BMW X1 (2009 – 2015) Review

BMW X1 (2009 – 2015) At A Glance


+Compact off-roader available with two or four-wheel drive. Car-like to drive. Economical diesel engine with various power outputs. Usefully large boot.

-M Sport models on bigger wheels have stiff ride.

Insurance Groups are between 18–28
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

The BMW X1 is the smallest model in the X line-up and - as BMW is proud to claim - was the first premium compact SUV on sale in the UK before the Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque. Don't be fooled by the pictures, the X1 is actually a lot more compact than it first appears plus it's priced pretty keenly too, making it an alternative to the likes of the Ford Kuga.

It is actually shorter than a BMW 3 Series Touring so parking isn't a problem, plus it drives well too with impressive handling and - unusually on a small BMW - a very forgiving ride. But where the X1 makes the most sense is in running costs.

It's available with xDrive four-wheel drive as you'd expect but there are also two-wheel drive version - badged sDrive - which unusually are rear-wheel drive rather than front. This means they still handle well in the BMW tradition, but fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are low. All X1s are powered by the same 2.0-litre diesel engine but in differing power outputs. The most frugal is the sDrive18d which is capable of averaging 54.3mpg while choosing the xDrive version still sees economy of 49.6mpg.

The top model is the twin-turbo xDrive23d with 204bhp but for most people the sDrive20d is the best blend of punchy performance and economy. On the road the X1 is comfortable and composed, tackling rough ground or long distance motorway cruises with equal aplomb, while passenger room for those in the back is impressively spacious.

BMW X1 2007 Road Test and Video

Real MPG average for a BMW X1 (2009 – 2015)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

22–65 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Can I mix different tyre brands front and back on a 4x4?
"I have a 2011 BMW X1 xDrive on run flats. I don’t mind the harsh ride but they are Pirelli P7 and seem to lack grip in winter. It has 255/40 R18 95V on the back and 225/45 R18 91V front. I expect to need new replace rears this year (rather costly) and would like cross climates but not to change all four at once as the fronts have a lot of tread to go. Can I get suitable run flats and phase the rear and fronts?"
You can't mix tyres with cold weather tyres and you definitely can't mix tyres with an automatic 4WD system. You can't get Cross Climate ZPs anyway. It's probably a matter of succumbing to the BMW winter package system whereby you pay the dealer a couple of grand for a set of winter tyres on rims (preferably smaller rims with deeper profile tyres), then swap back to summers in April.
Answered by Honest John
My car judders when accelerating - could this be down to previous misfuelling?
"On odd occasions my 2013 BMW X1 suffers the judders as I accelerate through the gears. As if it doesn't know whether to go on - but you can easily just accelerate through it. BMW can find nothing amiss. My own thoughts lead me to think it could have been misfuelled by the previous owner or allowed to run to close to empty. I've only owned it for three months. I have fuelled at different garages to eliminate any possibility of it being one fuel. There hasn't been any pattern, but it is a vague possibility that it does it at a very specific fuel level - being the mark under the quarter tank, which is when I usually fill up. There has only ever been one occasion that I have felt it possibly faltering in sixth gear. What are your thoughts?"
If it has been misfuelled the petrol does not mix entirely with the diesel because it is of lower specific gravity, so tends to 'float' until it is gradually absorbed into the diesel. The diesel pick-up is at the bottom of the tank, so I think what is happening is that when your tank is less than quarter full you are getting a greater concentration of petrol that has less lubricity than diesel and is causing the hiccup. A diesel additive may help, but you have found the solution of maintaining the tank above quarter full and probably need to do that for another 1000 miles or so.
Answered by Honest John
Could you recommend a good SUV that doesn't cost too much?
"We moved to the North East of England from the South and would like to replace my wife’s 2016 Ford Fiesta (6500 miles, Titanium Ecoboost) with a small 4x4 SUV. She likes the look of a used BMW X1, Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson but is open to suggestions. The budget is the Ford Fiesta plus £6000. The annual mileage will be about 10,000 -15,000. Any suggestions would be much appreciated."
Our system says you're looking at about £7300 p/x for the Fiesta, so - plus your £6000 - you're looking at £11,300. This is an old model X1 4x4 or previous model Sportage 4x4 or ix35 4x4 (not a Tucson). The newest for your money will be a Dacia Duster 1.5 DCI 4x4. Qashqai have not been particularly reliable but, of course, are made in the NE so are well catered for there. If this is a bit depressing, the other way to go is to fit a set of Michelin Cross Climates or Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons to the Fiesta that will then be as capable in the snow as a 4x4 that isn't on winter tyres.
Answered by Honest John
BMW X1 MoT advisory - what does it mean?
"The MoT advisory on my 2012 BMW X1 states 'offside rear outer drive shaft inner boot liner clip loose' and 'slight click noise to wheel when rotated'. Garage started talking about £600 plus labour to fix it. What does the advisory mean? And what should I do in the meantime?"
They say the gaiter is loose and that there is wear in the splined shaft. Since it's an advisory you can carry on driving and get a second opinion somewhere else. Obviously it would make sense to secure the loose clip.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a BMW X1 (2009 – 2015) cost?