BMW X1 (2015-present)

The BMW X1 is a compact SUV with quality, style and low running costs

Strengths & Weaknesses


Engaging to drive
Low fuel costs
Well equipped


Expensive to buy
Thirsty petrol engine
Long and confusing list of options
Best finance deal

BMW X1 Diesel Estate (2015-2019) sdrive 18d m sport 5dr

Finance price £275 per month

Cash price £18,200

BMW X1 prices from £15,485   Finance from £275 per month*

The BMW X1 is the smallest of the company’s SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) range, and also the least expensive. But its grown-up styling and big BMW grille ensures that it never feels like a budget option.

It’s hard to define when a crossover becomes an SUV, but the X1 treads the line between the two. It shares mechanical parts with the Mini Hatchback, but it sits higher up, giving the impression of an off-roader. It can also be specified with four-wheel-drive.

Generally, the added height is supposed to give X1 drivers a better view of the road ahead, while the mechanical bits underneath make sure that it drives pretty much like a normal hatchback. The X1 does a good job of this too - and it certainly feels less cumbersome to drive than the Mercedes GLA.

The ride is comfortable and smooth too, which is an improvement over the similarly-sized Audi Q3. Because the X1 is designed for owners who spend most - if not all - of their time driving on the road, not all models have four-wheel drive, which BMW calls xDrive. This provides extra control in slippery conditions, and while cornering.

Inside, you can fit three passengers in the back without too much discomfort, thanks to the ample leg and head room. Storage space is generous all round - BMW claims the door pockets will hold a one-litre bottle.

The boot is a good size – there’s more room here than in the Mazda CX-5 or Audi Q3. Dropping the back seats increases it substantially. If you need the seats, you can specify a sliding rear seat that allows you to choose between some useful extra boot space or additional rear legroom.

It’s in the interior quality that you see the difference between the X1 and cheaper rivals such as the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar crossovers.

Whether the seats are finished in cloth or leather, it feels well-built and well equipped. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control that allows each front passenger to choose the temperature for their side of the car, a 6-inch screen with sat-nav and parking sensors.

It’s a match for the luxurious Mercedes GLA, and a step up from the Audi Q3. The price for this is high, though. Even if you can find a BMW X1 offer that reduces the official price, which starts at around £30,000, it costs more than most other small crossovers, and considerably more than a family hatchback like the VW Golf, Audi A3 or Skoda Octavia, which also offer reasonable interior space and quality.

Apart from insurance, at least many running costs are low, thanks to a choice of efficient diesel engines that minimise fuel and road tax bills, and even the later edition of a plug-in hybrid. Stick with smooth automatic versions and it will feel like the premium car that it’s priced to be.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 11:30

Key facts 

3 years
Boot size: 
505 litres
Tax (min to max): 
£20 to £145

Best BMW X1 for... 

BMW X1 xDrive25e Sport
This plug-in hybrid can achieve over 150mpg if your journeys are typically short, and you recharge the battery regularly. Low CO2 emissions means cheaper road tax than the petrol and diesel offerings.
BMW X1 xDrive20d Sport auto
Families should like this version’s blend of strong performance, the security of four-wheel drive and good economy (almost 50mpg). Sport trim is a decent compromise between luxury and price.
BMW X1 xDrive25e M Sport
With its 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds - matching many sporty hot hatchbacks - this is the X1 for drivers in a hurry. Being a plug-in hybrid, it also has the added benefit of cheaper running costs in normal day-to-day driving.
BMW X1 xDrive20i M Sport
Being a petrol, the 20i is the least efficient engine in the range. Pairing it with four-wheel drive doesn’t help its cause, either. M Sport trim just adds to the cost.


  • June 2015 The current BMW X1 is launched.
  • September 2017 Refinements to the engine range, including the upgraded xDrive20d with 8-speed automatic transmission as standard.
  • May 2019 Updated BMW X1 with refreshed styling, more standard kit, and a new xDrive25e plug-in hybrid.

