BMW X1: What’s on the inside counts

  • We examine our BMW X1’s interior in detail
  • M Sport trim means leather and aluminium
  • Some neat details but a few niggles too

One of the aspects of our long-term X1 that I’ve really come to appreciate is the interior.

While some of my colleagues have cast a critical eye over some of the plastics used on the dashboard and centre console, I’m quite impressed with its overall quality and ambience.

I’m also a fan of the dark aluminium trim inserts on the dashboard and doors, part of our car’s top M Sport trim package. Leather seats are part of the standard equipment list on M Sport X1s and although I’ve previously moaned that they’re tricky to adjust, quality of the upholstery feels top-notch – not always the case with leather seats in all cars.

BMW X1 M Sport interior

Things have been laid out thoughtfully, too. There’s a usefully deep compartment to stow your phone or other small items ahead of the gear lever, with a grippy rubber surface so they don’t slide about and illumination at night so you don’t have to rummage around for its contents.

The door bins are roomy and their reclined inserts for drinks bottles work well – it’s easy to access them while on the move. Space is something the X1’s interior does well in general, with decent room for passengers front and rear.

We’ve talked about the neat real-time analogue fuel consumption gauge before and drivers paranoid about filling up with petrol by mistake may be grateful for the fact that the fuel gauge is labelled with the word ‘Diesel’ – a further sign of attention to detail given the extra manufacturing complication of fitting a different set of instruments for diesel and petrol models.

BMW X1 instrument panel

Inevitably, the interior’s not perfect. First of all, it’s not actually the easiest vehicle to see out of, especially in car parks where all-round visibility can be tricky.

It’s surprising that the storage nets on the back of the front seats aren’t standard (they’re part of the £195 Extended Storage package) and although a small amount of information (such as average fuel consumption) can be displayed on the little screen between the speedo and rev counter it would be nice if it could also display sat-nav instructions, for example.

Speaking of the sat-nav system (the high-end ‘Professional’ system is fitted to this car), it is unbelievably laggy when zooming in and out which can be very frustrating on the move. The media system is otherwise excellent, though.

It would be nice also if the USB ports were concealed in the storage box under the arm rest rather than on display ahead of the gear lever, so that you can hide your phone or music player from view when charging or playing music through the stereo.

BMW X1 interior space

Final complaint: with the arm rest slid forward, it fouls the top of the handbrake – hardly something that spoils the whole car, but annoying nonetheless and at odds with the attention to detail elsewhere.

Speaking of handbrakes, I’m grateful that the X1 has a proper lever rather than the electronic parking brake switches that are becoming more prevalent in new cars. For now, anyway – the X1’s replacement is currently in development and no doubt the designers have been working on a nice shiny handbrake button for it…

If you’re a BMW X1 owner, let us know what you think of its interior in the Parkers owners’ reviews section.