|June 20, 2013 Follow us Like us|
The adventurous lifestyle
Sarah MacKenzie hops across the Tasman Sea to sample the refreshed 2013 BMW X1, an SUV ideal for the young adventurous couple
What better way to experience the new BMW X1 than to jet across to Brisbane and drive through the Queensland outback on a pleasantly balmy summer’s day?
The beautiful mountains just minutes from tourist hot-spot, the Gold Coast, were the perfect setting to test drive the newly released mid-life update of the X1, and it was the ideal time to get out of the city for a day. Let’s just say the annual party event centred in the heart of the Gold Coast, better known as ‘Schoolies,’ isn’t exactly the place to be once you have graduated from your teens.
The X1 was originally launched in 2009 and pioneered the Sports Activity Vehicle segment, which has now become one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide. BMW is seeking to appeal to youthfully minded customers with active lifestyles with the X1. This mid-life facelift has focused on enhancing the design of both the interior and exterior of the car as well as introducing an eight-speed auto—a six-speed manual is available by special order—with start–stop and brake energy regeneration to maximize fuel usage.
The new X1, an SUV tailor-made and marketed toward active-minded people with a desire to travel to far-reaching places for a spot of kite-surfing or mountain biking handled well on the uphill and often uneven terrain. Its suitability to all conditions encountered on the test drive, while still appearing stylish and relatively compact, is impressive.
Setting off inland towards Mt Tambourine through parklands full of ever-present eucalyptus trees was an ideal counterpoint to the excitable, young partygoers that had taken over Surfers’ Paradise. A sweeping panoramic view of the numerous hotels lining the coast greeted us at the top of the first ridge above the city of Nerang. The car handled the transition from busy city roads to precarious mountain trails with ease.
We happened upon a scene reminiscent of the X1 marketing campaign while cruising through the mountainous outback. Paragliders throwing themselves into the air over a valley of wilderness were a reminder of just how suitable this car would be for adventurous people. Especially considering the versatility of the rear seatback, which includes a 30-degree range of movement, meaning the luggage space can vary between 360 and 480 litres. BMW says this new feature allows diverse uses with modern functionality, i.e. the perfect solution for transporting equipment such as a folded up parachute.
The drive continued south through Springbrook National Park where warnings to be aware of koala and wallabies on the road were present every few kilometres. We eventually crossed the border to New South Wales on a windy, non-marked road surrounded by tree-covered hills.
Arriving at the picturesque Mavis’s Kitchen at the base of Mount Warning in Tweed Valley for lunch was a welcome break. While the advanced air-conditioning feature in the X1 with dual control in the front was ideal while driving, the chance to enjoy some real heat, with the temperature peaking at 30 degrees mid-afternoon, was lovely. The restaurant, a local landmark relocated from Brisbane Road in 2007, is positioned almost in the middle of nowhere, but was buzzing with custom on a Friday—always a good sign.
The second half of the journey saw us driving southbound through vast banana plantations and bush, peppered with brightly coloured hibiscus flowers. The built-in satellite navigation system came in handy and was very easy to use, by both the driver and front seat passenger. Next we headed northeast to the coast where occasional glimpses of isolated beaches home to a lucky few surfers could be caught through the trees. The last leg saw a return inland through Murwillumbah and on north to Currumbin Valley eventually ending the drive at the Gold Coast airport.
Although prices of the BMW X1 have nudged up, now NZ$65,600 to NZ$87,000 depending on the variation of car, specifications have increased as well. The exterior of the car now appears more luxurious, thanks to less black plastic and smaller headlights, and along with the new metallic colours available, there are also high-quality alloy wheels, with 19 inch as an option. The cabin is also more driver-oriented and has a higher quality feel with attention to design detail.
As a young, female city-dweller, the BMW X1 is probably not the most practical option for me personally. However, the steering assistance designed specifically for inner-city manœuvring, as well as the low fuel consumption considering the power of the vehicle, is appealing. BMW offers two variations on the petrol and diesel models, the xLine and the Sport Line. Each is slightly different and allows the consumer to have more choice of both interior and exterior elements resulting in a more personalized car. The ability to choose design aspects, along with the lifestyle associated with the car caters to a feminine perspective; however the increased space and dynamic qualities would appeal to any male. The car seems ideally suited to a young adventurous couple looking to explore beaches to ski fields and everything in between. •
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Sarah MacKenzie is a writer for Lucire.