The BMW with its X1 is credited with creating the Premium Compact SUV segment, or as it puts it the “SAV” or Sports Activity vehicle. Introduced in Australia back in 2010 there’s little doubt it spurred other premium brands into action. This year a number of enhancements were unveiled, most notably the addition of an eight-speed automatic. This week in the EFTM Garage – the X1 sDrive20i.


Make: BMW

Model: X1

Variant: sDrive20i

Engine / Transmission: BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder petrol, eight-speed automatic

Vital Stats: 135kW / 270Nm

BMW Claimed Fuel Economy: 6.7l / 100km

EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 8.6 / 100km

Manufactures List Price, all prices include luxury car tax: From $48,300

Options Fitted To Test Car:

  • xLine package – $3600
  • Fine wood interior trim – $650
  • Parking Package – $1105
  • Metallic Paint – $1700
  • Panoramic Sunroof – $3000

As Tested – $58,355


Wow Factor: BMW’s simply drive like few other cars with precise steering, exceptionally well-honed handling and an overall sense of diligent craftsmanship. The X1 delivers all of the above, holding its own despite being built around the last generation 3 Series sedan platform.

Standard connectivity levels are now excellent with a convenience telephony feature which includes improved Bluetooth such as audio streaming, album cover display, pairing of multiple devices and the provision for a snap-in adaptor. Although I’ve never encountered anyone who uses the latter!


Most Impressive: The X1 sDrive dispatches 0 – 100km/h in 7.5 seconds, but the sheer slickness of the eight-speed transmission promotes a far more rapid sensation of acceleration. In my mind the gearbox is about as good as they come, it makes you wonder why others such as Volkswagen persist with their DSG dual-clutch set ups. It’s lighting quick, never fazed and really lends itself to the often ignored paddle shifters found in so many vehicles these days.

The optional xLine package brings with it some exterior enhancements which really help lift the entire presence of the X1. Exclusive Glacier Silver matt trims across the front bumper, famous kidney grills, door sills and rear bumper complete the look.

Yet another optional extra is the fine-wood interior trim paneling, it’s rare that slabs of wood inside a car look convincing, let alone impressive. In this case BMW pulls it off.


Least Impressive: Some parts of the cabin fall surprisingly short of what you’d call premium. Cheaper swathes of plastic across lower parts of the doors and centre console rival any Japanese or South Korean effort. Although there’s a not uncommon push-start ignition button, it still requires the insertion of the key fob into a crevice. An Eco-mode feature helps keep a lid on fuel economy, but it blunts the excellent performance to such an extent many won’t bother with it. The result is relatively poor fuel economy.


Early Verdict: If you must have a slightly higher riding, hatchback style premium SUV you’d be hard pressed finding a better example than the BMW X1. The wonderful transmission alone is worth the investment. But like any European offering, it’s the options that could well give your accountant a case of heartburn at best.