BMW X1 2023 Review
Our Rating


BMW X1 2023 Review

BMW’s compact SUV is back for a third generation. We find out what it's like


The BMW X1 jumped the gun in 2009 as the first true compact premium SUV, and even as more and more rivals have joined the fray, it has held its own. But with a flurry of new rivals, including the latest Mercedes GLA and Alfa Romeo Tonale, it’s under more pressure than ever to appeal to buyers. 

BMW has responded with a new, third generation of its X1, and it represents quite a significant change. It might be BMW’s most compact SUV, but it’s grown noticeably in size, helping to give it a more assertive look (thanks to BMW’s bold design) and free up plenty of interior space. 

It also adopts BMW’s latest interior design, headed up by a ‘Curved Display’, while there’s a huge range of powertrain options on offer. Let’s get behind the wheel and see if it stands out in this popular class.


You can have an X1 powered pretty much by what you like, with petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric all set to be offered. 

There will be two PHEV options, delivering up to 322bhp and fitted with batteries that allow for a claimed electric range of up to 55 miles. The electric iX1, meanwhile, will bring a range of up to 272 miles. 

If you’d prefer diesel, there’s the choice of two 2.0-litre units – the 148bhp sDrive18d (the only front-wheel-drive X1 available) and a 208bhp xDrive23d. Rather a petrol? There’s just one engine available, and that’s in the xDrive23i. It’s in the car we’ve been driving, a mild-hybrid 2.0-litre unit developing 211bhp and 360Nm of torque. 

Acceleration to 60mph takes 6.9 seconds, with a 145mph top speed possible. In terms of efficiency, it is the thirstiest X1 on offer, with BMW claiming 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 146g/km, but these figures are still commendable. 

Ride and handling

BMW often succeeds at making more ordinary cars good to drive, and the X1 is no exception. Our test car is an M Sport, which gets a sportier suspension setup, and if you want an SUV to enjoy driving, this is a good choice. 

The steering is smooth and inspires confidence and excels above many of its rivals in this respect, and generally feels much sportier in character. 

This petrol gets a ‘boost’ paddle at the side of the steering wheel to unlock some extra pace from the hybrid element. It’s a pretty good engine, though it can feel quite gruff if you put your foot down hard, and the gearbox occasionally struggles.


The interior of the new X1 is arguably the biggest change compared to its predecessor. That ‘Curved Display’ dominates the interior and is made up of a 10.7-inch touchscreen and 10.25-inch digital dial display, wrapped behind one stunning section of glass. Though it can be a bit more complicated now that the old rotary iDrive controller is no more, the slickness and clarity of the screens still make them easy to use still. One downside is that the ‘next gen’ steering wheel buttons feel quite cheap and aren’t as pleasant to operate as those in the past.

One area where the X1 can’t be faulted is interior space. Yes, this might be BMW’s most compact SUV, but it makes you question the need to upgrade when you consider the roominess on offer. There’s plenty of room in the rear seats (even with a sunroof fitted), while the 540-litre boot is 50 litres up on the previous X1. 


BMW offers the X1 in three trim levels – Sport, xLine and M Sport. 

All versions get plenty of equipment, including the Curved Display, an electric boot, LED headlights, climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels. 

The xLine brings a more rugged look thanks to its aluminium underbody protection and 18-inch alloys, while the M Sport gets a more performance-oriented look, adaptive suspension and 19-inch rims.


With all these improvements, unsurprisingly the X1’s price has increased quite noticeably. The range now starts from £36,225 for a diesel Sport model, though a petrol option will set you back more than £40,000.

Be careful of choosing too many optional extras too as the price can quite quickly increase if you aren’t careful. 


BMW has thoroughly overhauled the X1 and the result is one that’s largely very impressive. It drives well, has a high-quality interior and is now packed with technology. 

With a more spacious cabin than before, the X1 would excel as a compact family SUV, and it’s right at the forefront of this very popular class.

Enquire on a new BMW X1