BMW X1 xDrive25i petrol (2020) review
Petrol-powered performance for our second go in the revised BMW X1 Mk2.
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

Published on September 27, 2019

What are you driving?

The petrol alternative to the facelifted BMW X1 xDrive25d that we've already reported on. This top spark-ignition X1 model is not on the Irish price lists as yet and it's another that we reckon would be beyond the €50,000 barrier if it does arrive, but if you think of it as a hot hatch on a set of (very small) stilts, you might get on with it better. As yet, the X1 does not have a properly fiery analogue for the related BMW X2 M35i, so as this xDrive25i uses the 231hp/350Nm 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo engine as seen in a MINI John Cooper Works hatch, then you can kind of convince yourself you've bought something cool and sporty. Kind of.

Name its best bits

Well, in the fresh-for-the-revised-X1 shade of Misano Blue and an M Sport kit, it looks pretty decent. Indeed, parked in a Munich garage a few paces away from a full-on Misano X2 M35i, it took us a while of squinting at the pair of them to work out which was the 306hp car and which was the 'family crossover' with delusions of performance grandeur. The interior, as on all X1s, has been improved with the new visual displays (both in the cluster and for the infotainment) and it feels luxurious to sit inside it, while the boot space - liberated by the transverse layout of the X1's engine, allowing for more accommodation in the shell behind the engine bay - is relatively colossal. All good, so far.

We also think the 25i is sweeter to drive than the 25d. Granted, the latter has another 100Nm of torque and so has much more potent mid-range responsiveness on the motorway, while it'll likely give back better fuel economy under most conditions; also, on paper, it's only a mere tenth-of-a-second down on the 25i for the 0-100km/h sprint. But, as ever, black-and-white statistics don't tell the story of how the lighter engine helps make the petrol '25' X1 feel slightly keener to turn in, of how it blesses the car with slightly more natural-feeling steering and of how - no matter how good the rev-happiness of the BMW 2.0-litre biturbo diesel is in terms of, well, diesels - you cannot replicate the pleasure of a zingy petrol motor chasing for its redline. Admittedly, while these sorts of crossovers are not likely to be driven hard on a regular basis, if you're aiming at the top 25-badged dogs in the BMW's line-up then we have to guess the reason you're going for the extra power in the first place is that you want a more scintillating driving experience. The X1 xDrive25i M Sport, to a degree, provides such a thing.

Anything that bugs you?

Aside from the likely €50,000-plus price tag, there are two things that bother us about the 25i: one, while it drives slightly more sweetly than its 25d sibling, going for the petrol engine isn't exactly astonishingly transformative - we still reckon that a 230hp Audi Q3 45 TFSI would be the BMW's dynamic match; and two, the X2 - it's not as objectionable as larger coupe-SUVs (mainly because it doesn't really look like a coupe...), has arguably nicer styling than the X1, doesn't lose out much on the practicality score and, for a figure not much greater than a fully optioned-up xDrive25i M Sport, you could get into the genuinely hot M35i. Tempting.

And why have you given it this rating?

The BMW X1 evolved a huge amount in the shift from Mk1 to Mk2 in 2015, and this modest 'life-cycle impulse' (LCI - what BMW calls its facelifts) has done nothing to harm the German crossover's appeal. This thing outsells any other BMW X product across the globe for the company, so it couldn't tinker with the formula too much for this midlife facelift. Luckily, as the formula was pretty much spot on in the first place for this class of premium compact pseudo-SUV, then what you have here with the updated X1 is one of the best machines in its segment.


Tech Specs

Model testedBMW X1 xDrive25i M Sport
PricingX1 from €38,975
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmissioneight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic, xDrive all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions144g/km (Band C - €390 per annum)
Combined economy44.8mpg (6.3 litres/100km)
Top speed235km/h
0-100km/h6.5 seconds
Power231hp at 5,000-6,000rpm
Torque350Nm at 1,450-4,500rpm
Boot space505-1,550 litres
SafetyEuro NCAP rating for the BMW X1
Rivals to the BMW X1