BMW X1 long term test: report 4

Our chief photographer needs a practical car that can cope with heavy lifting during the week but knows how to have fun after working hours. Does the BMW X1 deliver?...

BMW X1 long-term infotainment

The car BMW X1 xDrive23i MHT M Sport Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer

Why it’s here To see if this premium family SUV can cut it as a workhorse from Monday to Friday and an entertainer at the weekend

Needs to Carry heavy, bulky equipment all over the country while being comfy, safe, economical and fun on the right road

Mileage 6436 List price £41,470 Target Price £40,663 Price as tested £47,495 Test economy 37.8mpg Official economy 42.2mpg 

24 April 2023 – Focusing on usability

Using my BMW X1's infotainment system reminds me of how photographers like me tend to be very loyal to a specific brand of camera. 

How so? Well, I’m a Nikon man, and switching to a Canon or a Sony would probably have me feeling confused and disorientated; I'd have to get used to controls not being where I expect them to be. Likewise, in a BMW, I expect to find the brand's iDrive rotary controller nestled between the front seats, giving me a physical means of operating the infotainment system without using the touchscreen, but the X1 goes without.

BMW X1 long-term navigation system

Fortunately, the screen is clear and bright and the menus are easy to follow, but entering a navigation address by touch is too fiddly to attempt unless you're at a standstill. It's just as well, then, that there's a voice recognition system, and it works very well; after touching the screen icon or a steering wheel button, or saying “Hey BMW”, I can simply dictate the address, and it doesn’t seem to struggle with my Herefordshire accent.

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