Road tests

BMW X1 M Sport review

The BMW X1 is a desirable small SUV but is M Sport the trim level to go for?

The latest version of the BMW X1 is better than ever. It’s good to drive, comfortable and pretty practical, so it’s a worthwhile alternative to the Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3. Many buyers will want the top-spec BMW X1 M Sport but is that the one to go for? 

The BMW X1 range offers several trim choices: SE, Sport, xLine and M Sport. The M Sport model can be spotted by looking out for the 18-inch alloy wheels and deeper, sportier-looking front bumper design. It’s not all about the exterior changes, as M Sport models have more changes under the metal.

The most notable one is the M Sport suspension, which is a bit stiffer than the normal suspension to make the car handle better. Along with the 18-inch alloy wheels, this means the X1 M Sport is slightly less comfortable than other versions.

Yet thanks to the sports seats, which are heated, and leather steering wheel, the interior feels more upmarket than in lesser models. You can add options such as a panoramic glass sunroof, a Harman Kardon hi-fi, wireless phone charging and adaptive LED headlights.

All the equipment from lesser models, such as the 8.8-inch sat-nav display screen, LED lights, power tailgate, split-folding seats, cruise control, leather seats and roof rails, is carried over.

More reviews

There are plenty of engine choices with the BMW X1 M Sport. There are the sDrive18i and sDrive20i models, the xDrive20i and the xDrive25e. Then there’s the sDrive18d, the xDrive 18d and the xDrive 20d. The ‘18’ models are available with a manual gearbox, while the rest are auto-only.

BMW X1 M Sport

Let’s make sense of those model names. The sDrive and xDrive bits are easy - the former is front-wheel drive and the latter is four-wheel drive. Then the number denotes a power output, the higher number meaning more power. Finally, there’s the i, d, and e letters on the end. The i means it’s a normal petrol engine, the d is a normal diesel engine and the e is a plug-in hybrid with a petrol engine and an electric motor.

You can read more about the BMW X1’s engine range in our main review.

What you get

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Sporty suspension
  • Heated seats
  • LED headlights
  • Climate control
  • Parking sensors
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Cruise control
  • Sports seats
  • Sat-nav

Recommended optional extras

  • Larger fuel tank
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Sliding rear bench seat

Verdict

The BMW X1 M Sport is a decent choice, though it doesn’t offer a whole lot more than the Sport model in terms of equipment - most of the best aspects, such as the sat-nav, climate control and heated seats, are all fitted to lesser models. 

The M Sport comes with firmer suspension so it’s also less comfortable than those models. However, M Sport holds its value well and can be worth a look if it’s priced well - it’s not uncomfortable, and it looks the smartest of all the trim levels available.

We’d go for the BMW X1 sDrive18i M Sport as it has plenty of power, the engine is smooth and it delivers a reasonable 42.2-43.5 mpg. Diesel versions might be better on the motorway and the plug-in is great for city driving, but the petrol version makes the most sense for general use.

Recommended

BMW X1 owner reviews
BMW X1 SUV
BMW X1
1 Mar 2021

BMW X1 owner reviews

BMW X1 SUV review
BMW X1 SUV
BMW X1
1 Mar 2021

BMW X1 SUV review

New BMW X1 in development for 2022 launch
BMW X1
11 Sep 2020

New BMW X1 in development for 2022 launch

Electric BMW X1 SUV set to arrive in 2023
BMW X1 SUV nose
BMW X1
28 Jul 2020

Electric BMW X1 SUV set to arrive in 2023

Most Popular

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?
Yellow Audi Q2
Audi
16 Apr 2021

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Best new car deals 2021
Skoda Fabia
Deals
16 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks