New BMW X1 plug-in hybrid: prices, specs and performance

BMW has bolstered its SUV range with a plug-in version of the X1 – the xDrive25 e – but how does it compare against rivals?

James Wilson
Oct 24, 2019

BMW has officially thrown its hat into the small plug-in hybrid SUV ring with the new X1 xDrive25e. Order books are yet to open but deliveries are expected to start around March 2020. Models are expected to come with up to 31 miles of all-electric range from a full battery.

With more and more all-electric and petrol and diesel models with electric assistance - like this one - and drivers purchasing SUVs like there is no tomorrow, it makes sense that BMW should offer a plug-in hybrid version of its smallest SUV – the X1.

Quick facts

  • New plug-in hybrid small SUV
  • Prices estimated at around £35,000
  • Hybrid engine will produce 220hp
  • 31 miles of all-electric power
  • Full charge in 5.5 hours with a standard cable
  • Order books open March 2020

BMW adding a plug-in version of the X1 has been timed to coincide with the release of updates to the existing X1 range, which brought tweaks to styling and on-board technology. Improvements like these are a necessity at the moment, as the race to produce good hybrid and electric cars has put the motoring industry into overdrive.

A few years ago, the X1 plug-in would have had to measure up against the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) and that's about it. Nowadays, there are rivals on sale from the likes of Kia, Volvo and Mini, never mind the tidal wave of others which are due on the market over the next few years.

Naturally, not all these models will be direct rivals as true to its heritage the X1 xDrive25e will be targeting buyers at the upper end of the market. What is it offering to achieve this? Read on to find out more about the X1 hybrid's prices, performance, technology and more.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid specifications and models

In total there will be three trim levels available to those buying an X1 PHEV. These are Sport, xLine and M Sport. As standard, all models will come with 17-inch alloy wheels - or larger - and two-zone air-conditioning (which can be used to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin before you begin your journey).

While standard specification for each trim level is yet to be confirmed, BMW has said that virtually all the options available to fossil-fuel-powered X1 buyers will be available to plug-in hybrid buyers. That means that everything from heated front seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera, a head-up display and adaptive cruise control to wireless phone charging will be on the menu.

It is worth noting that on non-hybrid X1s, many pieces of equipment are rolled into optional extra packages (especially on lower-spec models) which can cost up to £1,250, though they often amount to less than paying for all the additional kit individually.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid prices and delivery dates

UK customers are expected to be able to purchase a BMW X1 plug-in hybrid from March 2020 – whether there is a waiting period between placing an order and deliveries arriving will remain to be seen.

As for prices, BMW is yet to confirmed official numbers but the xDrive25e range is expected to kick off at around £35,000. Non-hybrid Sport models start just north of £30,000 but manufacturers typically slap on a few thousand pounds more for hybrid models to account for they fact they include conventional engines plus batteries and electric motors.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid economy and performance

Every BMW X1 xDrive25e will come with the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor. Together this system is claimed to produce 220hp and 385Nm of torque - a substantial amount for a car of this size - which is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox (there is no manual option, but this is commonplace with PHEVs).

These performance figures translate into a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 119mph in hybrid mode – the later reducing to 84mph when driving under battery power alone.

Fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are claimed to be 157mpg and 43g/km respectively. In reality, motorists won’t get anywhere near this unless they plug-in regularly, but cover short journeys and charge regularly and you may not need to fill the petrol tank for weeks on end.

For those after economy in terms of electricity use, the X1 xDrive25e is claimed to be capable of 15kWh/62 miles – kWh meaning kilowatt hours. That's pretty efficient; check out our guide to electric car economy figures to get your head around running an electric car. As a note, all emission and economy figures are gathered under the latest, more realistic 'WLTP' test procedure.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid electric range and charge times

Similar to engine choice, there is only one battery pack available with BMW X1 plug-in hybrids. It is made of lithium-ion cells and has a capacity of 9.7 kWh, which allows it to be charged in roughly five-and-a-half hours using a typical UK household plug.

This can be reduced through the use of a more powerful charger. For example, BMW’s i Wallbox cuts charge time to 3.6 hours. Fully charged an X1 xDrive25e should be able to travel up to 31 miles on battery power alone. It is worth remembering that this will be reduced in colder weather and by the equipment specified (with bigger, heavier wheels and other weighty kit reducing fuel economy) and if you drive particularly fast.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid rivals and alternatives

As alluded to at the top of this page, the BMW X1 PHEV does have a few rivals. One of the main ones is the Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid – which is a very well accomplished car and also part of the BMW family of brands.

Outside of BMW there are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Kia Niro. Both offer the prospect of limited zero-emission driving and a lot of equipment, albeit without the upmarket BMW badge or interior.

Perhaps the only like-for-like rival of the X1 PHEV is the Volvo XC40 plug-in hybrid. Which targets a similar clientele but starts north of £40,000 - a high price for a car this size.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid technology

Much like other PHEVs on the market, BMW is offering the X1 xDrive25e with a range of hybrid driving modes. These include Auto eDrive, Max and Save Battery. The former leaves it up to the car as to whether power is coming from the battery pack, engine or both.

Max mode is for maximum use of battery power and Save Battery mode aims to preserve charge – useful for when you know you’ll be finishing your journey in an urban area with emission restrictions and can use battery power here.

 

On top of the above modes, there are also the more traditional driving setups to choose from. These include Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro – all of which alter characteristics of the car so it drives in a manner to suit the name, e.g. Comfort aims to make the driving experience more relaxed, Sport gives a more responsive drive and Eco Pro prioritises fuel saving.

Aside from this, the X1 PHEV will come with much of the same tech as non-hybrid models. This means BMW’s latest raft of driver convenience and safety technology, such as adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and auto-dimming rearview mirror.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid design

Inside an X1 PHEV will be familiar to anyone who has sat in or seen the inside of a non-hybrid X1. The same is true of the exterior, aside from an extra filler flap on the bodywork for plugging in the charging cable.

What buyers should notice is the refreshed exterior design that came as part of the 2019 update for all X1s. This included increasing the size of the front grille plus redesigning the headlights and bumper.

BMW X1 plug-in hybrid dimensions

Luggage capacity stands at 450 litres with the rear seats up, which is 55 litres down on non-hybrid pre-facelift models. The rear seats fold 40:20:40 and when they are all down the X1 PHEV has a cargo area measuring 1,470 litres. Both figures are reasonable for a car of this size.

As for towing capacity, BMW quotes a low maximum braked towing weight of 750kg. Dimensions for the X1 xDrive25e are expected to measure in at 4,447mm in long, 2,060mm wide and 1,598mm in tall.

 

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