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2018 BMW X1 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 BMW X1 was new.


Performance: 8.5

In the segment of luxury subcompact SUVs, the 2018 BMW X1 is one of the sportiest. It feels light and lively, aided by an eager turbocharged engine and responsive handling.

  • "Dynamics is where the X1 excels. It is quicker than the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA 250 to 60 mph, posts some of the shortest stopping distances in its class, and sets a high bar in handling prowess. Yet it is the ease of driving this compact SUV that leaves the deepest impression." -- Edmunds
  • "How did the new X1 tackle this obstacle course? Without breaking a sweat, which is more than we could say of ourselves after miles and miles of dodging scattered rocks hiding behind blind corners. The crossover's brakes provide plenty of confidence during downhill descents at speed with the suspension keeping everything, including tire noise, in check when tackling hairpin turns, with the X1 staying well composed in the twisties." -- Autoweek (2016)
  • "The new X1 isn't as agile as its predecessor, but it's not half bad, either. Our X1 with the standard suspension ate up the miles of fast sweepers and hairpin turns without a single complaint from the 225/50R18-size all-season tires. Yes, the higher center of gravity returned more body roll, but for a crossover the X1 is an above-average canyon carver. When it's not being flogged on a curvy back road, the X1 offers a comfortable and relatively quiet ride." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The X1 has only one available powertrain: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration feels quick and easy with this 228-horspower setup, thanks also in part to the X1's low curb weight. Its performance is refined, and its fuel economy rating is typical for this class. The EPA estimates the X1 gets 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

  • "Power delivery is smooth and refined during routine driving, and there's good punch under hard acceleration, too. The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and helps the X1 accelerate to 60 mph in a class-leading 6.5 seconds." -- Edmunds
  • "Although 228 hp might sound modest, it's satisfyingly energetic in a vehicle of this size. Standstill to 60 miles per hour happens in a fairly brisk 6.3 seconds, while steering is precise and handling is predictable." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "BMW's 2017 X1 crossover SUV is small and light, allowing its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to move it briskly when requested, yet this same combo returns good fuel economy in both city and highway driving." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The X1 comes standard with front-wheel drive. The available xDrive all-wheel-drive system adds extra grip, whether you're looking for sportier pavement performance or light off-roading abilities. The three drive modes (Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport) let you somewhat customize your handling.  

  • "The X1 also has a surprisingly relaxing ride, with smooth gear shifts, comfortable seats and a compliant suspension. The M Sport package stiffens the ride a touch, but that's the compromise that comes with an improvement in handling." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "Earlier BMW X1s (the model debuted in 2013) were known for extraordinary handling and athleticism. You'll still have a blast driving the current model in tight turns and long sweeping curves, but generally the X1 feels more like a utility vehicle and less like a sport sedan. Ride comfort takes greater priority on the 2017 BMW X1, though you'll likely want to avoid the 19-inch wheels if you regularly drive on rough roads." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The X1 performs surprisingly well off-road. It'll go up inclines you wouldn't dream about tackling with a car of this type, and it should have no trouble reaching a cabin at the end of a muddy trail or dealing with a tough winter." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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