2018 BMW X1 – In Depth Review

The X1 is the smallest member of BMW’s X-series, and if you think a smaller frame means a smaller wow factor, think again. The 2018 BMW X1 is in no way any less capable than the larger X3 and X5. It marries the performance of the 3-series with a taller ride height and BMW’s AWD system.

Starting at a price of $33,900 and going up to $35,900, the 2018 BMW X1 is a little more expensive than some of its key rivals. But its higher price is a result of a stronger engine, roomier cabin, and a better drive. It uses a 2-liter I-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission that powers the front- or all- wheels.

The BMW X1 doesn’t have a whole lot of flaws, besides a steep price and lack of power upgrades. It excels ahead of the likes of Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA in many aspects. It may cost a bit more, but it has so much to justify each penny.

What’ll impress you

  • Powerful engine
  • Sporty handling
  • Large cargo capacity
  • Upscale and comfy cabin

What Won’t

  • A little noisy on the highway
  • Engine start/stop function is a bit jerky
  • Android Auto is missing

What’s New in 2018 BMW X1?

The 2018 BMW X1 doesn’t receive any major changes except for a reorganized package structure, a rearview camera as a standard feature, and extended telematics services.

2018 BMW X1 Trims


X1 sDrive28i X1 xDrive28i




Features Fold Flat Rear Seats


Rear Bench Seats

Power Driver Seat

Trip Computer

Post-collision safety system

Multi-Zone Climate Control

Power Liftgate/Trunk

Stability Control

USB Inputs

Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel

Auto Climate Control


Automatic Emergency Braking

Features Include sDrive Plus:

All-Wheel Drive System

The 2018 BMW X1 is a compact luxury SUV that is available in two versions: the front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i and the all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i. A 2-liter turbocharged I-4 and an 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission are standard.

After choosing the drivetrain, buyers can choose between the xLine Design or the M Sport Design. After choosing the drivetrain and design, you can add various option groups called ‘tiers’ by BMW. Packages and stand-alone options are available based on which design and group you select.

We Recommend

If you can live without the all-weather capability of the AWD xDrive28i, go for the X1 sDrive28i with the Convenience package. Adding Apple CarPlay and Park Distance Control options as standalone features and you have yourself a well-equipped luxury compact SUV without spending too much.

2018 BMW X1 Engine and Performance

2018 BMW X1 28i Engine
2018 BMW X1 28i Engine

Engine and Transmission

The 2018 BMW X1 uses a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that generates 228hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is paired to an 8-speed Aisin automatic transmission that will either power the front wheels or all wheels, depending on your choice.

To save fuel, the engine has a start/stop function that shuts it off at idle. This may be good for the environment and your fuel economy, but the restarts are a bit jarring. Also, the engine performs much better on premium gasoline.

Models BMW X1 Audi Q3 Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA
MSRP $33,900 $32,900 $ 29,950 $33,400
Engine Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 2.0 L/122 Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 2.0 L/121 Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 2.0 L/121 Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4 2.0 L/121
Transmission 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic 7-speed dual-clutch automatic 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power 228hp @ 5000 rpm 200hp @ 5100 rpm 208hp @ 5500 rpm 208hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque 258 ft.-lbs. @ 1450 rpm 207 ft.-lbs. @ 1700 rpm 258 ft.-lbs. @ 1200 rpm 258 ft.-lbs. @ 1250 rpm

The Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and BMW X1 lie almost in the same cost bracket, with $500 increments in that order. All use a turbocharged 2-liter I-4, but none can match X1 in terms of power. The Audi Q3 is only a grand cheaper than the X1 but is far behind the competition. The Infiniti QX30, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and BMW X1 all tie up in the torque department.


Be it regular driving or be it hard acceleration, the 2018 BMW X1 will always reward you with a smooth and refined power delivery with a good punch. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly, which helps the X1 to accelerate to 60mph in one of the fastest times in the class.

