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BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics Review

BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics

BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics

BMW X1 Road Test

Eco Facts

Model/Engine size:
sDrive20d EfficientDynamics

Fuel: Diesel
Fuel economy combined: 62.8 mpg
Green-Car-Guide rating: 9/10
The BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics offers rear-wheel drive handling in a compact SUV package returning 62.8 mpg and 119 g/km CO

The X1 was launched over two years ago, but this sDrive20d EfficientDynamics is a new model. To achieve 62.8 mpg and 119 g/km CO 2 it means that this X1 is rear-wheel drive (known as sDrive) rather than four-wheel drive (xDrive). This presents a key question: do you need the X1 to be four-wheel drive?

Most owners will never need the X1’s four-wheel drive capability unless it snows. If such weather conditions occur, then owners should do what BMW did with our rear-wheel drive press car and fit winter tyres, and they’ll still be able to get around better than many 4x4s on normal tyres in the winter. We can vouch for this – our last X1 road test was in the blizzards two years ago with a 23d xDrive fitted with normal tyres, and we couldn’t drive the car because it was completely useless in the snow because of its tyres.

This time we didn’t encounter any snow on our test, but we did find lots of ice, when the rear-wheel drive X1 on winter tyres proved very surefooted.

BMW X1 Road Test BMW X1 Road Test on damp road

So, the next question: as the X1 is based on a 3 Series platform, if you choose the rear-wheel drive X1, why not go for a rear-wheel drive 3 Series Touring? It’s a similar size, but the X1 is higher. This means that you get the higher SUV driving position, but you also get a higher centre of gravity, which, due to the laws of physics, means that the handling isn’t as good as a 3 Series.

However the X1 is still a BMW, so it’s still good to drive. All the basics are there: sharp rear-wheel drive handling, steering with reasonable feel, optimal weight distribution, short overhangs, and well-weighted controls.


BMWs get a lot of criticism for their ride; although the X1’s ride is inherently on the firm side, the ride of this car was perfectly acceptable, probably helped by the fitment of winter tyres.

The X1 isn’t a huge 4×4, so don’t expect vast amounts of space inside, especially in the rear. The boot is a good size, although not the largest in its class, but the rear seats can lie flat to create lots of room.


The X1 has a familiar-looking BMW interior, but it doesn’t feel as high quality as other models in the brand’s range. The driving position feels slightly offset and, although we can get a good driving position straight away in most BMWs, it took longer to achieve this in the X1. Unlike the 520d ED, there’s no EcoPro drive setting, and the engine sounds less refined from the interior than in a 3 Series.

One of our biggest issues with the X1 is its looks Ц we’re not huge fans of the front-end styling of the car, and this wasn’t helped by the paint choice on our test car, which was described byeveryone who saw it as Сchocolate’.


To get the emissions down, this X1 has EfficientDynamics features such as Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, active aerodynamics and low viscosity fluids in the steering and transmission systems. Despite all these economy measures, there’s still decent performance from the two-litre turbodiesel and six-speed manual gearbox, with 163 bhp of power on tap and a 0-62 mph time of 8.3 seconds.

For comparison with our car’s 62.8 mpg and 119 g/km emissions, the sDrive20d without the EfficientDynamics suffix returns 53.3 mpg, with emissions of 139 g/km CO2; the 20 g/km difference makes a big difference in the world of company car benefit-in-kind taxation.


Did we achieve 62.8 mpg? Not quite, but we achieved 60 mpg by careful driving, 50 mpg by average driving, and 40 mpg during more enthusiastic use.

Basic equipment on this X1 included items such as dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel. Our test car had options totalling £6405, including professional navigation system (£1960), black Nevada leather upholstery (£1115), Comfort package (£675), and Bluetooth telephone preparation with telematics (£435). Even the СMarrakesh Brown’ metallic paintwork was £465.


A winter tyre package can be specified, which costs £840, or £1100 for run-flat tyres; both of these packages only include steel wheels.

If you like the sound of the X1 but want a different model, there are other engine choices; they’re all diesel, and all the same 2-litre unit, but with different power outputs Ц there’s the 18d with 141 bhp, the 20d with 175 bhp, and the 23d with 201 bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on the 18d and 20d, while a six-speed auto is standard on the 23d and optional on the 20d.

For comparison, a BMW 320d ES Touring costs £27,760 Ц which is over £2000 more expensive than this X1.



The X1 is a good car, combining agility with efficiency. With just 119 g/km CO 2 , it will make a lot of sense as a company car purchase, and with the potential of 62.8 mpg, you’ll like the low running costs, the driving range, and the reduced need to visit fuel stations.

On the downside, the frontal styling may not be to everyone’s tastes, the interior could feel a bit more upmarket, and it could be more refined.


BMWs with the EfficientDynamics badging tend to get a very high Green-Car-Guide rating, and the X1 is no exception; it gets a 9 out of 10, missing out on a 10 out of 10 mainly because the overall package just doesn’t feel quite special enough.

If you go for the 4×4 version, and use it as intended by the BMW marketing people, for a Сsporty outdoor active lifestyle’, then that’s fine, but unless you need the extra height, we think the outgoing 3 Series Touring makes more sense than a rear-wheel drive X1. It looks better and handles better – and this argument is only going to get stronger with the arrival of the new 3 Series Touring later in the year, and even more so with the promise of a four-wheel drive 3 Series for the UK.

Paul Clarke


Fuel economy extra urban: 68.9 mpg

Fuel economy urban: 54.3 mpg

CO 2 emissions:119 g/km

Green rating:VED band C – First year £0

Weight:1650 Kg

Company car tax liability (2011/12):13%


Insurance group: 25

Power:163 bhp

Max speed:127 mph

0-62 mph:8.3 seconds

DPF: Yes

Read our BMW X1 xDrive23d road test

Read our BMW X3 xDrive20d road test

Read our BMW 520d EfficientDynamics road test

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