BMW X1 SUV (2010-2015) - Engines, drive & performance

The BMW X1 20d offers the best balance between performance and economy

Carbuyer Rating

3.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.6 out of 5

The BMW X1 looks like an estate car on stilts and that’s how it feels to drive. There’s more body lean in corners than in a BMW 1 Series, but it’s well controlled and doesn’t put you off pressing on if you need to. That lean is even easier to accept when you factor in the car’s comfortable suspension setup. M Sport models have larger alloy wheels and stiffer suspension that makes them less comfortable, but they feel more taut in corners. The steering is also direct, but it’s surprisingly heavy, particularly in town where light steering makes for easier manoeuvring.

BMW X1 diesel engines

Push firmly on the accelerator pedal and you won’t be disappointed by the 20d’s poke. It can get from 0-62mph in just 7.8 seconds and will be spritely enough for most people. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is a £1,500 option, but it’s worth going for. Its smooth shifts suit the comfortable X1, plus it boosts fuel economy and will make the car a more attractive second-hand purchase when you sell it on.

The slowest model is the 16d, which gets from 0-62mph in a fairly dreary 11.5 seconds, while the 18d does the same in 9.9 seconds. With 215bhp, the 25d is the fastest model in the range – it gets from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds and can exceed 140mph flat out. It’s the only model in the range to come with four-wheel drive as standard and the engine’s power is delivered to the road without fuss as a result.

BMW X1 petrol engine

The only petrol-powered model is the X1 20i and its 2.0-litre engine gives the BMW a decent turn of speed – 0-62mph takes just 7.8 seconds. Its price and running costs mean that it’s unlikely to be a popular choice on the UK market, though.

With a ride height only slightly higher than a normal car’s (and suspension that hasn’t been designed with mud-plugging in mind) the X1 is of limited use off-road. The rear-wheel-drive setup of sDrive models means even a front-wheel-drive hatchback (such as the Ford Fiesta) will be more capable on snowy roads.

Most Popular

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

New 2022 Nissan X-Trail makes debut
2022 Nissan X-Trail - front 3/4 view
Nissan X-Trail
19 Apr 2021

New 2022 Nissan X-Trail makes debut

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