Models BMW X1 sdrive 28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
0-60 MPH 6.5 sec 8.2 sec 6.3 sec 7.2 sec
Quarter mile 15.2 sec @ 90.5 mph 16.1 sec @ 89 mph 14.9 sec @ 93 mph 15.3 sec @ 90.3 mph
Engine 2.0L I-4 2.0L I-4 2.0L I-4 2.0L I-4

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

6.8 7.7 6.6 6.5

The only compact SUV that stares the BMW directly in the eyes is the Infinity QX30. Though it is $4,000 cheaper than the BMW, and BMW’s engine has a 20hp advantage, it still reaches 60mph a couple of milliseconds before the BMW. At the quarter-mile mark, it extends the lead to 0.3 seconds. This is mainly due to the 300-pound weight difference between these two.

The Mercedes GLA, which was 0.7 seconds behind BMW at the 0-60mph test, almost catches up to BMW at the quarter-mile mark. The Audi Q3 is nowhere near the rest, being more than a second behind the QX30.

Handling and Steering

If there is one thing BMW is known for, it is a fun and sporty drive, and the 2018 BMW X1 doesn’t disappoint. The steering requires a bit more effort than some rivals, but not oppressively so. It provides a good feedback and easily directs your car exactly where you want it to go.

Whether you go for the all-wheel-drive system or the front-wheel-drive, the X1 will be equally agile around corners. The all-season tires provide better grip than you’d expect.


The 2018 BMW X1 has brakes that match its acceleration. The brake pedal provides a smooth and progressive feel that is very easy to manage. Even after being one of the heaviest compact SUVs out there, it gives one of the best results in the brake tests. The xDrive28i took just 109 feet to stop from a speed of 60mph.

Model BMW X1 sdrive28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
Brake Front (in) 12.9 12.3 12.6 12.6
Brake Rear (in) 12.5 11.1 11.6 11.6
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3543 3483 3280 3296
60-0 MPH (ft.) 112 122 106 120

The quickest to come to a halt amongst the rivals is the Infiniti QX30. It takes just 106 feet to come to a stop from 60mph, 6 feet shorter than the X1. The Mercedes GLA is also on the slower side at panic stops, with a distance of 120 feet. That’s unimpressive but still better than Q3’s 122 feet.

Fuel Economy

The 2018 BMW X1 gets 23/32 mpg on city/highway. That is about the class average for subcompact SUVs. BMW doesn’t call them ‘SUVs’, though. They are called ‘SAVs’, that’s Sport Activity Vehicles. So given that the X1 is on the sportier side, these ratings are quite good. Choosing the AWD system diminishes the city and the highway mileage by 1mpg.

Model BMW X1 sdrive28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
MPG (city) 23 20 24 24
MPG (highway) 32 28 33 33
MPG (combined) 26 23 27 27

With a combined economy of 23 mpg, Q3’s thirsty engine is at the bottom of the efficiency barrel. The rest of the pack puts up competitive numbers. The Infiniti QX30 and Mercedes GLA both put up an impressive 24/33 mpg in city/hwy. The X1 trails closely behind, with 1 mpg less in both city and highway.

2018 BMW X1 Exterior

“The X1 proudly displays its BMW lineage with a noticeably rugged and angular design that makes it look less like a tall wagon and more like a small SUV. For better or worse, the styling works. The X1’s 7.2 inches of ground clearance allows it to venture more securely off-road, while up front BMW’s familiar kidney grille, standard LED daytime running lights and optional LED headlights make a strong visual statement and brightly guide your path. The M Sport Package adds further flair with an aerodynamic kit, sport suspension and high-gloss roof rails” – Kelley Blue Book

Dimensions and Weight

2018 BMW Side View
2018 BMW Side View

The 2018 BMW X1 has a much more impactful design ever since it ditched its old long-nosed look. It looks much more stylish with its new strong lines and stance. The BMW is one of the heaviest compact SUVs out there.

Model BMW X1 sdrive 28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
Curb weight (lbs.) 3543 3483 3280 3296
Length (in) 175.4 172.8 174.2 173.9
Width (in) 71.7 72.1 82.0 71.0
Height (in) 62.9 62.5 58.9 60.0
Ground clearance (in) 7.2 6.7 6.8 6.6
Wheelbase (in) 105.1 102.5 106.3 106.3
Track width (in) F/R 61.5/61.5 61.1/61.2 61.9/61.9 61.8/61.4

The BMW is about 3 inches longer than the Q3. It also has the highest ground clearance which enhances its rugged off-roading character. Although it is not as wide as the QX30 or the Audi Q3, it doesn’t interfere with the passenger space inside.

