BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE review

BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE review

Drive gently and you'll be amazed at the fuel economy BMW's Efficient Dynamics systems give this practical, but pricey sports activity vehicle. The sDrive versions are rear drive only with traction advantages of four-wheel drive on xDrive versions. CO2 emissions increase to 153g/km with 4wd and fuel consumption dips to 48.7mpg. Some cheap plastics in some cabin areas but this car is destined to be a big hit for the Munich car maker. It's entertaining to drive too.

Review by Russell Bray for


Despite the 18d badge the engine is a torquey 1995cc four-cylinder, 16 valve diesel from BMW's 3 and 1-Series models and gives BMW's smallest sports utility vehicle ample go with 124mph top speed and 0-62mph acceleration in 9.6 seconds. Six-speed manual gearbox quite notchy. Maximum power is 143bhp at 4,000rpm with maximum torque of 236 lbs ft from 1,750rpm to 2,500rpm. Confusing sDrive badge means X1 is rear-wheel drive only. Four-wheel drive xDrive model is £24,640.


Apart from sitting higher up the X1 feels very much like a BMW 3-Series Touring to drive which is logical as it is closely based on that car. Cornering ability and general control responses are very much car-like rather than SUV so living up to the BMW sporty image. Steering relatively weighty but I much prefer that to light systems with little feel. Brakes are reassuringly powerful and the X1 feels stable even under hard deceleration.


BMW's smallest 'sports activity vehicle' as they call it is a little brother to the X3 and X5 and proved a real attention grabber while on test, though it looks better from some angles than others. In truth, a conventional hatchback would probably be more useful for most people, and dramatically cheaper, but lacks the go-anywhere image, even if it's not reality. Boot is smaller volume than 3-Series Touring. Length 4454mm. Width 1798mm.


BMW X1 sDrive 18d Taller driving position gives better view of the road than a conventional car and there's a meaty feeling to the steering you get in sports cars. If you have driven a BMW before you will feel right at home.

Generous and comfortable front seats but rear pews rather flat and unsupportive and space tight for those over 6ft tall. Gear change notchy and clutch springy but you get used to it. Lack of spare wheel would worry high mileage, late at night drivers.


Official fuel economy. Urban 46.3mpg, extra urban 60.1mpg/combined 54.3mpg. This translates to a fuel cost of around 10.2p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 136g/km place the BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE into tax band E. Annual road tax is £110. Insurance group 22. Warranty covers three years, unlimited mileage.


Nearly 55mpg for a tall vehicle with a 1545kg kerb weight shows the ability of BMW's efficient dynamics technology. The X1 is the first X model fitted with auto stop-start to save fuel in traffic hold-ups and a gear indicator to encourage economical driving. Brake energy regeneration is standard along with active aerodynamics and low viscosity fluids in the steering and transmission systems.

Third generation common-rail diesel engine optimises combustion. Power required for fuel and steering pumps has been cut by matching it to driving conditions. The clutched air-conditioning compressor automatically disconnects the compressor as soon as the air conditioning is turned off to save energy. A WhatGreenCar Rating of 38 positions this model high in both the complete model range and in its class.


SE trim includes automatic dual zone air conditioning, sports multi-function leather-rimmed steering wheel, reach and rake adjustable steering column, radio with single CD player and MP3 playback via six speakers, satin silver interior trim, front and rear 12 volt power sockets, battery in luggage compartment with jump-start connection in engine bay. Options included folding and dimming door mirrors £325, luggage compartment separating net £105, Median cloth upholstery £95, USB audio interface £205.


BMW X1 sDrive 18d

Model tested: BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE
Body-style: Five-door sports activity vehicle
Engine/CO2: 143bhp 2-litre, 4-cyl turbo-diesel / 136 gCO2/km
Trim grades: SE only

On-road price: From £23,315 for sDrive 18d SE
Warranty: Three years/unlimited mileage
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS

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Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:1st Jun 2010

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