BMW X1 sDrive20i M Sport Review
Steely X1der

4 Feb 2020

Other small improvements to keep the car current, like the inclusion of new USB C ports, while keeping the more common USB A ones still available are a welcome touch.

A little while ago, we took the refreshed BMW X1 for a spin in Munich. While we got ourselves the torquey xDrive25d, which will not see the light of day here (oh booey), we liked how BMW had worked their current design language into their mid-life revamp, in BMW language, ‘Life Cycle Impulse’ (LCI).

The X1, like the all-new 1 Series, are important cars for the brand, as they are targeted heavily at the entry luxury buyer, meaning that they are a good litmus test to how cars further up their product ladder are.

The X1 receives tweaks to its grille, head and tail lamps, the latter which now carries fin-shaped lighting elements within their lenses. The round fog lamps which had taken their place within the front bumper has also been done away with, and in-place a neat set of LEDs nestled within a high-gloss faux intake on each side on our M Sport trim car. BMW has also increased the size of the tailpipe finishers, just because.

With the “re-facing” of the X1, it does bring its frontal styling closer to the larger X3. BMW has also introduced three new colours to their range, Storm Bay Metallic, Jucaro Beige, and my personal favourite of the three which coated our test car, Misano Blue.


Internally, the X1 has not changed much. Driver-centric ergonomics, a signature BMW thing has been retained, with it’s driver-oriented centre stack and 8.8” infotainment screen now supports touch for the 2.0 model. However with the facelift, we will still not get gesture control (but believe me, you will not be missing out on much here).

Other small improvements to keep the car current, like the inclusion of new USB C ports, while keeping the more common USB A ones still available are a welcome touch. We would have benefitted from a wireless charging dock though.

Double stitching, mirroring that found in the X2 does a good job of visually breaking the dash, and delivers a sportier impression. A restyled analogue instrument cluster has inspiration taken from their track-proven M2, while a thick tri-spoke M Leather Steering Wheel completes the driver’s visual and touch points.

As practicality goes, the X1 boasts adjustable forward-sliding 40:60 rear seats (up to 120mm), great when you need to roll that child seat forward a little, or simply just to make some room in the boot for larger objects. Cargo room at 505 litres (about 100 litres more than the Audi Q2, and 25 less than the Q3) is among the largest in-class, and benefits from the previously-mentioned sliding rear bench. Its large squared boot aperture is also ideal for loading and unloading, while storage bins and a powerpoint adds to the list of practical features. Cargo space can be expanded to 1,550 litres with the rear 40:20:40 seat backs folded flat.

The Drive

Singapore gets just two engine options, a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder turbocharged engine, good for 140hp, and our test car, which is powered by a 2.0 with 192hp, and 280Nm. The latter engine option, we feel is the engine choice to go for, even if it does cost $10k more if upgrading from the base-spec car, and for $1k more from the xLine trim model (What? Yes!).

The inherently better-balanced 2.0 clocks 100kmh in 7.7 seconds (9.7 for the 1.5), while it delivers a combined 15.4km/l; not far from what the 1.5 litre engine does.

Drive to the front wheels is via a quick-shifting 7-speed Steptronic Transmission, which does a good job of swapping gears.

The tyres on the 19” rims do make just a little bit of road noise when on the go, almost unnoticeable. It does however get quite pronounced when pushing them hard around the bends, with the sidewalls coming closer to contact with tarmac. 

The X1 does take to the corners well, even given its high centre of gravity. You can however find the car’s handling limits rather quickly if you were to flick the car through a successive series of turns, but it will take quite a bit to unsettle their compact SUV. 

Then again, it is not built to be thrown around, but driven in a sane manner. And in doing so, there is quite a bit of satisfaction you can get out if the driving experience.

Our Thoughts

Overall we do like the quality of the drive the X1 delivers, and it is a very easy car to live with. 

If you are looking for very good drive dynamics, the X1 may not check that box completely, but it does however come pretty close.

Where it matters though, is how practical it really is.

#F48 #BMW #X1 #SUV #UKL2 #Roadtest #Autos #Cars #Testdrive

In Summary

We Like

Fun to drive. Well screwed together. Good handling given its ride height. Practical.

We Don't

Some road noise with those large 19” rims and tyres, USB A port could be placed in a better location. No wireless charging pad.


The refreshed X1 still feels fresh. The 2.0 is the car to buy.

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