2021 BMW X1

2021 BMW X1 Review: Agile Practicality

So you're a young exec with a kid on the way, and you've given up on the thought of piloting a Porsche Boxster to work every day. Don't worry, the BMW X1 is here to remind you that you can have a premium interior, lots of cargo space, and relatively lively performance all packaged in a neat subcompact luxury crossover SUV body suitable for families. The 2021 X1 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot delivering 228 horsepower and sends its power to the front or all fours via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The zero to sixty sprint time takes only 6.3 seconds in xDrive guise, and it rides well enough to appease the wife and kids. The BMW X1 will cost you at least $35,400, and competes with the likes of the Audi Q3. We like its strong performance and ample cargo space, but is that enough to make it a class leader? Let's find out.

New 2021 BMW X1 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 X1?

Not much changes for the 2021 model year in the US. SiriusXM satellite radio with a one-year all-access subscription has been made standard, a few exterior paint colors have been removed, and two additions were made to the palette, namely Cashmere Silver Metallic and Phytonic Blue Metallic. The standalone option range has also been updated: sport seats have been removed and are only available as part of the M Sport Package. The price of the BMW X1 has increased by $200, while the price of various optional packages has gone down. For example, the popular M Sport Package is now $300 less expensive. LED fog lamps have also been removed from the Convenience and Premium packages.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful four-pot engine
  • Great handling dynamics
  • Premium interior
  • Ample cargo space
  • Tasteful styling
  • Front seats offer little support
  • Slow infotainment system
  • Firm ride

Best Deals on X1

2021 BMW X1 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
sDrive28i
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$35,400
xDrive28i
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$37,400

2021 BMW X1 Exterior

The BMW X1 sees no exterior alterations for 2021 except for the addition of a couple of new paint colors. Looking at images of the X1, you would believe it to be much larger than it actually is, but this handsome little executive SUV is neatly packaged. While we think the exterior does look a tad anonymous, it doesn't look worse than any of its competitors, and we actually prefer its looks over something like a Lexus NX. Exterior features for 2021 include 18-inch Y-Spoke bi-color wheels, Satin aluminum roof rails, rear privacy glass, and halogen head and taillights. The M Sport package adds high-gloss Shadowline roof rails, 18-inch M double-spoke wheels, and Shadowline exterior trim. A panoramic moonroof and LED headlights are optional.

2021 BMW X1 Front Angle View BMW
2021 BMW X1 Front Angle View 1 BMW
2021 BMW X1 Rear Angle View BMW
See All 2021 BMW X1 Exterior Photos

2021 BMW X1 Dimensions

The BMW X1 is classified as a subcompact luxury crossover SUV and sizes up in dimensions to the Audi Q3. This means you get a total length of 175.5 inches, a maximum width of 71.7 inches excluding the mirrors, and a height of 62.9 inches. The front track is 61.5 inches and the track in the rear is 61.6 inches. The Audi Q3 is slightly longer at 176.6 inches but is just as high and slightly wider. The Bimmer X1 rides on a 105.1-inch wheelbase. The base model weighs in with a curb weight of 3,567 pounds, while the all-wheel-drive configuration comes in heavier at 3,726 lbs.

  • Length 175.5 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 62.9 in
  • Max Width 71.7 in
  • Front Width 61.5 in
  • Rear Width 61.6 in
  • Curb Weight 3,554.0 lbs

2021 BMW X1 Exterior Colors

The BMW X1 SUV is dressed smartly in your choice of ten exterior colors. BMW offers the X1 in two no-cost colors, namely Alpine White and Jet Black. Metallic colors such as Black Sapphire Metallic and Glacier Silver Metallic will cost you an extra $550. For 2021, BMW has removed Sparkling Brown Metallic, Dark Olive Metallic, Jucaro Beige Metallic, Mediterranean Blue Metallic, and Sunset Orange Metallic. New colors for the year are Cashmere Silver Metallic and Phytonic Blue Metallic. Misano Blue Metallic is a striking choice but requires the M Sport Package for a total cost of $4,900. If we had a choice, we would get one in the optional Storm Bay Metallic, but this does come at a cost of $1,200.

  • Black Sapphire Metallic
  • Mineral White Metallic
  • Mineral Gray Metallic
  • Cashmere Silver Metallic
  • Glacier Silver Metallic
  • Phytonic Blue Metallic
  • Misano Blue Metallic
  • Storm Bay Metallic
  • Alpine White
  • Jet Black

X1 Performance

Subcompact SUVs in the premium range are expected to offer sedan-like performance figures, and vehicles such as the X1 and Audi Q3 offer precisely that, thanks to strong turbocharged engines that provide lots of low-end torque. The BMW X1 is available with a single engine and transmission. What you get under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels, or all fours, via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance from this unit is plentiful, especially for a car of this size, and most will find ample power on request. The BMW X1 will manage a 0 to 60 time of 6.6 seconds in FWD configuration, dropping to 6.3 seconds for the AWD car, making it one of the faster cars in its class. Top speed is a respectable 130 mph, but 144 mph is possible with a raised top speed limiter and performance tires, in FWD guise. The X1 has a towing capacity of 3,700 lbs.

