Used BMW X1 2015-present review

Category: Family 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
  • New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan
  • New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan
  • 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
  • New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan
  • New Volvo XC40 vs BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan
Loading interface...

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 lifestyle, 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 compete with such popular rival SUVs as the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.

The engine range consists of a range of turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, including three different tunes of diesel engine – the 148bhp sDrive (front-wheel drive) and xDrive18d (four-wheel drive), the 187bhp xDrive20d and the 228bhp xDrive25d. Meanwhile, those who preferred a petrol could opt for either a 138bhp sDrive18i or a 189bhp xDrive20i X1.

More expensive 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, with drive to the rear wheels delivered via an electro-hydraulic clutch situated on the rear axle. The 217bhp plug-in hybrid xDrive25e arrived in 2020 with an all-electric range of 35 miles.

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 alloy wheels, 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 suede seats.

The driving experience also sets the X1 apart from its rivals, the steering being of particular merit. 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 generally has a better ride, the X1 can be found with adaptive dampers that improve matters. To ensure a comfortable ride, we’d suggest playing it safe if you can't find an X1 with that option, and stick with the standard 18in wheels on the comfort that's suspension provided on SE spec cars. Also, avoid the run-flat tyres; 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 interior trim you come into contact with regularly inside the X1 are high quality, with switches and buttons trhat exude a feeling of solidity. Only the gearlever disappoints; 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 need to carry a family. Some examples were specified with an optional sliding rear bench, which can be moved forwards or backwards 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.

Page 1 of 5