The new 25d diesel engine in this lightly refreshed X1 is a good example of how incremental improvements can yield performance and economy pairings that look pleasingly unlikely, as demonstrated by the 215bhp and 51.4mpg combined achieved by the upgraded twin-turbo diesel 25d that replaces the 23d.
The improvement is not all down to the motor however, because it’s now optionally paired with an eight-speed transmission whose rangey upper ratios are one reason why this BMW can manage decent economy at 140mph.
The eight-speeder is available all X1s save for the sDrive18i, 16i and 20d Efficient Dynamics, and is the reason for useful economy gains across much of the line-up.
This eight speed auto – currently unique in the X1’s segment – and the new 25d engine are the most significant alterations to this lightly facelifted crossover, which is identified by a subtly classier exterior.
Extended bumper body colouring, redetailed lights, a revised air intake and extra faux aluminium for the sills and valances produce the upgrade, although you’ll probably need to be an owner to notice.
There’s more plastiminium detailing for the interior and a redesigned centre console too, although cabin craftsmanship is not to Audi standards. More important for many will be new trim finishes called x Line and Sport, whose detail finishes create slightly different ambiences inside and out.
As you might hope of a crossover with 215bhp, the xDrive25d gets about with pleasing effortlessness, an impression that would be stronger still were its 2.0 litre diesel slightly quieter. You wouldn’t call it noisy, but its diet is obvious.
The engine mellows at a cruise when wind noise invades, while at the moderate speeds that tempt the transmission into deploying top for 1200-1500rpm urban ramblings are confirmed by the engine’s faintly vibratory labouring felt in the footwell. But this is a small penalty for the exceptional economy, especially as the ‘box is admirably adept at selecting the right gear for the moment. Jinking the gearlever sideways for sport spurs the driveline into action still more readily, and with no surges or jerks.