Review - BMW X1

By Alexi Falson on 27 May 2021
image for Review - BMW X1 Compact SUVs are all the rage in 2021, and it seems as though every major manufacturer is keen to throw their hat into the ring and offer their own take on a compact crossover. The recipe is remarkably simple: take the platform of a small car, add some ride height and - hopefully - some practicality, and the buyers will come.

The BMW X1 was a somewhat surprising car from BMW when it was first introduced, but speaks volumes of the importance of having a small, high-riding car with SUV styling. The question is, in one of the most hotly-contested segments of the market, how well does the X1 justify its presence, and separate itself from more affordable vehicles on the market?

Let’s find out.

Starting Price: $47,900

OnlineAuto Savings: $7,882

BMW X1 (sDRIVE 18i) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Make BMW
Model X1
Series F48
Variant sDRIVE 18i
Transmission 7 SP AUTO DUAL CLUTC
Drive FWD
Engine TMPFI
Engine capacity 1499
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 12 valves
Engine RPM 4400 / 1250
Cylinders T3
Torque 220
KW 100
Fuel tank size 61.0
Fuel usage specs 5.8 / 0.0
CO2 145
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check BMW X1 car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The BMW X1 lineup kicks off at $47,900 for the entry-level sDrive18i. From here, prices move to $53,900 for the step-up diesel equivalent sDrive18d, with the sDrive20i priced from $55,900. The flagship xDrive25i sits atop the X1 lineup and is priced from $66,900

How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service, our car sourcing specialists can help you find the best value model for you.

What Features Does the BMW X1 Have?

The entry level sDrive 18i and 18d models come with a large equipment list as standard, which includes 18-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights with LED daytime-running lamps,, performance control system, 8.8-inch media unit with DAB, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is currently unavailable), parking assist, reverse camera, as well as a 5.7-inch TFT driver’s display, sport leather steering wheel, 100W stereo system and cruise control. 

Moving up to the sDrive20i adds a more powerful petrol engine, as well as a larger 10.25-inch media unit with the same connectivity, heads-up display, automatic powered tailgate and an ambient lighting package.

BMW’s flagship X1 model, the xDrive25i adds a significantly more powerful engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as an xDrive all-wheel drive system, 19-inch alloys, heated and adjustable leather seats, dual-zone climate control, rear-adjustable seats, keyless entry and an M Sport steering wheel.

Range Features:

  • LED head and tail lights
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Cruise control with automatic braking
  • 8.8-inch media unit; 10.25-inch for sDrive20i and above
  • 18-inch alloy wheels; 19-inch for xDrive25i
  • 7-speed dual-clutch transmission; 8-speed for 18d & Drive25i

BMW X1 (sDRIVE 18i) Colours

Alphine White Black
Black Sapphire Metallic Cashmere Silver Metallic
Mineral White Metallic Mineral Grey
Sparkling Brown Metallic Phytonic Blue
Sunset Orange Storm Bay Metallic
Misano Blue Metallic

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

The greatest compliment you can give a compact SUV is that it feels more than the sum of its parts, and offers a far more quality ride than a jacked-up hatchback. In this respect, the BMW X1 is an exceptionally capable car, and doesn’t simply feel like a high-riding BMW 1-Series, rather, it feels like a standalone SUV… albeit, a small one. BMW has given the X1 a vibrant steering setup that feels alive when you’re up to speed and navigating corners, but remains compliant and light-weight at slower speeds in the urban environment.

As we’ve mentioned, there’s a range of engines available for the X1 lineup, but we’re pleased to say that whichever engine you opt for will provide you with more than enough power and torque for commuting and effortless long journeys on the highway. A particular drive highlight of the X1 is BMW’s dual clutch transmission, which works to an extremely high standard and provides quick shifts that are barely noticeable.

One thing to remember in this context is that BMW’s stock suspension setup can prove rather rigid on certain surfaces, so you might want to consider the adaptive suspension package.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

Inside the X1’s cabin, there is far more space than you might be led to believe from its outside proportions. BMW has actually borrowed the X1’s platform from its Mini lineup - a design that is renowned for its ‘good things come in small packages’ approach to cabin layouts. As a result, there’s no concerns of occupant comfort in the front of the cabin, with a number of cubby-holes on offer for loose items and smartphones.

In the rear of the cabin, the good news keeps coming, because the X1 is actually one of the best offerings in the luxury compact SUV market when it comes to leg and headroom, as well as rear storage. There’s enough space in the rear of the cabin to accommodate even the tallest of rear passengers, and headroom will never prove a concern. To make things even better, BMW’s boot offers more than 505L of cargo storage, and when the 40-20-40 seats are folded down, this expands to 1550L for bulkier items.

Is it Safe?

The BMW X1 in base form comes equipped with safety features like cruise control with braking function, lane departure and forward collision warnings, a parking assistant with rear view camera and park distance control. ANCAP has awarded the BMW X1 with the maximum Five Star rating, although it is worth pointing out that its competitors, as well as some significantly cheaper cars offer the full suite of safety technologies, while BMW reserves these as an optional extra.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Overall, the X1 lineup offers solid economy figures. Depending on which X1 engine variant you opt for, the fuel economy ranges from 6.3L per 100km for the base model sDrive18i to 7.1L per 100km for the range-topping xDrive25i. The economy highlight for the X1 lineup, though, is no doubt the 18d diesel engine, which is rated at 5.3L per 100km.

Our Verdict: Is the BMW X1 Worth it?

If you’re in the market for a luxurious, high-riding compact SUV, the X1 is no doubt one of the most competitive offerings in its respective market segment, and outperforms the competition when it comes to interior space and packaging, which is no doubt a key concern for a car that is limited on size. Keep in mind that there are a number of engine options and models within the X1 lineup, though, and if you’re looking for a few defining features, these might be subject to extra charges within a BMW package which could bring you into a new price category.

Overall, though, the X1 is an extremely capable car and will leave few buyers disappointed. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Economy figures between 5.3L/100km (diesel) and 7.1L/100km (2.5 petrol)
  2. 505L cargo storage
  3. Vegan leather interior standard; real leather $2,000 upgrade
  4. 8.8-inch infotainment system for 18d and 18i; 10.25-inch for 20i and above
  5. Three-year, unlimited kilometer warranty


  • Interior space and comfort
  • Diesel engine a particular highlight
  • Superb dual-clutch transmission


  • Stiff factory suspension; adaptive suspension is an optional extra
  • Pricey options list
  • No Android Auto support

OnlineAuto Rating: 7.5/10

BMW X1 Competition


Lexus UX250h
Ford Escape
Volvo XC40
Audi Q3


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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