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View all BMW X1 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Four engines on offer
  • Two petrols and two diesels
  • All-wheel drive and automatic transmission available

BMW X1 engines

The BMW X1 is currently available two petrol and two diesel engines, coupled to either front-wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel drive. There’s a duo of transmissions too, with either a six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch or eight-speed automatic gearbox available. The reason there are two automatic gearboxes is that different engines are fitted with different transmissions.

BMW X1 petrol engines

Kicking off the range is the 18i engine that, despite the badging, is actually a three-cylinder 1.5-litre shared with the MINI Hatch. Producing 140hp and 220Nm of toque, it’s good for 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, with a top speed of 127mph (126mph with the dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission).

If you need a little more punch, but don’t want to switch to diesel, the 20i petrol could be what you’re after. Unlike the 18i, it’s badging does ring true, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 192hp and 280Nm of torque. As a result, 0-62mph comes up in 7.6 seconds, while top speed is 140mph. It’s also dual-clutch automatic gearbox only, with no manual option available.

BMW X1 diesel engines

The entry-level diesel engine is 2.0-litre, four-cylinder badged 18d. Good for 150hp and 350Nm of torque, 0-62mph is dispatched in 9.3 seconds (9.4 with the eight-speed automatic gearbox), while top speed comes in at 127mph. This engine also has the benefit of being available with the full transmission and drivetrain selection, with xDrive all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic versions available either together or separately.

If you’re after the top of the range diesel, the 20d is as good as it gets in the X1. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, power is 190hp while torque is 400Nm. This means 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, with top speed arriving at 136mph. Note that this engine is only available with xDrive and the automatic gearbox.

Engines no longer available

Until June 2018, the BMW X1 was available with a 2.0-litre diesel engine badged 25d. Producing 230hp and 450Nm of torque, it was noticeably more powerful than anything else in the line-up, managing 0-62mph in just 6.4 seconds, with a top speed of 146mph.

  • Focus on sportiness
  • Feels like a taller 1 Series
  • Reasonably capable off-road

BMW X1 handling

While the X1 is a fully-fledged SUV, it’s still a BMW – so there’s a keen focus on sportiness and handling dynamics.

As a result, the X1 drives just like a slightly taller 1 Series. There’s a smidge more body roll (where the body of the car leans on the chassis when going through corners) and the centre of gravity feels a touch higher, but otherwise it’s really not far off BMW’s sweet-handling hatchback.

XDrive all-wheel drive (standard on most models) means immense traction coming out of corners – especially in greasy conditions – while steering feel is nicely judged. It’s light enough at low speeds for easy parking, but weights up nicely once you get going, enabling precise and direct handling. 

Capable off-road

The X1 can hold its own off-road thanks to its 183mm ground clearance and short bodywork overhangs. This allows the car to fare well over the rough stuff, tackling mildly challenging hills and bumps easily. 

Every xDrive model gets hill descent control as standard too, which controls the speed of the car when negotiating steep, slippery slopes. Sure, it’s still going to struggle if you really push the envelope, but rivals are certainly no better.