BMW X1 review

Category: Family SUV

Section: Performance & drive

BMW X1 2021 rear cornering
  • BMW X1 2021 front cornering
  • BMW X1 2021 rear cornering
  • BMW X1 2021 interior dashboard
  • BMW X1 2021 interior rear seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior front seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior infotainment
  • BMW X1 2021 front right static
  • BMW X1 2021 right static
  • BMW X1 2021 interior front seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior details
  • BMW X1 2021 interior steering wheel
  • BMW X1 2021 boot open
  • BMW X1 2021 front cornering
  • BMW X1 2021 rear cornering
  • BMW X1 2021 interior dashboard
  • BMW X1 2021 interior rear seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior front seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior infotainment
  • BMW X1 2021 front right static
  • BMW X1 2021 right static
  • BMW X1 2021 interior front seats
  • BMW X1 2021 interior details
  • BMW X1 2021 interior steering wheel
  • BMW X1 2021 boot open
What Car?’s X1 deals
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

The entry-level BMW X1, the 18i, has a 1.5-litre petrol engine and is available only with front-wheel drive. It’s essentially the same engine you'll find in a Mini Cooper and delivers adequate, if not especially quick, acceleration – 0-62mph takes 9.7sec. But we reckon it's the pick of for most buyers because the more powerful 20i costs a fair bit more to buy and run.

The 18d is also worth a look if you do lots or miles and are willing to consider a diesel. It pulls harder than the petrols at low revs, so it feels a lot quicker than the 0-62mph time of 9.3sec would suggest. You also get the option of four-wheel drive, so we don't see the point in going for the faster xDrive20d. 

Naturally, the BMW X1 is most agreeable on its smallest 17in alloys wheels, which come as standard on SE models. Go for a higher trim level and you'll get 18in rims that worsen comfort slightly, which is compounded by the stiffer suspension fitted to M Sport models. The optional 19in and 20in alloys are really best avoided.

Adaptive suspension is optional on M Sport models and lets you make the suspension firmer at the touch of a button to improve cornering, or soften it for added comfort. While the different modes do make a noticeable difference, even the softest setting delivers a fairly firm ride.

BMW X1 2021 rear cornering

Handling

The relatively stiff suspension does at least stop the X1 leaning much through corners. Compared with an Evoque or  XC40, for example, it's far more agile and stays more upright round bends. Indeed, the X1 handles more like a regular hatchback or saloon than most family SUVs.

New car deals
Save up to £2,007
Target Price from £29,157
Save up to £2,007
or from £353pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £36,000
Leasing deals
From £364pm