More Off-Roading in a BMW X1

by Bimmerfest.com Member - MiniMike20 on June 13, 2017, 3:21 pm
Four trips, four amazing experiences! Here is a little feedback report I posted on my local 4x4 Club Facebook Page:

When you buy a car you have needs and you have priorities and you have an idea of what you expect of a car.

If you buy a 4WD Renault Duster you are buying possibly the most value for money, brilliantly capable off-roader available. When you buy a Hilux, you are buying into a model group of vehicles so well proven you cant possibly have any doubt about its capability, the same applies for the Fortuner.

An older generation Discover, or current Wrangler are brilliant off road machines - Affordable and fun to modify, loads of knowledgeable suppliers to back your every move, to advise, to teach you.

I have not quite had that experience so far. Most people think I am crazy to take my car off road, if I ask a question I get told "buy a proper off roader" or "you need a truck". I do think that is fair though, but then its a good thing we dont all like the same thing.

When I bought the X1, I had spent weeks agonizing over every detail. Every Youtube Clip, every review, every post about its capability and every comment was read time after time after time, I obsessed. Even when I got the car I still sat at home stressing, how does it work, what tells the Xdrive to activate, what if it gets stuck, will people laugh at me?

The first time I took this car off road it was terrifying, so far its done:

Dirt & Dust (Dry and Muddy)
Melkbos 4x4 (Obstacles and Trail)
Theewaterskloof Dam (our biggest local dam currently at 10% capacity in drought)

The car has taken some hits, but more than that it has proven to be absolutely astonishing off road. Keep in mind I am a novice, I basically dont know anything about off road. I have had to learn how to use my car, figure out when and how the Xdrive works, learn how to force it to hold a gear and much more in the last 4 trips its done.

There has not been a moment where I thought "this is a piece of crap". There have been moments where I have chanced it, moments where I have thought oh great time to get pulled out again, wheres the closest real SUV, and moments where I sit amazed that my slightly raised mommy wagon is completely out of its comfort zone and absolutely killing it!

I have come to appreciate that as a piece of engineering it was never designed to tackle obstacles and yet it does. It does it with a bit more drama, but then it is running high performance run flats at 2.6 bar, its hardly in the right state of mind to be off road - I imagine a group of Pirelli engineers cringing every time I post pictures of this car.

This trip to dirt & dust in the wet has highlighted and finally settled any concern I have. The X1 is excellent, its hardy, its robust and it isn't half as sensitive off road as we might all believe. Playing in the mud I managed to damage the front bumper by bending in the plate that supports it - I got home, took the bumper off and bent the plate straight, fitment as good as new.

My better half and I had a heart to heart - We both love this car so a plan was hatched:

1. Order Eibach Lift Kit (30mm minimum raise) DONE, ARRIVES IN 3 MONTHS.
2. Create Template for new nose plate. DONE
3. Order new Arch Liner and Install along with new nose plate.
4. Source 235/55/18 GEO12's & Test Fit for better traction.
5. Software Mapping to take power up to 195kw & 500nm. READ DONE, JUST NEED TO FLASH IT.
6. Have fun.

Ground Clearance will go from 7 inches to 9.2 inches, the new nose plate will protect and strengthen the very weak from bumper, no more worrying and more capability.

So fun fact - Mine will be the only lifted X1 in South Africa.





































I have a few more trip reports I can post up, more than happy to share, we need more off roading in here!

Mike



Leave a Comment

You must be a registered member to comment on stories. Please take a moment to register for your free account now. If you already have an account, log in using fields below.










13 responses to More Off-Roading in a BMW X1

BMWBig6 commented:
June 14, 2017, 3:32 pm

Fantastic!
dougefish commented:
June 15, 2017, 3:19 pm

This is fantastic. Excited to see what you come up with.
x3rockhound commented:
June 24, 2017, 5:55 pm

Hey Mike. Duncan from Montana, USA. The lift kit you mentioned, do they make it for the x3 as well? Who is installing it for you? A BMW dealership? I am looking to gain a couple inches of clearance myself and am also wondering if you ever tried adding taller tires, or heard of that possibility. Hey thanks. Any info you might have would be greatly appreciated. I posted a new thread on the x3 forum this morning, have had 79 views, but no one has yet given me any info. Maybe they think I'm insane for wanting to do this, but I really need the clearance in the mountains and deserts. Cheers.

Duncan
MiniMike20 commented:
June 25, 2017, 12:52 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by x3rockhound View Post
Hey Mike. Duncan from Montana, USA. The lift kit you mentioned, do they make it for the x3 as well? Who is installing it for you? A BMW dealership? I am looking to gain a couple inches of clearance myself and am also wondering if you ever tried adding taller tires, or heard of that possibility. Hey thanks. Any info you might have would be greatly appreciated. I posted a new thread on the x3 forum this morning, have had 79 views, but no one has yet given me any info. Maybe they think I'm insane for wanting to do this, but I really need the clearance in the mountains and deserts. Cheers.