2021 BMW X1 Front View Driving BMW
2021 BMW X1 Rear View Driving BMW
2021 BMW X1 Front View Driving 1 BMW

Engine and Transmission

The 2021 BMW X1 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels, or all four wheels, via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to a broad torque curve starting low in the rev range, the engine in the X1 feels very usable, especially around town where you barely have to wait for the turbo to wake up before you feel a surge of power. The same can be said for highway driving: the X1 is a confident cruiser and overtakes with glee. The engine and transmission combination is a great one; the eight-speed automatic shifts with crisp precision, and is surprisingly intuitive for an automatic box. In AWD guise, the X1 can send 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels for brief periods of time when traction in the front is lacking. With strong performance and smooth transmission, the X1 offers one of the best driving experiences in its class.

  • Engine
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The X1 was never designed to be a sports car. Instead, BMW has aimed to provide a refined ride that, combined with a dose of composure, should leave the driver feeling confident and relaxed. The relaxed nature of the drivetrain, especially the refinement of that transmission, adds greatly to the overall driving experience. On the road, a test drive will reveal that the X1's ride is on the firmer side, but not to the extent that it becomes a serious issue, although low-speed road imperfections can get a bit jarring, especially when fitted with the M sport suspension package. The X1 behaves more like a dynamic sedan than an SUV in this sense. Unfortunately, the electrically assisted power steering in the X1 is overly coddled and phases out most road feedback, which makes it feel less like a BMW and more like an average small SUV. That being said, the X1 still feels stable and planted around corners, and will happily follow steering inputs with quick responses from the nose, while body roll is kept to a minimum. The brakes work well and inspire confidence, especially when pushing on.

X1 Gas Mileage

The 2021 X1 is available in either FWD or AWD configurations, which will affect the amount of fuel consumed on average. With only around 3,500 pounds to lug about in FWD guise and a small-capacity turbocharged motor in play, the X1 is a surprisingly economical thing, especially when you consider its impressive performance. The EPA rates that the 2021 BMW X1 will manage best gas mileage figures of 24/33/27 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Going for the AWD model will see those numbers drop to 23/31/26 mpg. With a fuel tank capacity of 16.1 gallons, the X1 will manage a maximum range of between 418 and 434 miles, depending on drivetrain selected.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 24/33 mpg
* 2021 BMW X1 sDrive28i FWD

X1 Interior

As with any BMW, the X1's interior is a premium place to sit in and is well crafted from top to bottom with a variety of soft-touch materials. We did, however, spot a few hard plastics in the form of a flimsy glove box, and the storage bin under the front seat also feels cheap. The naturally sporty feel of the X1's interior is highlighted by the fact that the dashboard design is driver-centric, and most of the controls are tilted slightly in favor of the driver. The buttons and general interface of the dashboard are simplistic and elegant, but smaller buttons can flummox bigger hands. Sitting inside the X1, front passengers will enjoy a great driving position that is lower than the average SUV in this class. Other highlights include a large cargo area. The X1 offers interior luxuries such as eight-way power front seats and automatic climate control.

2021 BMW X1 Steering Wheel Controls BMW
2021 BMW X1 Dashboard BMW
2021 BMW X1 Front Seats BMW
See All 2021 BMW X1 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The X1 is quite spacious when compared to competitors such as the Audi Q3, and offers enough space for five adults with ease. Getting in and out of the X1 is a pleasure seeing as its slightly lifted ride height means that you don't have to hunker down to get into the front or rear. Once inside, the front power seats fail to offer much support, but the seating position for the driver is the best in class in our books. Legroom is more than enough for taller occupants, and the same goes for the rear seats, which offer more space than the Audi Q3. The headroom is also satisfactory front to rear. The Premium Package adds power lumbar support and four-way adjustable comfort settings for lower back support. The sport seat option is a good one for those who like to drive with more enthusiasm. The side bolsters are thicker, and overall support is improved with these bad boys.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.4 in
  • Front Head Room 41.9 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior colors and materials on offer in the X1 aren't all-new, but they still feel as great as ever. The seats, in the base model, are upholstered in Sensatec, in your choice of Oyster and Black, or all Black. Optional Dakota leather colors include Mocha, Black perforated seats with Blue highlights, as well as Oyster Perforated leather, and Black perforated leather. These optional colors go for $1,450, but require the fitment of the Convenience Package for an additional $2,250. In terms of trim, BMW gives you the option of one no-cost option, namely Black High Gloss. Choices such as Fine Wood Fineline and Brushed Aluminum will cost you an extra $350, but require the addition of the Luxury and Convenience packages, upping the cost overall. All cars get an Anthracite headliner as standard.

