BMW X1 Estate Leasing
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The X1’s cabin is classy and practical, and features BMW’s brilliant iDrive infotainment system. All versions are well equipped and good to drive.
The ride is firm and versions with run-flat tyres suffer from excessive road noise. Prices are high and residual values aren’t likely to be especially strong.
Premium compact SUVs don’t get much better than the X1. It scores highly for quality, practicality and fun. It’s pricey to run, however, and refinement could be better.
The X1 is a nippy little car. It’s available with a range of 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines and even the cheapest version has 148bhp and lots of torque. That’s the 18d; upgrade to the 20d and you get 187bhp. The top-spec diesel, the 25d, is hot hatch-quick. The single petrol option is the 20i, which has a very healthy 189bhp. BMW’s excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard for the 20i and optional for other models – it does nothing to blunt performance.
Ride & Handling
The X1 is more fun than most compact SUVs. There’s little body lean through corners, crisp handling, plenty of grip and steering that’s responsive and nicely weighted. Most models come with ‘xDrive’ four-wheel drive that gives superior traction to sDrive front-wheel drive versions on slippery roads. The ride is firm; especially with larger alloy wheels and optional run-flat tyres. Optional adaptive dampers allow different chassis settings for an effective bias towards sportiness or comfort.
In most respects the X1 is impressively smooth and quiet. The diesel engines are a bit gruff when worked, but they’re hushed when cruising. Wind noise is well contained at speed, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox is one of the smoothest around. Road noise is the only real concern – versions with run-flat tyres kick up enough din to make long journeys much more tiring than they should be.
Buying & Owning
The X1’s list prices look a bit steep against its key rivals and while you should be able to get a decent discount at the showroom, residual values aren’t expected to be particularly strong. An Audi Q3 or Range Rover Evoque will hold its value better. The petrol version isn’t especially frugal, but the diesel versions return good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. BMW’s fixed-price servicing packages are good value. Business buyers will find the contract hire rates rather high.
Quality & Reliability
The X1’s cabin is a great place to be, with all the plush materials, solid build quality and attention to detail. The switchgear and controls all have a satisfyingly precise, weighty feel, too. This is the second-generation X1, however, the first-gen fared badly in our most recent customer satisfaction survey, with a poor reliability score. BMW finished a lowly 28th out of 37 manufacturers in our latest reliability survey. The X1’s three-year warranty has no mileage limit.
Safety & Security
Euro NCAP awarded the X1 a maximum five-star rating in 2015, with scores of 90% for adult protection, 87% for child protection, 74% for pedestrian protection and 77% for safety assist. Safety kit includes six airbags and an emergency assist service. An autonomous braking function is an option, as is adaptive cruise control and lane departure system. Security experts Thatcham awarded the car five out of five for resisting theft, and four out of five for resisting being broken into.
Behind The Wheel
Like most BMWs, the X1 has fundamentally sound ergonomics. The seats are supportive, the driving position is good and the dashboard is a user-friendly blend of common sense and clarity. BMW’s intuitive iDrive infotainment system can’t be bettered for ease of use. Standard rear parking sensors are welcome due to the rather small rear glass area. A rear-view camera is part of a pricey option pack. Lumbar support for the front seats is a cheap option for all models.
Space & Practicality
The X1 is cleverly packaged, cramming a lot of space and versatility into a compact body. There’s ample head and leg room in the front, and lots of useful storage areas. The rear seats offer more space than most rivals, as well as a versatile 40/20/40 split/folding configuration, although the centre seat is less comfortable. A sliding rear seat base is a useful option. The boot is unusually large and well shaped for the class, and the rear seats fold to leave a totally flat extended load area.
The X1’s comprehensive standard equipment goes some way to justifying its high list prices. The entry-level SE model is better equipped than most rivals, with sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, Bluetooth, a power-operated tailgate and a digital radio as standard. Sport models get extra kit, mostly cosmetic, so SE is our preferred trim. xLine and M Sport models get bespoke interior and exterior upgrades, and they’re rather expensive.