We drive the baby of BMW's crossover range
Pros: Much-improved interior, frugal diesel engines, well-equipped
Cons: Expensive range-topping models, not an off-roader
With an all-new BMW X3 due to arrive later this year and taking most of the limelight recently, it can be easy to forget about the baby of BMW’s crossover range, the humble X1. The X1 has received a makeover for 2017 and it now shares underpinnings with the new MINI Countryman. This corner of the market is heavily-contested with cars like the Audi Q3, Volkswagen Tiguan and Mercedes-Benz GLA to consider, so can the updated X1 take its stake in the increasingly competitive small premium crossover class?
So, what has changed?
The X1 is available with a choice of front-wheel-drive or xDrive all-wheel-drive, but BMW’s legendary rear-wheel drive-doesn’t feature. We are driving the xDrive18D, which uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with a power output of 150bhp, and this particular example has an optional 8-speed automatic transmission. We were impressed with the X1’s economy during our test, as it returned 44.4 MPG during a varied 700 kilometres of driving.
As far as small SUVs go, the X1 is one of nicest to drive, with smooth power delivery and confident cornering abilities. Those seeking higher performance can opt for higher power 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, but the entry level xDrive18D is a capable unit and should suffice for most buyers. The X1’s ride quality is smooth and comfortable out on the road, but there is a certain amount of road noise from the larger 18-inch alloy wheels on our test car.
Inside, the X1 is much more spacious than before and the finish is of a higher standard. It’s more practical too, with 505 litres of storage space in the boot (85-litres more than before) and a clever double floor arrangement that helps with loading bulkier items. It’s also possible to spec the X1 with optional sliding and reclining rear seats, while the rear seats drop down easily with the touch of a button.
The X1 looks larger from the outside too and that's beacause it is, with a taller and wider stance than the original X1 that was launched back in 2009, while 17-inch alloy wheels are standard across the range. The layout of the driver’s area is reminiscent of the BMW 3 Series and is clearly laid out, though the display isn’t as vibrant as those found in rivals like the latest Audi Q3.
Prices for the new BMW X1 start from €40,440 for the base specification SDrive18D SE model, which is higher than its main rival, the new Audi Q3. There are several different models available in addition to the base specification SE, including Sport, M Sport and xLine, which is the specification in our test car. The xLine range benefits from larger 18-inch alloy wheels, LED interior lighting and a sports steering wheel to mention a few.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The new BMW X1 is a much-improved premium crossover, with enriched interior quality, added space and extra practicality too. The new X1 feels closer-related to the larger X3 and X5 models in BMW’s crossover family that before, and this is mainly due to the new UKL2 platform on which it is based. Not only does the X1 look better and make for a more convincing SUV, but it also drives more convincingly too. That said, the X1's starting prices are quite expensive and it has some very stiff competition to compete with in the new Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA . Our pick of the range would be the xDrive18d withautomatic transmission.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: BMW X1 xDrive18D xLine
Prices from: €40,440
Price as tested: €47,640
Annual Road Tax: €270
Engine: 1995cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Top Speed: 204km/h
0-100km/h: 9.2 seconds
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 505 litres