X1 Trunk and Cargo Space

Not only is the interior of the BMW X1 impressive, but it also offers a sizable trunk and overall cargo space, which is an important factor when it comes to the SUV class. Accessing the trunk area is simple, thanks to a large power tailgate. The slightly lifted ride height means you'll have to work a bit harder to lift stuff in the back, though. Behind the second row of seats, the BMW X1 offers 27.1 cubic feet of space, but how much can you fit in there? Your monthly grocery shop for the whole family will easily be accommodated, and taking your two Golden Retrievers to the park won't be an issue, either. With the rear seats folded down, you get 58.7 cubic feet of space, which eclipses the 48 cubes on offer in the Audi Q3.

Small items can be stored in the front glove box, center console, as well as the front passenger under-seat storage bin. The X1 also includes a storage package that consists of nets on the front seat backrests. Four cup holders - two in front and two at the back - are provided, too.

2021 BMW X1 Rear Passenger Seats BMW
2021 BMW X1 Sunroof BMW
2021 BMW X1 Rear Passenger Seats 1 BMW

X1 Infotainment and Features

Features

Despite technically having two trims, the only real difference between these is the drivetrain; so, the X1 offers a set menu of features. There is a healthy number of optional extras for those that demand more, however. The interior features standard tech such as advanced vehicle and key memory, a system that controls and keeps track of climate control, exterior mirrors, and power seat settings. Other features include push-button start, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control, as well as rain-sensing windshield wipers. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel includes paddle shifters. Safety features include dynamic cruise control, frontal collision wearing, lane departure warning, and front and rear park distance control. Optional extras include added support for the front seats, ambient interior lighting, a universal garage door opener, a head-up display, as well as an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Wireless phone charging is an option, too.

Infotainment

We found the infotainment system on the X1 to be relatively intuitive, despite some occasional lag. The iDrive infotainment system is controlled by voice recognition, steering-wheel-mounted controls, or a rotary knob. This system features an 8.8-inch hi-resolution display with navigation and advanced real-time traffic information. In terms of connectivity, it includes Apple CarPlay, BMW Connected Drive, BMW TeleServices, as well as a USB audio connection and Bluetooth streaming. SiriusXM satellite radio is standard for 2021 model cars. Android Auto has begun making its way into new BMWs, but this doesn't apply to the X1 just yet. The sound system consists of seven speakers and a 205-watt digital amplifier as standard, but a Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers is available as an optional extra.

X1 Problems and Reliability

While the 2021 BMW X1 has not been affected by any recalls, 2020 models were subject to one recall for airbags that may not deploy in a rollover crash. 2019 model suffered from three recalls for issues ranging from faulty steering gear tie rod, taillights that could pop out, and insufficient impact absorption that may result in injury during collisions. It seems the kinks have been ironed out, however, and reliability is supported by a 74 out of 100 ranking from J.D. Power's reviews of the X1 last year which will undoubtedly carry over. And, an industry-standard 4-year or 50,000-mile basic warranty, as well as a drivetrain warranty for the same period, is standard. You also get a 12-year corrosion warranty, four years of roadside assistance, and a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

X1 Safety

While the 2021 X1 has not yet been crash-tested, the 2020 model performed well. Safety rating agency NHTSA scored the 2020 X1 with a full five-out-of-five stars, and the IIHS gave it a spread of Good ratings for all crashworthiness tests with only the LATCH system scoring an Acceptable rating for its ease of use. The 2021 derivative should prove to be as safe as the previous year model.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

This BMW X1 review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the solid number of safety features on offer. In comparison to the competition, the X1 has some good safety tech, including advanced cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, eight airbags including front knee airbags, as well as a rearview camera. Advanced driver assistance tech includes frontal collision warning, lane departure warning, and speed limit info. An optional head-up display, parking assistance, and active driving assistance with adaptive cruise control are also offered.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 BMW X1 a good car?

The X1 will be a wise choice for those who need the extra space of an SUV but don't want an overly bulky vehicle that will feel big and cumbersome. The X1 manages to offer a lot of interior space while at the same time delivering almost sedan-like driving characteristics. We'd go as far as to say it feels practically sporty in the way it operates, too. The ride might be a bit stiff when driving at lower speeds, but it always feels composed and eager to please. The engine is a gem, too - it pulls hard in any gear and offers more than enough go. The interior has a few hard plastic bits, but in general, it feels as premium as any other BMW product, and we appreciate the levels of standard features it comes equipped with. The infotainment system can feel laggy, but the overall experience is decent. There's enough safety equipment and technology to make the X1 one of the safer cars in its class. We'd highly recommend looking at the X1 if you're in the market for a small luxury SUV.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 BMW X1 SUV?

