BMW X1 (2009-2015) Review

The BMW X1 is a small SUV with sporty aspirations that is now in its second generation. It’s up against strong competition in the face of the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Lexus NX.


This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Fun to drive
  • Powerful engines
  • High-quality interior

What's not so good

  • Firm ride
  • Expensive options
  • Lots of cheaper rivals

BMW X1 (2009-2015): what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

The X1 interior is mostly the same as in the 2 Series Active Tourer – it is made from high quality materials and feels robust. Seats have been raised over the previous model and now offer superb all-round visibility.

As with any other BMW, the X1 is really good to drive. It has a lot of grip, thanks to its optional four-wheel-drive system and goes around bends with minimal body roll at speeds way higher than what a small SUV should be able to.

The engines powering the X1 combine power and fuel economy like no rival. The addition of the new eight-speed automatic gearbox makes it even cheaper to run.

It has a lot going for it – quality, desirabliity and a great driving experience

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The X1 is particularly well equipped in entry-level form – untypical for BMW. It gets the iDrive 6.5-inch infotainment and satellite navigation system, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and an electrically operated boot.

Our dimensions and colours guides can help you to spec the perfect BMW X1 or check out the upcoming X2 Coupe SUV in our dedicated price, specs and release date article.

What's it like inside?

The X1 interior is heavily influenced by the one in the 2 Series Gran Tourer and it’s equally well made and solid.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

Thanks to being based on the same platform as the Mini, the new X1 shares the 2 Series Gran Tourer’s excellent driving dynamics.

The engine line-up consist of three diesels and one petrol – all turbocharged and all under £130 a year to tax. There is a choice between a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic. The auto is recommended by reviewers for its fast and refined operation.

BMW X1 diesel engines

All of the diesels are 2.0-litres in size but come in different power levels. The 18d has 150hp, can return a fuel economy of 68.9mpg and costs £30 to tax a year.

BMW X1 xDrive

The 18d is front-wheel-drive only and if you want the extra grip of the xDrive then opt for the 20d model that isn’t far off in terms of running costs – fuel economy for it sits at 57.6mpg and it costs £110 a year to tax. The top of the range 25d can do 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds while returning a combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg. It emits 132g/km of CO2 so it will cost £130 a year to tax.

BMW X1 petrol engines

The only petrol engine is also a 2.0-litre developing 190hp, but with fuel economy of 44.8mpg and costing £145 a year to tax it’s no match for the diesels in terms of running costs. However, it is an eager and silent engine and if you plan on using the X1 for short trips it’s not a bad choice.

The new X1 shares much with the 2 Series Gran Tourer in terms of driving dynamics as well. The intelligent all-wheel-drive system that can send power to the wheel that most needs it offers plenty of grip and the direct steering makes the car feel very capable and safe.It is not as engaging to drive as a 3 Series, but the X1 is very composed around corners with minimal body roll.

Being a small SUV the X1 comes equipped with a hill descent control, but we don’t recommend taking it off-roading – the Range Rover Evoque is much better in the mud.a

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BMW X1 (2009-2015)
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