2023 BMW X1 20i new car review

BMW’s smallest and cheapest SUV is used as a gateway vehicle for the German brand, as the X1 is often the first choice for new BMW customers looking for a slice of luxury. We find out just what they get.

Here is everything you need to know about the BMW X1.


The X1 xDrive 20i starts at about $72,000 drive-away and comes with a generous array of gear, including head-up display, a powered tailgate, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, leather and heated and electrically adjusted front seats. A 10.7-inch curved infotainment display blends into a digital instrument cluster.

There’s also a three-year subscription to real-time weather and traffic information and a concierge service.

For another few grand the M Sport model we tried adds cosmetic changes, unique bumpers and adaptive suspension.

The X1 also has features via subscription. The hardware for the heated steering wheel is there, for example, but it won’t get toasty until you pay at least $169 for a year of heat, or $349 outright. If you want to remote start the engine it’s $290 annually or $590 for the life of the car. Most competitors include these items in the price of the vehicle.


There’s a classy mix of stitching, leather and silver across the dash, the first sign that plenty of effort has gone into creating a luxury ambience. Ours had the $4000 “enhancement pack” that adds a sunroof, metallic paint, a Harman Kardon sound system and sliding rear seats to trade off between luggage space and rear legroom.

The latest X1 is bigger and the back seats are more adult friendly, although knee room is still tight. A thoroughly respectable 540-litre boot incorporates a sizeable underfloor compartment where the spare wheel would otherwise reside.

Storage includes a near-upright wireless charging pad with an arm to lock your phone into place. There’s also a large space beneath the floating centre console for bags or odds and ends. The shallow centre storage bin with a lid that opens to the passenger side is less useful.

Wings on the front seats tightly cuddle the upper torso, although shorter drivers may find they encroach on their peripheral vision.


There’s an assortment of driver assist technology, including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot warning, door exit warning, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.

BMW allows the to select the sensitivity of the lane departure warning and front collision warning.

A Reversing Assistant can trace the last 50 metres of your journey, allowing you to get out of a tight parking spot without worrying about scrapes.


The 150kW/300Nm four-cylinder engine is smooth and free revving, in typical BMW fashion, although it lacks aural excitement.

There’s also some laziness when you first press the throttle, especially if the engine has shut down to save fuel at the lights.

A boost mode is activated from the left-hand shift paddle to prepare the transmission and engine for swift acceleration. Drive modes can be tailored and even change the ambient lighting to red once Sport is selected.

Fluid and nicely weighted steering keeps the driver well informed, while the X1 is agile through corners, even if it’s not as engaging as a 3-Series sedan.


Immaculately presented five-door brings fresh dose of compact SUV maturity and crisp and engaging dynamics.


Audi Q2 40 TFSI Quattro S-Line, from about $71,500 drive-away

Slick to drive with sporty dynamics and punchy four-cylinder engine. Beautifully presented inside and out, but options and extras can push the price up.

Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic, from about $78,500 drive-away

Comfortable and classy all-rounder with decent pep from its 2.0-litre engine. Price rises have diluted the appeal of what was once a relatively affordable luxury SUV.

Tesla Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive, from about $74,000, drive-away

Spacious but stark interior is an acquired taste but there’s clever technology. The ride is firm and it’s a big step up to the Performance to get AWD.


PRICE From about $75,000 drive-away

WARRANTY/SERVICE Five years, unlimited km, $2150 for 5 years/80,000km.

SAFETY Six airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control

ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo, 150kW/300Nm

THIRST 7.2L/100km

BOOT 540 litres

Originally published as 2023 BMW X1 20i new car review

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