BMW X1 Review & Prices

The BMW X1 is a family SUV with quality tech and a high-end finish. It has been over-streamlined inside though with everything on the touchscreen, and it’s quite pricey

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RRP £35,410 - £53,770 Avg. Carwow saving £1,330 off RRP
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Reviewed by Jack Healy after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • High-quality finish and materials
  • Good space throughout
  • Good to drive everywhere

What's not so good

  • Infotainment too reliant on touchscreen rather than buttons
  • Pricey for a family SUV
  • Folding rear seats down can be a faff

Find out more about the BMW X1

Is the BMW X1 a good car?

The BMW X1 is the entry-level model to the brand’s SUV line-up, but it certainly doesn’t feel small any more. Having grown considerably over the previous version, it’s much like a loaf of uncooked bread that’s just come out of proving before being baked.

Design-wise, the X1 is smart, with squarer kidney grilles than before as well as sharper lines and headlights helping make for a decent looking face. The xLine versions have more rugged styling down the side, while the M Sport specification gives the sportiest-looking car plenty of dark detailing.

The cabin also comes with a stylish finish. There’s a sleek panel holding both the driver’s display and infotainment touchscreen, and the rest of the interior is tidy. Lines across the dashboard are simple, while the centre console holds the main shortcut buttons for the infotainment, as well as a great storage space underneath.

It can feel a bit over-streamlined though, with some shortcuts from the steering wheel being removed and put through multiple touchscreen menus – which can be annoying.

In the back, you get a sliding rear bench to increase boot or passenger space depending on what you need. But when you’re sitting back there, you get plenty of headroom and legroom – even for the tallest adults.

Boot space is also good. Although it isn’t quite as good as the Volvo XC40’s 578 litres, the 540-litre area with the seats all the way back is still better than most of its competitors. The Audi Q3 has 530 litres, while the Mercedes GLA is 495 litres.

Folding down the seats does make for a good flat space, while the X1 also has tie-down points, hooks and some underfloor storage. Shame there isn’t a way to fold the seats down from the boot itself though.

In M Sport trim, the X1 looks excellent being sporty and smart in equal measure. The 23i petrol is the best engine before the plug-in hybrids come into consideration

You get the choice of two diesel and two petrol power options with mild hybrid assistance from release, while two plug-in hybrids will also be available.

Out on the road and the X1 feels composed, comfortable and easy to drive. Despite growing quite a bit for this generation, it doesn’t feel too large around town and, as a small SUV, you can get a slightly raised ride height over a similarly sized hatchback. The steering does have a bit of weight to it, but it’s light enough to make manoeuvring easy.

On the motorway, the X1 continues to feel solid. With petrol engines featuring mild hybrid assistance, you get good economy and there’s decent punch with the electric assistance. With adaptive cruise control available, long distances are no issue, while the sport seats are well padded so you don’t get uncomfortable.

Twisty roads are usually a BMW’s best friend. The X1 isn’t quite as capable as your M3s or M240is, but it manages to grip the road well, and in Sport mode, the steering feels heavier to get a better turn-in. It manages to limit body roll if you do decide to push on, better than alternatives like the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3.

There are few true problems with the X1 as it’s a great family SUV. It may not be the most exciting and has some minor foibles, but it should definitely be on your shortlist if you’re after a more premium-feeling family vehicle.

Check out our BMW deals page to see how much you could save on the latest models, or browse used BMWs from our network of trusted dealers.

If you’re looking to change your car altogether, you can also sell your car through carwow. Dealers will bid on your car, then you pick the best offer before the dealer takes it away.

How much is the BMW X1?

The BMW X1 has a RRP range of £35,410 to £53,770. However, with Carwow you can save on average £1,330. Prices start at £34,382 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £416.

Our most popular versions of the BMW X1 are:

Model version Carwow price from
sDrive 20i MHT Sport 5dr Step Auto £34,382 Compare offers

Compared to its closest alternatives, the X1 is actually pretty affordable. Both the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes GLA come in at a higher price, while the Audi Q3 is around the same money.

