for the infotainment system, which is slick and sharp, along with the clear head-up display and augmented satellite navigation system which overlays upcoming directions on the touchscreen via big chevron graphics.

Refinement levels in the cabin are impressive, there’s plenty of grunt from the petrol engine, which is only vocal under heavy acceleration, while the sweet-shifting gearbox cracks on effortlessly.

The M Sport comes with adaptive suspension, and frankly the difference is marginal. Overall, the set-up is on the firm side, which is noticeable on bumpier surfaces, but not uncomfortable.

BMW X1

The pay-off is that the X1 delivers a more dynamic driving experience. With an agile feel, body control and grip levels are good in more challenging corners – whether you’re in Personal, Sport or Efficient drive modes. Meanwhile, the steering is light and direct, making town driving a doddle.

It’s worth noting that the M Sport gets shift paddles and the left one activates the Sport Boost, which delivers an extra 19bhp of power (useful for overtakes).

Of course, the iX1 is the one to go for if you can stretch to £52,255 and you have a home charger. It looks just like its petrol, diesel and PHEV siblings, but BMW’s entry-level electric car is a real smoothie.

BMW X1

Faster than it really needs to be (there’s a Sport Boost function too), it’s whisper quiet (once you switch off the irritating Hans Zimmer ‘IconicSounds’ digital soundtrack) and easy to drive.

Despite the fact that it weighs around 400kg more than its ICE stablemates, the boffins at BMW have done a great job hiding it, because the iX1 is nimble and fun.

The iX1 we tested has two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and one the rears. Needless to say, there’s excellent traction and it feels nicely composed.

Whether you go electric or not, BMW’s baby SUV is a practical proposition with plenty of space inside the cabin and superb leg and headroom in the back.

BMW X1

Boot space varies according to the degree of electrification, but peaks at 540 litres for the petrols and diesels (1,600 litres with the 40/20/40-split seats folded).

Finally, the X1 is safe too. Awarded a maximum five stars by  Euro NCAP, it’s packed with safety and driver assistance goodies as standard, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning and speed limit assist, plus an additional centre airbag between the driver and front passenger seats.

Premium rivals include the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus UX and Volvo XC40.

Verdict: The latest-gen BMW X1 goes straight to the top of the class with its winning blend of space, technology, driving engagement and quality. If you’re looking for a classy, compact family SUV, the X1 should head your shortlist.

BMW UK

BMW X1

Meet the shocking pink Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Maserati has teamed up with Mattel Inc’s Barbie to unleash an ultra limited edition Maserati Grecale SUV.

Unveiled as one of the 2022 Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gifts at the luxury retailer’s holiday launch event in Los Angeles, the special Grecale is a work of art designed under the Trident’s Fuoriserie customisation program, which allows car lovers to express their passion and creativity in the creation of their ultimate Italian luxury car.

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Just two Barbie-inspired Maserati Grecale cars will be created and they will be based on the Trofeo spec, complete with powerful 530hp V6 Nettuno engine.

The SUV’s exteriors, adorned with the Barbie logo, are sealed with an iridescent topcoat that reveals an incredible rainbow effect on a beautiful sunny day.

Its sleek black interior features full-leather seats, dashboards, carpets, and doors – accented with pink stitching – as well as branded headrests with the unique “B” badge.

Maserati Grecale Barbie Edition

Apparently 10% of the sales price, said to be around $330,000 (US), will be donated to the Barbie Dream Gap Project – a global initiative that partners with charities to help provide equal opportunities and remove barriers for girls.

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Genesis GV60 review

Genesis GV60

We road test the first pure electric car from the new, upmarket Genesis brand…

Before we begin, let’s start with a quick refresh. Genesis is the luxury arm of the Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia. So, think Lexus/Toyota and DS/Citroen. Only launched in the UK in the summer of 2021, its impressive stable of prestige cars includes saloons, SUVs and an estate.

Up until now, the range hasn’t quite matched up to the equivalents from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The good news for Genesis is that we think the fully electric GV60 will go down as the brand’s breakthrough model.

Genesis GV60

Developed alongside its award-winning cousins, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 is arguably the most successful of the trio in the looks department.

Slightly shorter than the Ioniq 5 and EV6, it’s nicely proportioned with a curvaceously muscular stance and short overhangs. There are flush-fitting door handles along its flowing profile, plus the option of rear-facing cameras instead of conventional door mirrors. Slim, stacked headlights and a broad black grille are highlights up front, while its sexy derrière is a candidate for Rear of the Year.

Priced from £47,005, the new Genesis GV60 is available in three trims (Premium, Sport and Sport Plus) and all versions come with a 77.4kWh battery, but different choices of electric motor.

Genesis GV60

It’s not worth listing the differences between the grades when it comes to goodies. Let’s just say, the GV60 is generously equipped, though obviously you should compare. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the technical differences that matter.

The GV60 Premium gets a single 225bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels, giving up to 321 miles of range.

