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August 29, 2017

Review: 2017 BMW X1 xDrive20d xLine

The moment you lay your eyes on the 2017 X1, you know there’s something not quite right with it. You rub your eyes for a second and stare again: the proportions are out of whack for a BMW. The long hood, short deck associated with the “Ultimate Driving Machine” has been swapped with something that’s stubby and MPV-ish. You pop the hood and see that the engine’s oriented the “wrong way” too—transversely rather than longitudinally. Is BMW mad? Have they lost the plot or is this an April Fool’s prank played several months too late?

Play the purist all you want, but BMW understands its customers quite well. Mr. 3 or 5 Series isn’t ready to let go of his penchant for rear-wheel drive and for the time being, they’re sticking with tradition. The X1, meanwhile is meant as an entry-point to BMW ownership. It’s meant for people who’re ready to graduate from sushi to caviar. And for the most part, it’s worked. The first-generation model, despite its awkward looks and poor packaging was received very well. Now, the second-generation model erases all those shortcomings and comes out all the better.

For starters, the X1 looks the part. Despite not having the aforementioned proportions that you’re used to, it’s thoroughly recognizable as a BMW. Cover the roundel and double kidney grille, and you still get cues that tie it up with the rest of the BMW X Family. The oversized headlights (with angel-eye LED DRLs, of course) and high-set fog light give sort of a baby X5 look. The rear’s much more subdued and softer, with just the two exhausts jaunting out of the bumper offering some cues to its sporty nature. The X1’s plainest when viewed on its size, though the strong rising shoulder line and standard 18-inch wheels do help it escape being labeled as bland.

Open the doors (it doesn’t require any key to open) reveals space; more so than even, say the 3 Series. Despite its narrow width, BMW has managed to recover precious millimeters here and there by simply rotating the drivetrain 90 degrees. For one, the tall transmission tunnel is now set low with the shifter sticking out more to meet your hand. Not only does this free up knee room, but it also produces two storage spaces and two Venti-sized cup holders (a rarity in German cars). Next, towards the back, you’ll find accommodations that aren’t just hospitable, but actually generous. You still can’t sit cross legged back there, but at least knees don’t brush against the front seat cushions. Three adults can actually abreast. Plus, not only are the rear seats reclinable in a 40/20/40 split, but they also slide fore and aft. It reduces cargo room for sure, but it also keeps your pesky in-laws’ mouth shut. Oh, and there’s also the case or rear A/C vents which makes any ride extra comfortable.

And while there are no complaints when it comes to the X1’s packaging, the design of the interior itself is rather austere and plain. There are some nifty cues, like the adjustable ambient lighting, but as a whole, there’s no visual drama, no oomph that makes you think you got a luxury crossover; sorry, SAV. Still, touch any surface and everything’s excellently finished. Plus, it’s generous in terms of features: automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, power front seats (with memory for the driver), power tailgate, leather seats—they all come standard. This is money well-spent here. Plus, everything is put together with a resoundingly high quality that actually puts some higher-priced cars to shame.

Push the Engine Start button and the 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel comes to life with a worrying level of clatter. It sounds unrefined with high levels of noise that’s more pickup truck than luxury crossover. But close the door and those worries get shut away. Whatever voodoo magic BMW has done to quell and isolate the diesel ruckus has certainly worked (though it’s likely to do with copious amounts of sound deadening), enabling the X1 to match a typical gasoline-engined car for quietness and smoothness.

 The single best aspect of the motor though has got to be its flexibility. Paired with an equally great 8-speed automatic, it gives the X1 unmatched tractability at just about every RPM range. It can rocket from a standing start with ease (0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds), cruise worry-free on the highway, and even give you commanding power to overtake. For sure, enthusiastic drivers would decry the absence of paddle shifters (and they would have for a good addition for sure), but for most occasions, the gearbox can do the job beautifully.

Interestingly, BMW has been pushing their idea of ecological driving which they call “EfficientDynamics.” It’s the same case with the X1 and its dedicated ECO PRO mode. It fiddles with several vehicle parameters including making the idling start/stop more aggressive. It also trades outright responses (and even smoothness) for 10 percent efficiency in traffic. With ECO PRO on, it does 11.36 km/L and without it, it does 10.20 km/L. It sounds like a small difference, but sticking to ECO PRO mode enables the X1 to go 1,000 kilometers between fuel stops.

Now, if you were not told that the X1’s primarily a front-driver (its xDrive all-wheel drive system only kicks power to the rear wheels when needed), you won’t notice the difference. It handles tidily with the same BMW directional responsiveness. It takes transitionary curves with almost no body lean. It also resists understeer which would otherwise eat a typical crossover for breakfast. Oddly, the electric power steering feels hefty at any speed. Though it gives a reassuring sense of solidity and precision, it also limits its chuckability and agility. Meanwhile, the ride itself is pretty solid. It’s firm, but without the brittleness or hop. It also absorbs potholes very well thanks to its solid body structure.

It's a given that the 2017 BMW X1 delivers on all important fronts: space, comfort, flexibility, and maneuverability. While its “unique” drivetrain layout may turn off some long-time fans and enthusiasts, BMW has done well to eschew long standing traditions. And while that may tarnish a bit of the brand panache, a simple drive is enough to allay those fears. The driven wheels may be different, but given the chance and the X1 is still on point as a member of the family that spawns ultimate driving machines.

2017 BMW X1 xDrive20d xLine
Ownership 2017 BMW X1 xDrive 20d xLine
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Luxury Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Twin Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 190 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 400 @ 1,750-2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control No, Limiter Only
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.36 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,439
Width (mm) 1,821
Height (mm) 1,598
Wheelbase (mm) 2,670
Curb Weight (kg) 1,550
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Bridgestone Turanza T001 RFT 225/50 R 18 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear, with Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Tire Pressure Sensor
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. The seats look weird. Reminded me of toilet bowls for some reason.

    1. As a remedy..u can order for some kind of seat cover in Banawe.

      This bmw model is great looking.
      The only problem is the diesel engine of 190hp x 400nm power & torque.
      I think it will lose the race againts the Civic Rs and the Mazda 3. Baka sa Ford Focus pa lang hirap na sya. That's according to the fanboys...

    2. The reason is because of power to weight ratio.
      Magaan kasi yon mga sedans.

    3. It looks like those seats were lifted straight from the MINI Countryman... The X1's twin. That could explain why they look rounded.

    4. The BMW weighs only 1.5 tons and is aerodynamic. It will eat compacts.

      Your 200hp x 500Nm Colorado however, weighs more than 2 tons and is as aerodynamic as a piece of brick. Don't be bitter.

  2. I really love the engines on these. Very efficient yet fast. Thou I agree on the toilet esqe seats.

  3. Hi Sir Uly, have you noticed a significant improvement as with regards to the NVH level?

    1. Yes, big improvements compared to the previous X1. Perhaps it's weakness is tire noise. It's a tad noticeable at highway speeds, but aside from that, it's refined.

    2. Thanks Sir Uly. My family is actually eyeing a 2012 X1 1.8D but the high NVH levels is a big concern.

  4. Hi. Any word when the new x3 will arrive? Is x5 m sport and x5///M available locally?


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