However, you need to be careful when adding option packs. Although many of them have essential equipment for some people, they can be quite expensive and drive the price of the X1 up quickly.

Performance and drive comfort

The X1 is a good all-rounder, being both comfy in town and on longer drives, but the steering doesn’t give a lot of feel

In town

The X1, being the most compact BMW SUV, is pretty easy to use around town. It doesn’t feel too large on smaller streets, even though it has grown compared to the previous generation. You get light steering to help with manoeuvring, but the turning circle of 11.7m is down on the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes GLA (11.4m). It’s still more than good enough though.

Despite the large A-pillars blocking some of the view out front, you still get decent all-round visibility – the large wing mirrors and rear window helping out especially.

Suspension is a touch firm, and when you add 20-inch wheels into that, it could even be considered too firm. But on the whole, bumps are rounded off nicely and you can make smooth progress.

You can only get the X1 with an automatic transmission, but it’s a good one so you don’t have any worries with that, and the engines are smooth – the 23i helping with punchiness out of junctions.

If you go for the 25e and 30e plug-in hybrids, you can cruise around on electric power alone for over 50 miles on both, while the punchier 23d diesel will give you decent acceleration away from junctions and lights. The 20i petrol and 18d diesel are more than good enough around town as well, but won’t be as quick at accelerating.

On the motorway

Apart from some engine noise that’s a bit loud when you’re accelerating, motorway driving in the X1 is very simple. With the 23i, you get up to speed swiftly – even if the auto box is a touch laggy – and that helps a lot getting on at junctions.

When cruising, the X1 is good, although there can be some wind noise, and larger wheels do mean you get some tyre roar as well.

You get cruise control as standard to help make long distance driving easier, but you will have to add a rather expensive pack for the pleasure of adaptive cruise control. Annoyingly for that as well, distance control is very fiddly to adjust.

On a twisty road

By no means is the X1 a sporty car, but it handles really nicely. The steering is direct and you can place it easily – it’s just a shame that you get little-to-no feel for grip from the front wheels.

Body control is good when you put it into sport mode, and even in the normal comfort setting the X1 doesn’t lean too much. Sport mode does also improve engine responsiveness and steering weight – both of which enhance the driving experience. You also get fake engine noises piped into the cabin, although that’s a bit of a gimmick in our eyes.

Space and practicality

There aren’t many things wrong with the X1, but the boot is a little underwhelming with either mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid involved

Compared to its alternatives, the X1 has a good deal of storage space up front, with plenty either side in the large door bins, and under the floating centre console. Although only an option, the wireless charging pad sitting below the infotainment screens is also quite useful, while you get two well-sized cup holders.

As with most BMW models, you can get comfortable really easily. The electrical seat controls that are part of the comfort pack give you lots of adjustment, while the steering wheel has reach and angle alteration. The rather chunky steering wheel of the M Sport model can block some of the driver’s display though.

Space in the back seats

As with some other small SUVs, you can slide the rear bench to give you either more legroom or boot space – with 130mm of variation. Even with the seat in its front-most position, you get just enough knee room for an adult, while headroom is consistently good wherever the seats are. You also get some reclination to help you relax on longer drives.

As with the front, you get deep door bins in the back seats – although they aren’t as long – plus nets on the back of the seats, even the sportier M Sport ones. You get two USB-C charging ports to keep your devices topped up too.

Boot space

Compared to its alternatives, the maximum boot space of 550 litres is very good. Only the Volvo XC40 bests it with 578 litres, but the Audi Q3 (530 litres) and Mercedes GLA (495 litres) do lag behind. Having the mild-hybrid models – likely to be the most popular ones – reduces it to 500 litres, while going for the PHEV drops storage by a further 10 litres.