Sport versions come with dual motors producing a total of 314hp. These cars are four-wheel drive, but range is down to 292 miles.

Genesis GV60

The top-spec GV60 Sport Plus we tested gets a more powerful dual-motor setup that produces an impressive 483bhp in total, though range is down again to a still decent 289 miles on a single charge.

It’s worth noting that there’s a boost button on the Sport Plus which unlocks a 10-second blast of gut-wrenching power. Oh, and those 0-62mph times range from 7.8 seconds for the Premium down to 4.0 seconds for the Sport Plus.

The Genesis GV60 also comes with a state-of-the-art 800-volt electrical system that lets you charge it using ultra rapid 350kw chargers from 10-80% full in just 18 minutes.

Genesis GV60

Alternatively, a 10-80% charge via a more common 50kW connection will take 73 minutes, while a 10-100% boost from an 11kw home wallbox takes seven hours 20 minutes.

The cabin is spacious and faultlessly finished, though it’s worth test-driving the GV60 is you regularly carry taller than average rear passengers because of the sloping roofline.

Two wide 12.3-inch digital screens take care of infotainment duties, but thankfully there’s also a good balance of traditional buttons and dials to easily access commonly used functions.

Genesis GV60

The interior’s party trick is the gorgeous crystal ball in the middle of the centre console (Genesis calls it a ‘Crystal Sphere’) which revolves to reveal a rotating dial with Drive, Reverse, Park etc when the GV60 is ready to go.

The boot has a useful 432-litre capacity to the parcel shelf, expanding to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. There’s also space under the bonnet – the perfect spot to store your charging cables.

My only criticisms of the cabin are that the brushed metal effect used extensively has a plastic feel to it – not unlike a much cheaper Hyundai. Also, visibility through the small rear window isn’t the best, and there’s no wiper.

Genesis GV60

The GV60’s driving position is comfortable, if fairly high, and the car itself certainly feels substantial.

Obviously it’s quiet, refined and very fast. The Sport Plus we tested had adaptive predictive suspension, which uses information from the front camera and navigation system to adjust damping in advance, delivering an impressively comfortable ride.

There’s good body control in corners, but ultimately the GV60’s agility will always be compromised by its width and two-tonne weight. In other words, you’d need some track time to have the confidence to take it close to the limit.

Genesis GV60

That said there’s a serious amount of grip and traction from those epic 21-inch Michelin-shod wheels, so you can still have fun and a play with the various drive modes.

We found Comfort mode does just fine and the GV60 is at its best cruising effortlessly along at the legal limit. Oh, and a special mention for the steering wheel paddles which let you vary the amount of brake regeneration through five levels, from frictionless coasting to one-pedal driving.

Finally, the steering is light and accurate, but there’s not much in the way of feedback, while the brakes are progressive, unlike many EVs.

Genesis GV60

Before we sign off, it’s worth remembering that Genesis is no ordinary brand, offering a completely different VIP ownership experience.

There are no dealerships. Instead, you visit a studio where you can interact with a Genesis Personal Assistant (GPA), who’s under no pressure to make a sale and is employed on a commission-free basis.

It’s hoped the GPA will remain a direct point of contact throughout your ownership experience, delivering cars for test drives and purchases, and collecting your car for servicing (providing a like-for-like Genesis while your car is away).

What’s more, Genesis’s 5-Year Care Plan includes servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy car, mapping and over-the-air software updates.

Verdict: The all-new Genesis GV60 is a class act. Big, practical, comfortable, safe and a joy to drive, it’s one of the best electric crossovers on the market with serious kerb appeal. Add the unique sales and aftercare package and it’s sure to appeal to buyers who prefer the finer things in life.

Genesis

Wraps come off the all-new Polestar 3 SUV

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Polestar 3 SUV

Swedish EV maker Polestar has unveiled its first SUV – a car which is expected to turbo-charge the brand’s sales.

Priced from £79,900, it was also be the first Polestar to be produced on two continents – Chengdu, China and Ridgeville, South Carolina.

Polestar 3 will compete with other electric SUVs in the premium sector, including the Jaguar I-Pace, BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron.

Polestar 3 SUV

It will launch with a dual-motor powertrain, which in standard form produces 483bhp and 618lb ft of torque. That’s enough to power the 2.5-tonne 4×4 from 0-62mph in 5.0sec and on to a top speed of 130mph.

An optional Performance Pack adds an extra 27bhp and 51lb ft, shaving 0.3sec off the 0-62mph sprint.

More importantly to some, the long Range Polestar 3 will have a 111kWh lithium ion battery that has a claimed range of up to 379 miles and a peak charging rate of 250kW. It’s also capable of bidirectional vehicle-to-grid charging and features a heat pump as standard.

Polestar 3 SUV

The car’s rakish profile is reminiscent of a stretched Volvo C40 Recharge, while aerodynamic touches include air channels at the front of the bonnet, plus a raised spoiler at the top of the tailgate.

