For those of you from NA/Europe, you may probably not realise it, but for a middle class Indian kid growing up in the 1990s, the last 15-20 odd years have been nothing less than a roller coaster ride from Alpha Centauri to the sun...
We got our bootlegged tapes VHS tapes of Enter the Dragon in the late 80s and our Atari 2600s in the early 90s .. To a point in time now where BMW launches their (admittedly oddball) offerings like the X1 before they see the North American shores...
Anyway, to cut a long story short, let me get to what I am so thrilled abt today..
And the text you read below was typed out for an Indian auto forum, so there may be some contextual misses from your POC that I haven't really clarified
My first car, an Opel Corsa (Vauxhall Corsa in GB) was lovingly called Basanti (look up a movie called sholay on imdb if you do not know who or what Basanti is :P) .. The next one (Suzuki SX4 ) was logically termed Basanti Redux..
Still trying to figure out what to call this one though.. Basanti strikes back.. or revenge of the Basanti maybe?
Nomenclature/Christening stories apart, took delivery of this gal last evening..
Although I am an atheist , the Bavaria Motors sales team (Pune, India) arranged for a small Hindu pooja ceremony at the time of delivery.. Teeka, chandan,nariyal.. In short, the works (the terms mentioned earlier are intrinsic parts of a Hindu ward off all evil initiation ceremony..
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Didn't consider many other options before zeroing in on this one..
When the X1 had come out originally in 2010, I was somewhat interested in it but the negative reviews in the Indian press kind of put me off
When the Q3 came out, I called the Audi guys but was put off by the lackadaisical attitude of the Audi sales staff and , ahem, the sloppy steering
Next Asked the BMW guys to come for a Test Drive, drove it, loved it
So a TD of the Q3 apart, I did't TD any other before finalising the decision..
This one is the s20d Corporate edition variant (no sun roof/nav screen/sensatec seats instead of leather.. but does have the 6 speed AT/electric seats/BMW professional audio)
Since the facelifted version with the 8 speed gearbox is due in India soon, there are some good discounts available on the current stock if you haggle well enough
Just returned from a lazy brunch in the western Ghats (ghats = hindi for rolling hills) and first impressions:
- The power reserves are lovely.. my old suzuki used to climb up beyond 120 (km/hr) at a snail's pace. This one just begs for the throttle to be pushed (playing it safe during the run-in period though)
- The handling is , as expected from a RWD BMW, par excellence
- Space - The long wheelbase ensures that the interior space for both driver & rear passengers is more than adequate - Please note that I am not comparing this against people movers/7 seaters .. Its just a comparison between this and other 4 seater cars/cross-overs (surprisingly, most Indian car magazines have gutted the x1 on this front - Not quite sure why)
- No evident cost cutting - Barring a few hard plastic parts in the rear/boot, the interiors are quite plush (not audi class though).. fancy add-ons (which aren't standard on base X3s in the UK/Europe) are par for course including electric seats/auto dimming mirrors
- The auto sensing air recirculator on the HVAC
- The mileage - 14.5 km/l on a 2L engine so far for the 200 odd kms driven since y'day.. only 70 was in city traffic though so too early to comment.. Guess the regenerative braking is not as gimmicky as it sounds
- The auto gearshift is much quicker than what I had expected - although for some odd reason , BMW doesn't offer a manual option
- the fact that the BMW Roadside assistance program extends to some long neglected/remote areas of the country..
Was pleasantly surprised to see Motihari/Bettiah feature in the list of covered locations..
(For those who do not know where these towns are, they are at the cusp of the east India/Nepal border close to the Himalayan foothills - And that's where home is)
- Doesn't feel unwieldy at all in city traffic.. Within two days of driving, I am almost as comfortable in squeezing though corners as I was on the SX4
- somewhat harsh ride - a lot of criticism has been poured over practically all BMWs for this.. Coming from a SX4 (which has a similar suspension setup) and an existing corsa (soft & pliant), I find the hard suspension option preferable.. Might not be everyone's cup of tea though
- the steering - same as above.. i prefer a heavy steering
The Not so good
- somewhat Cramped footwell
- Lack of key proximity access
- No cruise control - not that bad a miss, but would have liked this on the Bby- Pune xpwy
- No option to add a sunroof without adding a massive premium
- The engine sounds noisier than the 320d on the outside (pretty well insulated interiors though)
Oh, and before you start wondering what that garland up front is for - that's just another way of expressing joy in India
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