Used BMW X1 2015-present review

Category: Small SUV

Section: What is it like?

Star rating
Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
  • Used BMW X1 2015-present
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What's the used BMW X1 estate like?

The BMW X1 predated other premium small SUVs by a good few years, firmly positioning it as a favourite among buyers who wanted a piece of the luxury SUV market, but for a more manageable outlay. Trouble was, the first generation car may have sold well, but it wasn't a terribly good car to drive or to own.

This all-new second-generation version changed all that. It was front-wheel drive, which at the time of its launch in 2015 was unusual for a BMW. It had new engines, a new chassis and new technology inside. No wonder; it needed to be good because it had to deal with such popular rival SUVs as the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.

The engine range consists of a range of twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, including three different tunes of diesel engine - the 148bhp sDrive (front-wheel drive) and xDrive18d, the 187bhp xDrive20d and the 228bhp xDrive25d. Meanwhile, those craving a petrol could opt for the 188bhp xDrive20i X1.

Higher-end variants of the X1 got an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, and a choice of either front-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive, which is delivered via an electro-hydraulic clutch situated on the rear axle.

As far as equipment goes, SE trim has iDrive and a 6.5in multimedia system with sat-nav, a DAB radio, CD player, USB connectivity and Bluetooth media streaming. Besides the flawless iDrive system the SE trim gets auto wipers and lights, 17in alloys, automatic tailgate and rear parking sensors, while the Sport trim gets you bigger alloys, a sporty bodykit and sport seats.

The mid-level xLine trim is fitted with leather seats, heated front seats, and LED headlights, and the range-topping M-Sport gives your X1 an M-Sport designated interior, bodykit, alloys, suspension and Alcantara seats.

The driving experience also sets the X1 apart from its rivals, with the steering being of particular merit, since the helm is precise and confidence-inspiring at speed, and the handling is safe and predictable with a dash of vigour thrown in for good measure.

While the Audi Q3 has a better ride, the X1 can be found with adaptive dampers, which improves matters. We’d suggest playing it safe, if you cannot find one with that option, and stick with the standard 18in wheels on the comfort suspension provided on SE spec cars. Also, avoid the run-flat tyres too. Their stiff sidewall doesn’t help.

Refinement is good where the engines are concerned, but there is a lot of tyre and wind noise on all versions. This noise does become noticeable on motorway journeys in particular. 

All the bits of trim you come into contact with regularly inside the X1 are of a high quality, with switches and buttons exuding a feeling of solidity. Only the gearlever disappoints because it seems to be a bit hollow, with not as much heft required to operate it as you might expect.

There’s plenty of space available in the X1 for those who have a family. If you can find a car with it specified, the rear seats can be slid forward and backward to help improve either boot space or rear passenger leg room. The boot itself is one of the biggest in the class - even without the sliding rear seats - the aperture is large and sits flush with the load bay floor. Useful, when you need to load and unload heavy, awkwardly shaped items. The X1 has an electric tailgate as standard, too.

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Used BMW X1 2015-present
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