Launches & Reviews Review South Africa

Test review: The BMW X1 sDrive18d

Sheer driving pleasure. And it really stands out, whether on a short urban trip or a long coastal drive. The X1 is really a superb combination of so many things, that ticks all the boxes.
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

Sheer good looks, a sophisticated interior with all the modern comforts, the drive so classy and a very commendable fuel consumption. Combined consumption (urban and highway) chewed around 4.9l of diesel per 100kms.

But take it out on the national highways, and I experienced a frugal 4.5l per 100kms. And with these days of high and ever-increasing fuel prices, the X1 d is just what the good doctor ordered.

The ride on both tarred and untarred surfaces was impressively quiet and smooth. Another point to make here is that the X1 might be the ‘baby’ in the impressive BMW SUV lineup, but it is by no means small.

Bumper to bumper it’s quite lengthy as it is broad and there is really plenty of cabin and boot space for all types of usage. And with the back seats down, even the proverbial kitchen sink can be thrown in. It really has increased visual presence.


The new BMW X1 also treats its occupants to the latest-generation BMW iDrive multi-sensory vehicle experience in the form of the standard-fit BMW Live Cockpit Professional Plus.

Based on BMW Operating System 8, it comprises the BMW Curved Display with its state-of-the-art graphics and menu structure along with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which has now gained additional skills.

The fully digital screen grouping is formed by the 10.25-inch information display and the control display with a screen diagonal of 10.7 inches.
Sheer driving pleasure

The robust aura of the new BMW X1 can be intensified to great effect with the specific design elements of the standard xLine model. The M Sport model also offered as an alternative to base specification places the focus firmly on dynamic driving pleasure with features such as its large cooling air inlets.

All model variants come as standard with 18-inch light-alloy wheels as fitted on xLine and M Sport cars, although these models are also available with 19-inch and – in a first for the BMW X1 – 20‑inch wheels.

The key elements of the cabin’s redesign are the slender instrument panel, the BMW Curved Display, the “floating” armrest with integral control panel and the smartphone tray with indirect illumination at the front of the centre console.

Classy exterior

The surface treatment, lines and classy exterior design details of the BMW X1 display its Sports Activity Vehicle identity more clearly than ever in its third model generation. Distinctive design features include the powerful proportions, almost square wheel arch contours and the signature BMW X model styling of the front and rear ends.

Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

The upright front end of the new BMW X1 gives it a much greater sense of presence, with slim LED headlights, a large, almost square BMW kidney grille, X-shaped lines radiating out to the sides and eye-catching chrome strips in the lower air intake serving as its defining elements. Adaptive LED headlights with matrix high beam, pulsating turn indicators and variable light distribution are available as an option.

Power and consumption

The market launch line-up comprises the new BMW X1 sDrive18i (fuel consumption combined: 6.5l/100 km, powered by a 115kW three-cylinder engine, and the BMW X1 sDrive18d (fuel consumption combined: 5l/100km, whose four-cylinder diesel unit generates 110kW.

The new BMW X1 models offer well-resolved handling characteristics in any situation and deliver the driving experience for which the brand is renowned. The compact all-rounder’s sophisticated chassis technology produces a perfectly harmonious balance between sporty, agile handling on the one hand and long-distance comfort on the other.

Boot space

The rear compartment of the new BMW X1 includes three full-sized seats offering a notable improvement in seating comfort. The 40:20:40 split rear seat backrests can be folded down or adjusted to a different angle to expand the boot capacity. The fore-and-aft adjustment of the rear seats available as an option for the purely combustion-engine models provides even greater versatility. Boot capacity can be increased from 540 to a maximum of 1,600ls.


A truly great buy from a well-respected marque that really ticks all the boxes. Classy from the exterior. Plush interior and coupled with the ambient lighting and Harmon Kardon sound system, the frugal fuel consumption, the BMW X1 is a winner!


  • sDrive18i - R768, 045
  • sDrive18d - R805, 617
  • sDrive 18i M Sport - RR808, 045
  • sDrive 18d M Sport - R845, 617

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.
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