From £23,880
BMW’s new trim strategy means that there will be three ‘x’s in the name of your X1 xDrive25d x Line

Our Verdict

BMW X1

The BMW X1 is fine to drive, but buyers looking for premium feel may be better served by rivals' offerings

  • First Drive

    BMW X1 xDrive25d x Line

    BMW’s new trim strategy means that there will be three ‘x’s in the name of your X1 xDrive25d x Line
  • First Drive

    BMW X1 xDrive 28i

    New engine is great in everyday driving, but it lacks the polish and fun factor of a BMW six-pot

What is it?

At an indicated 143mph, the needle of the X1’s econometer settles at a steady 17mpg, the throttle planted hard against its kick-down switch. While 17mpg may not sound great, it certainly is for a decently scaled, high-riding, crossover whose full 332lb ft of torque is streaming to all four wheels.

That 143mph is almost flat-out too, and over the 120miles of this test drive the X1’s trip computer reveals indicates 34.4mpg. Which is pretty good, and a number that will improve over here where the opportunities for 140mph autobahn charges are nil. 

This is the kind of performance and economy blend that BMW has developed a fine reputation for since embarking on its Efficient Dynamics mission of combining ever-improving CO2 numbers with useful performance gains.

What's it like?

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.

Should I buy one?

The X1 is as much high-riding estate car as SUV, and handles deftly enough for the sport mode to be worth indulging. This four-wheel drive version points well, rolls moderately and provides electric power steering that’s pleasingly linear and even musters some feel. There’s some pliancy in the ride too, although British back-roads will probably turn it slightly choppy.  

So, some worthwhile improvements, and you can expect an X1 to be a lot less thirsty than an Evoque. But the Land Rover has more panache, and BMW’s bigger X3 makes a more convincing SUV.


BMW X1 xDrive25d x Line automatic

Price: £33,405; 0-62mph: 6.8sec; Top speed: 143mph; Economy: 51.4mpg; Co2: 145g/km; Kerbweight: 1595kg; Engine: 4 cyls, in-line, 1995cc; Installation: Longitudinal, four-wheel drive; Power: 215 at 4000rpm; Torque: 332lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
11

28 June 2012

The engine appears to be very good, but i don't like this color.


28 June 2012

xxxx'ing ugly

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

28 June 2012

The reviewer is clearly impressed by the revisions to the X1, with reservations, e.g. ". . . although cabin craftsmanship is not to Audi standards." and ". . . you can expect an X1 to be a lot less thirsty than an Evoque. But the Land Rover has more panache . . .".

It sounds to me that this would be an excellent idea for a group test between an Evoque, Audi Q3 and an X1.  I think the result would be very close.

28 June 2012

Intresting that this review doesn't once mention anything even vaguely off-roady. No ground clearances, departure angles etc.

It's a stupid pointless car, with an even more stupid name.

If you like this car, just buy a 3 series estate - it'd be much better.

28 June 2012

The x1 is probably the most ungainly x series BMWs and BMW should have done a lot more in the refresh.  The front is still very ugly and I was expecting a more thorough make over.  £33k seems very expensive especially when the new 3 series touring will be out soon with 4wd versions. 

28 June 2012

If peak torque is at 2500rpm and it is running at max torque at 143mph, as Richard Bremner says, then top gear must be 57mph/1000rpm.

28 June 2012

I think this new '25d' engine is fantastic. But I don't like any of the cars it's being used in, and this X1 doesn't change that. Maybe we could have it in the MINI instead of the '18d' unit dubbed the 'Cooper SD'.

28 June 2012

Fidji5 wrote:

I think this new '25d' engine is fantastic. But I don't like any of the cars it's being used in . . .

You just know that an engine this good is going to start popping up all over the BMW range as time goes by.

Even taking the official MPG figures with the standard pinch of salt, the fuel economy that you'll be getting in the real world would have been unthinkable just a few years ago for an engine with this performance.

28 June 2012

I think its about time BMW stopped making cars and just concentrated on engines, because it makes fantastic engines wrapped in horrible clothes, if it was a baby the midwife would slap the mother..

29 June 2012

Citytiger wrote:

I think its about time BMW stopped making cars and just concentrated on engines, because it makes fantastic engines wrapped in horrible clothes, if it was a baby the midwife would slap the mother..

Have you seen a 4 door 6 Series - makes an XJ, Panamera or similar look distinctly second-rate, but they get way with it.

Personally I think the midwife at the birth of the XJ and Panamera should have drowned the b*stards at birth (won't even get to the Evoque or Cayenne)!

Still in your scenario Jaguar cannot even concentrate on making engines as they use others, and Porsche use VAG diesels so maybe BMW are way ahead of them already!

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