The shape is really useful with a large opening, while the load lip is level with the floor to make loading and unloading really simple. You get some nets, little bins either side and a 12V socket, but no way to fold the seats down from the rear. Annoyingly you need to go round to the seat bases and pull a cloth handle.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The professional look and excellent build quality is classic BMW, but it could be described as a little dull

The cabins of most BMW models are of a high quality, and the X1 continues that trend. You get soft-touch surfaces for all the major touch points, and smooth leatherette or leather on the steering wheel. You will find some scratchier plastics lower down around your legs though.

You also get that choice for the seating, with either the sport or optional comfort seats fitted – while the dashboard can be trimmed in piano black plastic, aluminium effect or wood to change the interior feel.

The look of the cabin is pleasing on the whole, with nice lines and a simple-to-navigate layout. It’s not the most exciting design, but it’s modern and streamlined. In some regards it’s too streamlined, as you don’t get conventional climate control buttons and the driving settings are now buried in menus on the touchscreen, which can be very fiddly to control when you’re on the go.

As the centrepiece of the cabin, the panel on the dashboard holds the two large displays – a 10.7-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 10.25-inch driver’s display. Both are clear and simple enough to navigate, and you can alter the design of the instrument display to show what you need.

You can also configure the infotainment screen, where you can drag and drop the different tiles to make a layout to suit you. The system can be a little laggy though, so you may be better off using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – which can show their navigation apps in the driver’s display if you so choose.

There are some options to choose from, including the comfort pack, a Harmon Kardon sound system and the Driving Assistant pack – although you also need to also tick the box for the Technology pack to even have that included.

MPG, emissions and tax

The X1 has the choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid petrol – all of which have their own merits. For those wanting to get decent tax breaks and spend a lot of time in town, one of the PHEVs – the 25e and 30e – is a good choice, while the petrols – 20i and 23i – are better for shorter stints but are still great over long distances for efficiency. The diesels – 18d and 23d – are definitely for those doing longer journeys consistently.

Both the PHEVs come with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor. The 25e has 245hp, while the 30e has 326hp. Both get over 50 miles of electric range and emissions of 20g/km CO2 or below. Official fuel efficiency is also at over 300mpg for both models, though you’re unlikely to see anything near that unless you charge the electrical system regularly.

When comparing similarly powered diesels to the petrol options, you get around 10mpg of advantage. The diesels come with figures in the mid 50s, while the petrol engines range from the low to mid 40s for efficiency, and the diesel is only £1,000 more than the comparatively powered petrol option. Emissions do also lean in the favour of the diesel engines, but the lower-powered versions of both are quite close. The higher-powered petrol emits significantly more CO2, but has the performance edge.

As mentioned earlier, the PHEV models will likely get you favourable tax breaks if you get one as a company car. But otherwise, the least expensive PHEV starts from more than £40,000, so you’ll need to pay more road tax as a result – even if the emissions are well down compared to the petrol and diesel models.

Safety and security

Through the stringent Euro NCAP testing process, the X1 scored five stars. It scored well in safety assist (92%), child occupant (89%) and adult occupant (86%), while the vulnerable road user level was a little down (75%).

As standard, the X1 gets parking sensors with a reversing camera, attentiveness assist, BMW’s active guard emergency braking system and cruise control, while you can add further assistance systems. You can only add those if you choose the Technology Pack though.

You also get ISOFIX points – with one on the front passenger seat and two on the back row – alongside all-round airbags and alarm system.

Reliability and problems

The previous version of the X1 suffered from many issues, which puts BMW’s reputation as one of the most reliable brands out there into question. We’ll have to see if this latest X1 suffers from the same fate.

With each new BMW you get a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty, and as you can get the X1 as a PHEV, you can get a specific warranty for the battery too. The plug-in also gets a better warranty than the petrol and diesel cars, up to 74,500 miles, up to a maximum of eight years.

Buy or lease the BMW X1 at a price you’ll love
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RRP £35,410 - £53,770 Avg. Carwow saving £1,330 off RRP
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