The new BMW X1 is a premium compact SUV and the smallest off-roader in the brand’s range. It’s 15mm shorter than its predecessor, it’s also 53mm taller and 23mm wider. It’s also styled more like an SUV than the previous model, which just looked like a high-riding 3 Series estate.
The X1 has many rivals to contend with, including the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA-Class and desirable Range Rover Evoque. It also has to compete with rivals from more mainstream brands, such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V. This latest model has been designed to look more like its larger X3 and X5 sister models and definitely has a more attractive shape than its predecessor. There are four main trim levels to choose from: SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport. Inside, the X1 is just like any other BMW: well built, logically laid-out and driver-focused.
Even the basic SE model is well equipped, as satellite navigation and a powered tailgate are The X1 can be fitted with either a 1.5-litre three cylinder petrol (reserved for the sDrive18i model), a 2.0-litre petrol engine (in the four-wheel-drive-only xDrive20i model) or a 2.0-litre diesel, which offers three different power outputs – 148, 187 and 228bhp. The 187bhp xDrive20d is our pick of the range, as it combines efficiency, reasonable running costs, In terms of dynamic ability, the X1 is a vast improvement over the previous model. It uses the same mechanical platform as the MINI hatchback and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, so handling is good and it’s a capable car either on or off-road.
All in all, then, the new X1 is a much better SUV than its rather flawed predecessor. It’s now a much stronger contender in the premium compact SUV class than before.