Good looks has been a big part of BMW£€™s sales success but it was the German company£€™s reputation for engineering that made a hit of even the pug-ugly X1.
Launched in 2009, here was a car that had the usual £€˜magic£€™ BMW driving appeal but looked utilitarian.
The new second generation has spent longer in front of the mirror but will have to go some to beat the 41,000 sales notched up by the old car in the UK.
Generation One was surprisingly sporty, but Gen Two is on another planet for driving ability.
It is built on the same chassis/platform as the 2-Series and latest Mini and that means it corners like quicksilver. Such agility, and a choice of four new engines, one petrol, three turbo-diesel, could see UK sales surge to 10,000 cars a year.
And that£€™s despite prices that start at £26,780 for the sDrive18d SE which only comes with front wheel drive. All wheel drive starts at £27,500 for the xDrive 18d SE with 148bhp. Despite the badge the engine is 2-litres and also comes in 187 and 228bhp form. The later, badged 25d is seriously quick with 0-62mph in a sports car like 6.6 seconds and 146mph top speed.
We also drove the187bhp version and were well impressed with its smoothest, refinement and potential fuel economy. You can have a six-speed manual gearbox yourself or an eight speed automatic.
The X1 responds well to steering. BMW says reducing the weight of the diesel engines has helped here. Cornering stability is impressive. From inside the car with windows closed you would barely believe there was an oil burner hammering away.
Few saloons are as hushed on these roads near Malaga, Spain and even on standard road tyres the electronics did a great job on a steep, dusty test track, tackling terrain I can£€™t imagine owners ever risking. The cabin is quality, from the high definition satellite navigation system to the stitching on the leather seats, to the super clear instruments; though they barely got a look thanks to the excellent head-up display.
This projects speed, road signs and navigation instructions on to the windscreen so you don£€™t have to take your eyes off the road. The X1 is a completely new effort with more interior space.
Up front the radiator grille is 50% bigger for greater road presence and behind it are flaps which don£€™t open for cooling until the engine warms up for better fuel consumption.
The LED lights have have a cornering function.
Distinctive four corona ring headlights are part of the car£€™s night time look and satellite navigation is standard. An electric tailgate is standard and you can do the wave your foot under the bumper thing to trigger it to open if your hands are full.
Boot space at 505 litres volume is up by a quarter and you can easily fold the rear seats at the push of a button. A sliding rear seat, so you can increase carrying capacity by another quarter, is an extra £195. SE spec includes alloy wheels dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone connection, digital radio, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
Sport models have bigger alloys, narrower sports seats and more luxurious interior trim. New xline versions have LED headlamps, leather seats and LED interior lighting.
The driving position has been raised by 40mm and ground clearance increased to 183mm for off road work. Rear legroom has been enlarged so now the X1 has the best boot and rear seat space in this class.
Verdict The SUV that feels like a sporty hatch