There’s no doubt that when BMW promises, it delivers. Last year we reported from the Paris Motor Show on the unveiling of the Concept X1, which BMW promised to have to market in 12 months. And, sure enough, one year later here it is: BMW’s first compact SUV, with a choice of two- or four-wheel drive and the first in the X series to have Auto Start-Stop.
BMW call the X1 its first “compact Sports Activity” model but, essentially, it’s an X5 shrunk to a more city-friendly size, although still able to seat five and with a generous 1,350-litre boot space. The X1 is available in five model variants, all with four-cylinder diesel engines.
The base model rear-wheel drive sDrive18d SE has a 1,955cc engine which produces 143hp with peak torque of 320Nm. Zero to 62mph is 9.6 seconds and top speed 124mph, but it still manages an impressive 54.3mpg. The four-wheel drive xDrive 18d SE has the same power and torque, but is slightly slower off the mark (0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, top speed 121mph) and has a reduced fuel efficiency of 49.6mpg.
The next two models, the X1 sDrive20d SE and xDrive20d SE offer the same engine in a more highly-tuned state, upping the ante to 177hp and 350Nm. Zero to 62mph is in 8.1 seconds for the two-wheel drive and 8.4 for the four-by-four. Top speed for both is 127mph.
The flagship model, however, is the X1 xDrive23d SE. Four-wheel-drive only, it has a 2.0-liter engine with twin turbochargers producing 204hp and maximum torque of 400Nm, with 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds. It also features a six-speed Sport automatic gearbox with finger-tip controls (all the other models have a standard six-speed manual gearbox).
The X1 models are also the first of BMW’s four-wheel-drives to offer Auto Stop-Start technology, which helps improve fuel consumption figures. Otherwise, the design and appointments of the X1 range are pretty much the same mix of style and sportiness you’d expect from BMW.
The BMW X1 series will be available for sale in the UK from October, with the base model sDrive18d SE starting at GBP22,660 and the top-of-the-range xDrive23d SE from GBP29,055.