Duncan
Hi Duncan

The lift kit is manufactured by Eibach, who are very well recognised.

They do appear to make the kit for the X3, gains in ride height and the like will be identical to the X1 kit I am getting. Some info: http://eibach.com/m-global/global/en...w-pro-lift-kit

On the X1 I can go from a 225/45/18 to a 235/55/18 but without the lift kit it will rub - General consensus among those who have done the kit and tyre change is that a total increase of around 2.2 inches is achievable with both.

For me the biggest gain is on trails with high centers and for approach angles as the X1 has a rather pointy nose. Apparently reviewers also suggested the ride quality was improved which given the crashy suspension in the X1 I look forward to it.

Mike
x3rockhound commented:
June 25, 2017, 3:55 pm

Mike,

Thanks a lot for the link to the lift-kit. I emailed them with some questions. Does BMW itself approve, or do they have concerns about it? Is it a simple install, or do certain other modifications need to be made to properly accept the kit? Are you going to install your's yourself, or have a dealership, or private mechanic group do your's? Will you keep run flats on there, or have you opted for "normal" tires? Thanks so much.

Duncan
MiniMike20 commented:
June 26, 2017, 5:17 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by x3rockhound View Post
Mike,

Thanks a lot for the link to the lift-kit. I emailed them with some questions. Does BMW itself approve, or do they have concerns about it? Is it a simple install, or do certain other modifications need to be made to properly accept the kit? Are you going to install your's yourself, or have a dealership, or private mechanic group do your's? Will you keep run flats on there, or have you opted for "normal" tires? Thanks so much.

Duncan
BMW does not approve any modification, with that said, Eibach is a Le Man supplier to Audi and Porsche so the kit is proper quality, you have complete peace of mind there.

It is a simple install, its 4 springs, the rears being the easiest to do, fronts take a bit longer, mine will be installed by a 4x4 fitment centre that is used to doing this kind of work, the kit is 100% plug and play, no modifications required.

I am still on Pirelli runflats which have around 10 000km left on them, will go non run-flat when I replace them and go for the bigger profile.

Mike
MiniMike20 commented:
June 26, 2017, 5:23 am

We went out again yesterday, had so much fun! The front bumper is a design F-up, there is no graceful way to approach (or reverse off) obstacles without it falling apart, really need that metal plate to arrive ASAP!

Cosmetic Damage I have plenty of - Lost all the plastic covers under the car on a trail, lost the front of the right front arch liner, ripped the bumper off, dented the bumper in, bent the metal bracket for the bumper in half, had loads of cosmetic oddities including scrapping a 5-7cm wide full circle chunk out of the on rim inside, its part of the fun, and the parts are not exorbitant to replace.













All good fun!

Mike
x3rockhound commented:
June 26, 2017, 9:19 am

Mike, thanks. I will order a kit today. This is really, really good news.

Duncan
ImolaRedM commented:
June 27, 2017, 6:54 pm

Cute.
x3rockhound commented:
July 10, 2017, 10:15 am

Mike,

Bought the kit on eBay. Asked the german distributor their thoughts on taller tires. They said:


New message from: tunershop-worldwide (14,630YellowShooting Star)
Hi Duncan,
The Pro Lift Kit is right for your car. It raises 30 mm. To your plans I won´t tell anything as you can hopefully understand. Enlarging the tires will of course change the functionality of your speedometer and might make problems with the BMW 4wd electronics. But good luck.
bye

.....so, what do you make of it? Are you concerned at all about tall tires mucking up your x1's 4x4 electronics?? Have you researched possible negative consequences of this wonderful scheme of lift springs and tall tires?? I'm committed on the Eibach springs, and fervently hoping I can get away with taller tires, too....

Cheers,

Duncan
the kidd commented:
July 12, 2017, 7:29 pm

This is awesome! I love hearing stories like this. Great job
x3rockhound commented:
July 13, 2017, 9:52 am

PLEASE, read the whole thing, like the warning from Eibach and their caution of taller tires trashing the x-drive ..... what do YOU think? You are my ground clearance guru.... I don't want to buy a set of tall, expensive tires if it won't work.
nbercasio commented:
July 14, 2017, 4:14 pm



I drove my X1 Sports in Corolla Beach, NC that is open for 4x4 access only two weeks ago. Wow, what a joy to ride along the beach! The AWD performed flawlessly. Soft fluffy sand, no problem at all! I did not remove any tire air at all. People with 4x4 were staring at us, some of them giving us thumbs up. Anyone from US East Coast with X1 AWD, go and enjoy driving along the beach at https://www.outerbanks.com/driving-on-the-beach.html

Of course, after the trip, we took the car for a major car wash.

I enjoyed reading your experience off roading!