BMW X1 interior
The BMW X1’s interior feels expensive and its dashboard is intuitively laid out. Pricey M Sport cars get lovely Alcantara suede seats, but the top-of-range infotainment costs extra
The BMW X1‘s interior is sensibly laid out, so you’ll have no trouble getting used to where all the relevant knobs and buttons are located, but it doesn’t have the same wow-factor as the Mercedes GLB’s cocktail bar-styled cabin.
SE cars are the cheapest in the BMW X1 range, so they do without leather upholstery as standard. That said, the black fabric you get instead feels quite expensive and hides stains well. Thankfully, the entry-level model the plastics are soft touch and the silver dashboard trims look nice, so there’s a real sense of underlying quality.
Sport models are next in line. They still don’t have leather upholstery, but you do get shiny black plastic trims, contrast grey or orange stitching on the sports seats that make these cars look and feel a tiny bit nicer than the basic version.
Step up to an xLine model and you get real leather seats, BMW-branded kickplates in the door openings and shiny plastic trim with metallic highlights that feel reassuringly cold-to-the-touch.
If you want to go full bling though, you’ll need to go for an M Sport car. These get Alcantara leather upholstery, contrast stitching on the centre console, hexagonal patterned trim pieces with blue highlights and M Sport kick plates in the door openings.
You’ll be able to get comfy behind the wheel of the BMW X1 no matter how tall or short you are, thanks to a driver’s seat and steering wheel with a full range of adjustment. The BMW’s dashboard points towards the driver, so everything is really easy to operate, and the pedals in the BMW X1 aren’t offset like they are in other BMW models. Heated seats are fitted as standard to xLine and M Sport cars but are an option on the rest of the range, while lumbar support is, annoyingly, also an option on all models. Both are worth considering if you’re susceptible to backache on long drives. BMW’s electric front seats with driver memory are also worth buying if you share the car with another driver. Aside from having electric adjustment that’s less fiddly than doing it manually, their memory function means the seat can return back to your exact driving position at the press of a button. Adults will be fine in the back seats and the BMW X1 has more head and legroom than you get in the Mercedes GLA or Audi Q3. The seat even reclines a few degrees to let you relax on a long journey and it slides forwards and backwards on runners so you can choose between having more rear legroom or extra boot space. The BMW X1 also copes admirably with three in the back. The middle seat is a little narrow, but a third passenger will be comfy enough, and the hump in the floor isn’t an issue because the footwells are big enough to share. Even fitting child seats is easy. The BMW X1’s SUV-style raised ride height means you don’t have to bend your back when fitting the seat, plus the Isofix points are clearly marked and the doors open wide.
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The BMW X1 comes fitted as standard with an 8.8-inch infotainment display that’s easier to use than the systems you get in an Audi Q3 or Mercedes GLB. This is partly thanks to its intuitive menus, but also as a result of the handy scroll wheel on the centre console. This helps make switching from one feature to another much easier than using the touchpads or pure touchscreens you get in most alternatives.
Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring costs extra on all BMW X1 models and you can’t get it Android Auto. At least the standard satellite navigation system is pretty easy to program and the clear map displays are a doddle to follow
That said, the upgraded BMW Tech Pack 1 and Tech Pack 2 are still worth considering. The former adds wireless charging and a WiFi hotspot, while the latter comes with a head-up display and a pair of larger displays – one 10.25-inch unit on the dashboard and a second 5.7-inch screen in front of the steering wheel.
The larger display also works as a touchscreen, so you can easily enter postcodes using an on-screen keyboard but it doesn’t get the fancy personal assistant and gesture control features of many more expensive BMWs.
If you’re a fan of your music it’s also worth upgrading the standard stereo – which is decent, but not spectacular – to the Harman Kardon system. It has 360W output and 12 speakers (including two subwoofers) that give brilliant detail and thumping power when you want it.