The materials used inside Polestar 3 have been selected for their sustainability credentials. These include bio-attributed MicroTech, animal welfare-certified leather and fully traceable wool upholsteries.

“Polestar 3 is a powerful electric SUV that appeals to the senses with a distinct, Scandinavian design and excellent driving dynamics,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. 

“It takes our manufacturing footprint to the next level, bringing Polestar production to the United States. We are proud and excited to expand our portfolio as we continue our rapid growth.”

Polestar 3 SUV

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MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

The MG HS has gone from an also-ran to an affordable PHEV frontrunner, ideal for a family – read on to find out why…

Launched in 2019, the MG HS is a worthy mid-sized SUV that has the unenviable task of stealing sales from the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson.

Sitting above the successful ZS in the fast-growing Chinese brand’s range, up until now the HS has only been available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that isn’t class-leading when it comes to pulling power, economy or refinement.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

On the plus side it’s offered big bang for your buck because it’s priced from just £22,995, and it delivers good looks, practicality, space, a pleasant driving experience and generous equipment levels.

Fast forward to 2022 and a plug-in hybrid version has been introduced. Suddenly the HS is a serious contender. Starting at £31,095, it’s one of the best value PHEVs on the market.

Like all plug-in hybrids, it offers the best of both worlds, delivering some of the experience of an EV without any of the associated range anxiety.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

MG has used the same 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the regular HS, but here it works in tandem with a 90KW electric motor (drawing power from a 16.6kWh battery) to give a combined output of 254bhp (and 273 lb ft of torque), enabling it to reach 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 118mph. 

Perhaps more importantly, it has an electric-only range of 32 miles (plenty for most commutes). 

On paper, it’s capable of as much as 155.8mpg if your journeys are modest and you keep your battery charged up, while CO2 emissions are as low as 43g/km. That last figure is crucial for business users because the lower the emissions the higher the tax benefits.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

The MG HS Plug-in Hybrid uses a new 10-speed automatic transmission which works with both the petrol and electric motors to optimise power delivery and efficiency. Power is delivered to the front wheels only (unlike some rivals, an all-wheel drive version is not offered).

As for charging, the battery can be topped up to 100% in 4.5 hours using a 7kW home wallbox.

MG has kept things simple and there are just two trims levels – Excite and Exclusive.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

Standard equipment on the ‘entry-level’ Excite model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, plus a 360-degree camera system. 

Upgrade to the Exclusive and it brings upgraded LED headlights, smart leather sports seats and a panoramic sunroof.

MG Pilot – a suite of driver assistance systems that gives the MG HS one of the most comprehensive safety packages in its class (helping the HS achieve a maximum five-star rating) is also standard.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

In other words, driver assistance and safety aids include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Intelligent Headlight Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection.

MG is best known as a budget brand these days, but the HS is anything but cheap and cheerful.

The cabin is well put together with quality materials (the leather upholstery on the Exclusive model is especially good). It has a solid feel and the doors close with a satisfying clunk.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

The digital driver’s display works well, though the central infotainment screen is a little sluggish and unfortunately also includes the climate controls, which isn’t ideal in hot and cold weather.

There’s plenty of space. In fact, rear passengers have a superb amount of head and legroom. The boot is a decent 448 litres, expanding to 1,375 litres when the 60:40 rear seats are folded.

Like many plug-in hybrid SUVs, it’s at its best cruising along. Most are let down by their gearbox/engine combo which invariably sends the revs shooting up if you put your foot down.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

The MG HS is one of the better ones, but not perfect. More spirited drivers will find it a little hesitant, while the engine can become a little vocal if you floor it.

That said, it’s fine if you take it easy, offering pleasantly refined driving with ample power in reserve for overtaking.

It’s no performance SUV, so don’t go expecting massive amounts of driving engagement, but it covers its brief well and feels substantial and planted.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

The transition from electric to petrol and vice versa is fairly seamless, while running in electric-only mode is beautifully smooth.

The driving position is commanding (though I’d prefer the option to be able to lower the front seats a little more), visibility is good and the ride is comfortable.

Fuel economy will depend on keeping the battery charged up and the length of your journeys, so your visits to the service station for petrol will be few and far between if you complete most of your trips in EV mode.

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review

However, on long journeys where you’re almost totally reliant on the petrol engine, economy can dip below 40mpg.

The good thing about the PHEV system on the MG HS is that it will feed in the electrical assistance, leaving you with a little charge even at the end of a long trip.

Finally a quick mention for the factor which may swing it for many as the cost of living crisis bites – not only is it great value, but the HS offers peace of mind thanks to a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: With the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology, the MG HS is now the tempting family car it could always have been. Comfortable, safe, refined, well built and economical, it’s one of the most affordable PHEV SUVs on the market. 

MG UK

MG HS Plug-in Hybrid review