February 21, 2020 By Carl S. Cunanan Photos by the author

The 2020 BMW X1: The New from the Tried and Tested

A couple things occurred to me while testing the BMW X1 last week. Reminders, really.

For one, I was reminded that I really like the smaller BMWs. The big ones are great, and I really do enjoy the way the new X5 handles. But I have always been taken more by the handling of cars like the old 3 series, the whole package that was the now classic 2002, even the very first 1er. That to me is why I like BMW. The time in the X1 reminded me of that.

The second thing that was a reminder to me was, how important it is to spec up a car correctly. And that that doesn’t necessarily mean all the bells and whistles of technology. More of the decisions that relate to how the car feels, how it handles, how it is balanced as a package. And here the X1 proved that whoever is making these choices for the local BMWs is getting things right. Many may not agree with that, they may want more tech or more flash or more comfort or more power, but for me as an enthusiastic driver that views the spinning-rotor emblem as mark of daily-drive fun? Spot on.

There’s not a lot of really new in the new car. More like a freshening up of what worked to begin with. The shoes are different, 18-inch light alloy Y-spoke wheels shod with (on our car) Continental 225/50 R18 runflats. The tires were firm, but not harsh and a nice match to what the car could do if asked. The grill is a bit more integrated in the sense that the two kidneys kind of blend in a bit more. The new LED lights are a bit more defined. And the bumper is a bit more aggressive with more emphasis on the air intakes.

The car we drove was technically the X1 sDrive 18d xLine SAV. The TwinPower Turbo four cylinder 1995cc Diesel engine (yes, it says 18d) stays the same as before, putting out 148 bhp at 4000 rpm and 258 lb-ft. of torque at 1750-2750 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission throughputs the energy. You can choose driving modes, and this is where it was actually interesting. With the way the eight-speed worked with the actually rather efficient diesel engine, the X1 is one of the very few cars where the standard default-mode comfort setting is actually pretty good. At least for engines of this size. You don’t feel the immediate need to go up to sport to enjoy yourself or to do away with what in other cars could seem to be an induced laggy response to pushing the right pedal down. Choosing comfort mode (or just not touching the mode toggle) was a pretty good reminder of what a more sporty-oriented transmission of years past (when you didn’t have to choose modes) would be. And remember, often the ability to choose modes has more to do with meeting efficiency/emissions requirements than anything else. This happy space in the performance-to-efficiency ratio isn’t as available as you may think.

BMW has been historically considered the holder of the inline six crown, and the creator of the hot-handling small sedan market as well. The world has changed. Cars have to be made differently. It is really nice to see that, even with the dropping of two cylinders and the addition of height and space, BMW takes its heritage and DNA seriously in a model that will introduce many to the brand.



Engine Inline-4, 1995cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection, Twin Scroll Turbocharged Diesel, 8-speed AT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 148 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 258 lb-ft. @ 1750-2750 rpm


Top Speed 204 km/h (127 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.4 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 21 km/L Overall (manufacturer claim)


Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 3,090,000.00
What's Great Very balanced, responsive even when the car is in Standard mode
What's Not So Had a difficult time pairing smartphone with connectivity interface
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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