BMW X1 F48 (2015-on): review, problems and specs
The new BMW X1 (internally known as F48) is BMW’s take in the compact crossover market. Now it has reached the second generation, and with a series of radical changes: it features front-wheel-drive, and it spams smaller and more economical engines. Those made the best of a car for its segment, so it was only for the greater good. Only that purist can see it that way…
- Good looks
- Far more practical than the predecessor
- Economical engines
- Great to drive
- Brand cache
- Discouraging prices
Stay Away From
Known Problems & Recalls
- None so far
There’s a lot going on under the bonnet of the new X1, and that’s particularly bad news for BMW aficionados. The 3.0-liter inline six won’t gain a place in the engine offers, most probably because it won’t fit. Literally. The new X1 has a transversally mounted engine architecture, with its biggest unit being the 2.0-liter four pot (that has also lost a bit of power and torque over the previous generation). Diesel 2.0-liter engine power ranges from 148 to 228 hp while the gasoline engines are available in 189 and 228 hp variants. There are also 1.5-liter three-cylinder entry-level alternatives: 114 hp for the diesel and 134 hp for the gasoline variant. As for transmissions, there is a six-speed manual and an 8-speed Steptronic to choose from — although the automated comes as standard only in higher trims. In the United States, X1 is available only in xDrive28i form — gasoline engine with 228 hp and automatic transmission.
Despite its higher roofline, BMW X1 manages to deliver the same amount of sheer driving pleasure as its predecessor, thanks to the optional electronically controlled adaptive dampers. And the xDrive does its job keeping the car’s nose tucked in corners also. It may not be your rear-wheel-driving pleasure machine anymore — when referred to the front-wheel-drive 1.5-liter entry-level version per se — but it compensates with other features, such as much more practicality than ever.
Even in the entry-level versions, there is a suite of safety equipment available: there are eight airbags (front, head, and side), and there is a Crash Sensor technology — that knows when an accident occurred and unlocks all the doors and deactivates the battery to avoid a short circuit. If you have interest in checking as many safety equipment as possible, BMW X1 has much more to offer — from the Active Guard to the head-up display and the Driving Assistant Plus (that includes departure warning, speed limit recognition, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control) and a system called Traffic Jam Assistant, which drives the car for you altogether at low speeds to take some of the strain off the driver.
Despite the fact that it isn’t just a crossover-marketed version of a compact model anymore, BMW X1 succeeds in combining the smoothness of an SUV with the crispy character of a compact hatchback — things easier to observe when equipped with the adaptive dampers. The driving position is higher (as it should be in a crossover segment model) which adds up even more ride comfort. And the soundproofing solutions paid off — even with the not-so-delicate diesel engine equipped, X1 is impressively silent.
The interior resembles the bigger models in BMW’s offer and is a big step up forward over its predecessor. Although there is a considerable difference in behavior between the levels of equipment, any version of the new X1 has the BMW signature when it comes to the interior, with soft-touch materials and well-assembled interior panels. Everything is pleasant to touch and seems durable. And is bathed in sweet environmental light. Depending on the budget, there’s a relatively rich selection of materials that can compile X1’s interior, from thick BMW specific leather to wood and aluminum.
Despite its fashion-conscious look, BMW X1 can handle well passengers and luggage. The boot has been expanded to 505 liters (to a total of 1,550 liters with the back seats folded), a figure ahead any of its competitors. The backseat can be mounted on rails and can be folded remotely from the boot via electronic switches. There’s an option even for a folding passenger seat too. Door pockets can hold now 1.5-liter bottles, the glove box has grown and the armrest between the front seats hides plenty of storage space.
BMW X1 gets the iDrive system to control the infotainment, displayed in standard on a 6.5-inch screen mounted on the dash. If you opt for Navigation Plus, you get an 8.8-inch display along with a head-up display and touch controller for iDrive, ConnectedDrive and nearly all the technological benefits of a modern BMW. Worth to mention here are Real Time Traffic Information, Concierge Services, Internet, Intelligent Emergency Call or Remote Services — you can lock/unlock your doors, flash your car’s lights, preheat your car or event send locations to your GPS, all that via your smartphone app.
On the sheet, the most fuel-efficient choice is the 1.5-liter diesel engine (sDrive16d), with 60 mpg rating and 104 g/km CO2 emissions. But in real life it would be quite hard — if not impossible — to match those, given the fact that the car weighs 3,400 pounds, and you are a human being with limited tolerance to slowness. The next most frugal engine in X1’s lineup is sDrive18d, with a combined cycle of 54 mpg and 109 g/km CO2 emissions. As for the gasoline engines, the least powerful is also the one with the least fuel consumption: the 1.5-liter three-cylinder sDrive18i boast 134 hp and 46 mpg (with 119 g/km CO2 emissions). xDrive28i (the only version available to the US so far) manages a consumption rating of 32 mpg.
Besides the entry-level SE/Standard, there are three more trims to choose from in Europe: xLine, Sport Line, and M Sport. While xLine emphasizes the off-road character (in cold colors and with a sump guard underneath the engine), Sport Line and M Sport underline the urban agility that BWM X1 boasts — the latter featuring stiffer suspensions and a shortened gear lever. All three special trims ride on 18” wheels.
The standard equipment features, among others, air conditioning, a 40:20:40-split backseat, keyless ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel adjustable for both rake and reach, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, automatic headlights and wipers and a 6-speaker (100 W) stereo system.
It’s a premium piece of machinery, so it can’t be cheap (although is almost in the top of the segments’ starting price list). The starting price may be easy to process, but there’s the options chapter where things might get more complicated — and you need to check some options if you want a decently equipped car. On the other side, there are few things that the new X1 can’t offer.
As for the second-hand pricing, expect X1 to keep its value (but watch out for the unnecessary options at first acquisition).