Understanding BMW X1 car names 

  • X1
  • Drive
  • Engine
  • Trim level
    M Sport
  • Drive
    Versions badged xDrive are four-wheel drive. sDrive cars are only two-wheel drive, with power from the engine only powering the front wheels.
  • Engine
    BMW’s engine badging can be confusing: in general, the larger the number, the more powerful the engine. The letter 'd' indicates a diesel engine, while an 'i' is used on petrol models. 'e' indicates a petrol plug-in hybrid.
  • Trim level
    The amount of equipment that’s included as standard depends on the trim level, which starts at SE, then goes through Sport and xLine to the top-of-the-range M Sport.

BMW X1 Engines 

18d, 20d, 25d, 18i, 20i, 25d

Early models only had one petrol available, the 20i, which was sold with xDrive all-wheel drive. Later, two-wheel drive was available on this model.

With a shift away from diesel engines, BMW also added the front-wheel drive 18i which promised improved fuel economy figures and a steady 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds.

The diesels provide better overtaking performance and are quiet when travelling at a steady speed. The smallest 18d is quicker than the 18i, and far more economical. Two-wheel drive models can achieve almost 55mpg, while four-wheel drive models are slightly less efficient.

The 20d is the best balanced engine in the line-up: economical but powerful, too. Its performance is not blunted by the addition of four-wheel drive (it can do 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds), which only strengthens its case still further. No two-wheel drives here, though.

An older 25d found in earlier models is fun to drive because it’s powerful and fast. It’s reasonably economical, too, but you have to wonder whether it’s not just a bit over-the-top for a compact vehicle such as the X1. In most circumstances, the 20d will be all you need.

Later models introduced a 25e plug-in hybrid model, which combines a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a 95hp electric motor. The petrol engine uses a 6-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels, while the electric motor drives the rear wheels. BMW promises an all-electric range of up to 35 miles on a full charge.

There has never been an M Performance engine, such as the BMW X3's M40i and M40d engines, nor a fully-fledged M variant like the X3 M Competition.




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BMW X1 Trims 

SE, Sport, xLine, M Sport

The trim levels dictate the level of standard equipment on your X1. BMW also allows you to add most items of equipment as options that you pay for individually, but this can become extremely expensive if you start ticking a lot of options boxes.

The basic trim is called SE and is only available with the least powerful engines. Alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a sat-nav, digital radio and rear parking sensors are all standard. Later models added front parking sensors, LED headlights, Apple CarPlay, cruise control and a powered boot lid.

Sport trim makes the interior feel more luxurious. Sports seats are included, along with glossier panels in the dashboard. The size of the alloy wheels goes up from 17 inches to 18 inches.

xLine trim includes heated leather seats and a more rugged body kit.

M Sport is the sporting alternative to xLine, which adds heated seats, upgraded LED headlights and sports suspension for all engines apart from the xDrive25e.

Upgrading your X1 beyond this level can be expensive. Metallic paint, for example, is a £550 option. You also have to pay extra for items such as a rear-view camera and panoramic sunroof, which are standard on top-of-the-range models from cheaper rivals.

BMW X1 Reliability and warranty 

The X1 shares mechanical parts with the Mini, as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer people carrier, which are both highly-rated by owners.

The X1 has a three-year unlimited mileage warranty; most rivals are restricted to 60,000 miles.

It's also a safe choice, with a five star rating from Euro NCAP, which independently crash-tested the car. It's worth noting this was in 2015, and since then the tests have become far stricter.

Used BMW X1 

SUVs such as the X1 are increasingly popular and the little BMW is one of the best, which means that demand will be high, keeping prices expensive.

The most popular is the sDrive18i, which is great because this is the most efficient model apart from the expensive plug-in hybrid. Prices start at £15,485 on BuyaCar. More appealing M Sport models will cost at least £17,900.

If you can stretch a little further, pre-registered deals on BuyaCar can save you sometimes thousands off new list prices. Currently, prices start at .

If you're willing to spend a bit more money, you can get the 20d diesel engine, in M Sport specification from £20,250 on BuyaCar.

BMW X1 Prices

BMW X1 M Sport

xdrive 20d m sport 5dr step auto

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 60.1mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £33,544

You could save up to: £5656


sdrive 18d se 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 65.7mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £28,660

You could save up to: £2890

BMW X1 xLine

xdrive 18d xline 5dr step auto

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 60.1mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £32,725

You could save up to: £4675

xdrive 20d xline 5dr step auto

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 60.1mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £32,824

You could save up to: £5576