BMW 2015 X1 sDrive20d review

BMW 2015 X1 sDrive20d review

Sound is a very important part of a car driving experience. It’s why people spend thousands of dollars on sports exhausts with negligible performance benefits and aftermarket speakers to share their dubious music choices with unwitting pedestrians – near, far, wherever you are, 400W of subwoofer will ensure you are heard.

Manufacturers add sound deadening to hide road noise, and they pay minute detail to the click of switches and the thunk of doors, which is where I found myself in a parking building opening and closing the driver’s door seven times.

BMW X1 2.0d 2015 front interiorSome cars sound flimsy when you pull the door, but the BMW sounds more like you’re dropping the bass at a club. It was noticeably better than the Hyundai SUV I’d exchanged it for and it made me think about the overall noise experience in the X1.

The BMW’s 2-litre turbodiesel engine is not especially audible on the inside, but stand on the outside and you know it’s not petrol-powered as it clatters away in a way only an oil burner can.

BMW X1 2.0d 2015 reversing cameraI don’t remember thinking that a European diesel was this loud since I tested an Audi Q7 diesel some years back. Credit to BMW to eliminating it from the cabin, though.

What they didn’t do quite so well in is eliminating tyre noise on coarse surfaces, BMW X1 2.0d 2015 wheelsomething which is often down to tyre selection rather than a fault with the car – possibly that the BMW comes with run-flat tyres that have reinforced sidewalls (something that makes the ride a little crashy, too, on some surfaces).

Those 225/50R18 tyres are wrapped around some quite beautiful 18-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, and the beauty doesn’t stop there.

The BMW makes and assured statement of BMW X1 2.0d 2015 boot subfloorsolidity, particularly with the design of the rear which terminates with a powered boot to close off the 505-litre storage space – convenient and a talking point amongst your friends, but why not include keyless entry?

The BMW X1 is a little rocket around town. The engine’s 140kW and 400Nm of torque produces an off-the-line sprinter to get you up-to-speed quickly.

BMW X1 2.0d 2015 rear quarterThe X1 has an eight-gear automatic ‘box with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel which means you’re never left in a torque hole when you need some power.

BMW quotes 4.9l/100km fuel economy on the combined cycle, presumably using Eco Pro mode which BMW estimates saves 20% in fuel consumption; my leadfootedness in normal mode driving achieved 6.8l/100km, mostly driving around the city.

An automatic stop/start function mitigates fuel usage at traffic lights, and you can select Eco Pro driving mode to turn down other features in the car to conserve energy. There is also a Sport mode in addition to normal driving mode.

There is plenty of braking power, fortunately for the Accord-driving moron who pulled out from a side road right in front of me. It’s not like the BMW isn’t visible enough: the LED daytime running headlights are a work of art and, as you can see, it’s white!

Given that the speed tolerance has dropped to 4kph, the cruise control with downhill automatic braking was welcome.

There’s a screen on the dashboard which enables you to access all the apps and settings, plus displays the view from the reversing camera. It’s not a huge screen at just 6.5 inches, but the camera is quite high resolution (800×480 pixels) and works very well even in low-light situations.

Parking couldn’t be simpler: the X1 does it for you for both parallel and lateral manoeuvres (you simply need to control the accelerator and brake). Parking sensors are provided front and rear, too.

You can connect your phone for hands-free operation using spoken commands, and audio streaming. There are connections for USB devices and even a CD player (which would almost certainly be deleted if this car was aimed at millennials).

But it’s a bit on the pricey side for the youth of today. $76,500 gets you into this model of the X1, plus the options. The list is extensive enough to push the X1 into six-figure territory if you want it fully loaded. The X1 range starts at $65,500 for the SDrive18d.

The features list is so extensive that this review could be a thousand words longer, but that would just be parroting the spec sheet. BMW’s smallest SUV makes all the right noises – great design, peppy performance and plenty of interior space.

Price: $76,500


  • Spritely urban SUV
  • Stylish looks
  • Spacious for a small SUV


  • Tyre noise
  • Ride can be crashy at times

Words and photos:


« | »

Let us know what you think

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Car and SUV Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Autotalk

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Read previous post:
For sale: One reasonably priced car

With TopGear largely on the rocks, or at least set for significant change, their latest ‘reasonably priced car’. Vauxhall is...