BMW X1 review - Interior, design and technology
Second-generation BMW X1 goes for a traditional SUV shape, with typical BMW styling cues
The original BMW X1 was little more than a pumped-up, high-riding alternative to the 1 Series hatchback. When it was launched in 2009, the small crossover class was pretty new, so the design of these cars was in its infancy. But when later models arrived, it was clear that a more SUV-inspired look was taking hold, so BMW has made the X1 Mk2 look more like a shrunken X3 than an inflated hatchback.
The facelift has taken this further with new kidney grilles, new headlight graphics and all-new bumper designs (in xLine trim they gain a faux skid plate). A new set of wheel designs should cater for those wanting a sporty-looking SUV, especially in M Sport trim.
The distinctive C-shaped rear window line is pure BMW design, and overall the echoes of X3 in the X1's shape are clear to see.
As standard, there are 17-inch wheels on SE models, while black plastic is used around the wheelarches and bumpers. Go for a Sport model, and you get bigger wheels (which don't spoil the ride) and tweaked exterior trim, while xLine models get gloss black exterior trim and a different wheel design. At the top of the range, M Sport cars feature body-coloured trim and lowered suspension for a sportier look.
Inside, cloth trim is standard, while Sport models get red flashes of trim on the seats and dashboard. xLine cars get leather and wood options, while the M Sport versions add signature blue trim and specific M steering wheel and badging.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Navigation is standard on the X1 range, but you can upgrade to the more advanced tech pack for around £1,250. This brings BMW Navigation Plus and a larger a head-up display to put more information on speed and navigation instructions in the driver’s eye line.
The beauty of the system is the simplicity of the controls. The iDrive rotary wheel has been refined over successive generations to the point where it’s the most intuitive and easy set-up to use on the move. With a logical menu layout and sharp graphics, it’s a great package; we just wish you didn’t have to pay extra for it although the standard 8.8-inch screen isn’t bad to use. Apple CarPlay is fitted as standard, but there’s no such luck for Android fans, as Android Auto isn’t available.
In this review
- 1VerdictIf you want a small premium SUV that’s practical and fun to drive, the BMW X1 is it
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe BMW X1 is possibly the best handling small SUV on sale in the UK
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsEfficient petrol, diesel and hybrid engines put the BMW X1 at the front of the small premium SUV pack
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingSecond-generation BMW X1 goes for a traditional SUV shape, with typical BMW styling cues
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith improved practicality, the BMW X1 is ideal compact family transport
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe BMW X1 achieves a top safety rating, but standard kit could be better