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Kez Casey | Nov, 18 2010 | 2 Comments


PRICE: $43,500 (plus On Road Costs)

Engine: 2.0 litre petrol, naturally-aspirated in-line four cylinder.
Outputs: 110kW @ 6400rpm / [email protected] 3600rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual.
Official fuel efficiency: 8.2 L/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 10.0 L/100km?
CO2 emissions: 191g/km



The X1 range becomes the fourth addition to BMW’s SUV line-up.

Slotting in below the X3, the X1 is a smaller, lighter alternative with more appealing pricing.



  • Quality: Barely-there padding made some interior surfaces uninviting, but high-quality leather, consistent grain matching and trim fitment are indicative of a premium interior.
  • Comfort: The manually adjusted front seats lack lumbar support, however don’t suffer too badly for the omission. Rear seat legroom is surprisingly good, but taller adults, or three across the rear should only be for short trips.
  • Equipment: The X1 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear lever, dual zone climate control, reverse park sensors and a multi function trip computer.
  • Storage: Luggage space measures 420 litres with the rear seats in place. Fold the 40/20/40 split folding rear seat and that grows to 1350 litres.


  • Driveability: The X1 has terrific on-road poise. Performance offered by the 2.0 litre engine however is adequate rather than scintillating, but the drive remains rewarding.
  • Refinement: The cabin is well isolated from road and wind noise. The engine remains hushed during all but extreme operation, with an enticing throaty growl being emitted in the upper reaches of the rev range.
  • Suspension: Both front and rear feature independent suspension. The ride is comfortable across most surfaces, and the handling is class leading.
  • Braking: Disc brakes are fitted all-round. Pedal travel is a little notchy with eager initial-bite making stop-start progress slightly jerky.
  • On-road: The compact exterior of the X1 makes it easy to handle in city situations, with higher seating delivering a commanding view. The sharp handling is distinctly superior to most SUVs of comparable size.


  • ANCAP rating: 5-Star
  • Safety features: Standard are ABS brakes with Dynamic Stability and Corner Braking Control, Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Three-point seatbelts and, adjustable head restraints are fitted throughout. Front seats are equipped with load-limiting, pre-tensioning seatbelts. Six airbags (front, front side and curtain) are also fitted.


  • Warranty: A 3 year, unlimited kilometre warranty is provided. Bodywork is covered by a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty.
  • Service costs: Service intervals vary according to vehicle usage, with the on-board computer only triggering the service light once it deems a component has worn out. Servicing costs are not available.


  • BMW 120i: Just $200 less than the X1 and sharing the same engine, the 120i is now the most powerful petrol 1 Series hatch available. Less weight means better performance and handling, however space – particularly in the rear – is tighter. (Click for 1 Series reviews)
  • Peugeot 3008: A more versatile boot, and standard automatic transmission make the range-topping Peugeot 3008 XTE look good, as does the $4010 price advantage. There’s quite a difference in dynamic performance though, even with the Peugeot’s clever chassis tech. (Click for 3008 reviews)
  • Mercedes Benz B200: A different class of car but still similar in terms of size, although lacking in performance, style and handling. It costs $3,100 more and is close to being replaced with an all new model.


The X1 builds on BMW’s success with the X5 and X3 before it, and distills those efforts into a more compact, city-friendly package.

The pricing, particularly when compared to the rest of the BMW range, is particularly keen, although ticking option-boxes can soon erode that advantage.

Dynamically the X1 is a superior choice to just about any other SUV in its size range. However, relatively modest power and a compact boot may not suit everyone.

The compact SUV sector is very well served across all price segments. If you can live without the BMW badge, there are certainly better value buys out there, but none can match the handling of the X1 or are as entertaining on the road.

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