The new BMW X1 is available in two configurations, FWD and AWD, with the sDrive28i set as the entry-spec model with the former drivetrain, and the xDrive28i as the latter. The base model sDrive28i goes for an MSRP of $35,400 in the USA and excludes tax, registration, and a destination fee of $995. Going for the xDrive28i model will cost $37,400. The Audi Q3 is slightly more expensive to begin with, at a base price of $36,000. Fully loaded, the BMW X1 price will top out at just over $50,000 including destination, if you layer on all the extras.

2021 BMW X1 Models

The 2021 BMW X1 is technically only available in a single trim, but there are two drivetrain configurations, and therefore two models. Both have the same features. Starting with the exterior, the X1 gets 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, a power tailgate, as well as a set of roof rails. The interior offers eight-way front power seats, front and rear park distance control, automatic climate control, Sensatec upholstery, a sports leather steering wheel, as well as a rearview camera. The infotainment system consists of an 8.8-inch display with Apple CarPlay integration, Aux/Bluetooth connectivity, and navigation with real-time traffic information. Standard driver assistance systems include frontal collision warning, lane departure warning, and speed limit info.

See All 2021 BMW X1 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

As with most BMWs, you can individualize your X1 to perfectly suit your needs via a long list of optional extras and packages. Notable packages include the Convenience Package, which adds a universal garage door opener, ambient lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, as well as power-folding mirrors and such. This package will cost you $2,250. The $4,250 Premium package adds features such as Navigation system Plus, comfort access keyless entry, lumbar support for the front seats, and a panoramic moonroof. One of the more popular upgrades will undoubtedly be the M Sport package at $4,350 which adds 18-inch M double-spoke wheels, Shadowline exterior trim, and high-gloss Shadowline roof rails for $4,350. Standalone features worth mentioning are the Harman Kardon sound system at $875, wireless phone charging for $500, and LED headlights with cornering functionality for $950.

🚗What BMW X1 Model Should I Buy?

While there's only one trim level on offer, new buyers still get to choose between FWD and AWD models. The options list is also available to make your X1 more unique. If we had the money for one, we'd opt for the xDrive28i variant for the added traction benefits and we'd spec it with the optional moonroof and LED headlights. The interior would see the addition of the Premium Package, which adds goodies such as a universal garage door opener and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Other options we would include are the Harman Kardon sound system, wireless charging, as well as heated front seats.

2021 BMW X1 Comparisons

BMW X3 BMW
BMW X2 BMW
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
BMW X1228 hp24/33 mpg$35,400
BMW X3 248 hp25/29 mpg$43,000
BMW X2 228 hp24/32 mpg$36,600

2021 BMW X1 vs BMW X3

The X3 is a compact luxury crossover SUV that blends luxury and practicality in a rather beautiful package. As the name suggests, the X3 is the larger brother here. Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in either 30i sDrive and 30i xDrive spec. Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels via an eight-speed auto transmission. Power in the X3 isn't significantly more (unless you opt for the much more expensive M40i), and carrying more weight doesn't help either, but the X3 will still beat the X1 in a straight line. The fuel economy on the RWD X3 is 25/29/27 mpg city/highway/combined, with the same mpg figure in mixed driving. The interior of the X3 is slightly more upscale and lacks the obvious hard plastics that can be found in the X1. The cargo area is more significant at 28.7 cubic feet, and there's more interior space as well. Standard features are in the X3's favor, with added goodies like a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, three-zone climate control, and LED headlights. But, with a higher starting price of $43,000, we would recommend sticking with the capable X1 unless you really need the extra space and luxury which the X3 provides.

See BMW X3 Review

2021 BMW X1 vs BMW X2

As the name suggests, the BMW X2 is one step up from the X1 in the BMW chain of command. The X2 is arguably a more sporty crossover; it will appeal to those who don't need as much cargo space and who will appreciate the sporty dynamics closer to that of a traditional sedan. The X2 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That's precisely what you get in the X1, although there is a 301-hp version of the X2 on offer for those who really want to go fast. The base model offers the same level of performance as the X1 and a best fuel consumption figure of 24/32/27 mpg city/highway/combined. The interior of the X1 and X2 are comparable, but with the X2 offering slightly less space, especially in the back. Cargo space is also down at 21.6 cubic feet. The interior of the X2 is similar to the X1 in terms of quality and features, with the X2 feeling slightly more sports-orientated. If you're after a more sporty driving experience and don't need the extra space, then go for the X2 - it only costs $1,200 more in base form.

See BMW X2 Review

BMW X1 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 BMW X1:

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$35,400 - $37,400
Price Range (MSRP)
BMW X1
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