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BMW X1 118d Test Drive Review

Date: 23 November 2015   |   Author:

Category: Small off-roader
Key rival: Mercedes GLA
P11D: £29,775
On sale: October 2015

Small off-roaders have become big business - and none more so than upmarket models, such as the BMW X1. And with emissions from 109g/km and economy reaching 68.9mpg, the brand new X1 should continue that trend.

The X1 is available with two-litre petrol and diesel engines, varying from 150hp two- and four-wheel drive diesels to a 231hp four-wheel drive diesel. Trim levels, meanwhile, range from entry-level SE to Sport, luxurious xLine and range-topping M Sport, with all featuring satnav, dual-zone aircon, a digital radio and Bluetooth.

The X1 18d sDrive's 68.9mpg headline economy figure not only beats the Mercedes GLA200d's 67.3mpg, but also the Range Rover Evoque 2.0eD4's 65.7mpg, while Audi and VW equivalents lag further behind. Consequently, the X1 offers lower BIK rates than all of these, despite being the fastest, hitting 62mph in 9.2 seconds.

The X1 also proves both nippy and satisfying to drive, with sharp handling, well-weighted steering that provides a good level of confidence, and strong comfort levels - despite run-flat tyres, which do give the ride a firm edge. Overall refinement is very high, though, with little road, tyre or wind noise getting into the cabin at speed. The smooth engine is also admirably quiet, although it provides decent punch from low engine speeds.

The interior, meanwhile, feels plush, with high-quality materials and an easy-to-use layout, with many controls housed within BMW's iDrive media system, which uses a rotary controller, rather than a touchscreen as with many other manufacturers. We found the sports seats in our test car comfortable and supportive around corners, too, with plenty of adjustment available. There is also lots of space for those in the rear, with a usable middle seat making the X1 a viable five-seater, while the boot is large.

Where the X1 stumbles is with whole-life costs. Residuals of 40.3% are strong in isolation but can't compete with the Evoque's extremely impressive 54.7% figure, the Audi Q3 at 44.6% or the Mercedes GLA's 43.4%, singlehandedly making the X1 3-4p more per mile than these rivals at 56.5p.

For those who can stump up the extra cost, though, the X1 is a great no-compromise all-rounder.

BMW X1 18d sDrive Sport

Model price range £28,330-£36,060
Residual value 40.3%
Depreciation £16,850
Fuel £4368
Service, maintenance and repair £2854
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
National Insurance £2220
Cost per mile 56.5p
Fuel consumption 68.9mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 109g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month £89/£179
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 505/1550 litres
Engine size/power 1995cc/150hp


Only below-par residuals limit this frugal, comfortable and sharp-handling off-roader's appeal
  • Despite economy focus, two-wheel drive X1 feels sprightly and handles well
  • £28,330 starting price seems steep for BMW's smallest off-roader