Exterior Features

Some of the exterior features include:

  • LED headlights in Premium Plus
  • Xenon HIDs in Premium
  • Heated and power adjusting side mirrors
  • Audi’s Side Assist in Premium Plus
  • 19 inch 10 spoke titanium alloy wheels in sports plus package
  • Standard 18 inch turbine alloy wheels
  • 19-inch off-road design wheels with sports package.

2018 BMW X1 Interior

“While the earlier BMW X1s had a fairly plain interior design, the new X1 is more inviting and has one of the most elegant cabins in this price range. The expensive-looking dash combines BMW’s classic analog gauges with modern technology and high-quality materials, although, you’ll need to ante up for the optional 8.8-inch iDrive display screen to enjoy the full effect. The biggest upgrade compared to last year’s X1, though, is the increase in passenger space.” – Auto Week

Seating and Comfort

2018 BMW Seats
2018 BMW Seats

The 2018 BMW X1 is a 2-row compact SUV which can accommodate 5 people, although the center rear seat is a little raised up and would be a bit uncomfortable for adults during long journeys. The driver seat bottom is a bit hard and narrow and doesn’t provide much lateral support. Still, it remains reasonably comfortable even for long drives.

Model BMW X1 sdrive28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Passenger Volume (ft.3) 101.2 106 108 104
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 41.9/55.6/40.4 36.9/55.8/40 38.4/54.8/52.1 40/54.8/41.9
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.4/55.2/37 37.4/53.6/31.1 37.5/54.8/49 38.2/53.1/27.3

The seats are eight-way power-adjustable in the front with SensaTec upholstery (BMW’s synthetic leather), and a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Genuine leather, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 10-way power-adjustable front sport seats, and sliding and reclining rear seats are available.

Interior Features

Here is a list of the standout features in the 2018 Audi Q3’s cabin:

  • BMW’s iDrive infotainment system
  • 5-inch screen
  • Seven speakers
  • Push-button start
  • Automatic climate control
  • Rearview camera
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Optional features include:

  • Navigation
  • Wireless charging for enabled smartphones
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Apple CarPlay
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
  • 8-inch infotainment display
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • Proximity key
  • Parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, collision mitigation braking, and lane departure warning
  • Heads-up display
  • Traffic sign information


Once you pass the initial learning curve of 2018 BMW X1’s infotainment system, it is quite easy to use. BMW’s iDrive technology is one of the most intuitive in the market and continues to get better each year. Its ease is further amplified by the integrated touchpad on the main control dial. The menu is straightforward and quick to respond.

The standard infotainment system consists of:

  • BMW’s iDrive infotainment system
  • 5-inch screen
  • USB port
  • Bluetooth
  • HD Radio
  • Seven speakers

The optional upgrades include:

  • Navigation
  • Wireless charging for enabled smartphones
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Apple CarPlay
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
  • Satellite radio
  • 8-inch infotainment display


2018 BMW Trunk
2018 BMW Trunk

The 2018 BMW has the most spacious trunk in the class. The cargo space is nice and square-ish with a wide opening. There is no load lip to lift stuff over. You also get cubby storages, tethering points, and a 12V socket. And if that wasn’t enough, the underfloor storage is massive, too. The rear 40/20/40 seats can be folded by the push of a button.

Model BMW X1 sdrive28i Audi Q3 Premium Infiniti QX30 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
Volume behind 2nd row (ft.3) 27.1 16.7 19.2 17.2
2nd row folded (ft.3) 58.7 48.2 43.6 43.6

No other rival comes near the BMW X1 in the storage department. The closest is the Infiniti QX30, well relatively close as it is 8 cubic feet shy. After folding the rear seats, BMW’s massive 58.7 cubic feet of storage is more than 10 cubic feet ahead of all other.

2018 BMW X1 Head-to-Head Competition

Audi Q3

The BMW X1 has several advantages over the Audi Q3. They start with BMW’s powerful engine and nimble handling, Audi falls short on both accounts. BMW also has one of the most spacious cargo capacities in the segment, almost 10 cubic feet more than Audi. X1 also comes with a standard infotainment system.

Although Q3 can get an infotainment system with an additional package, it is still not as intuitive as X1’s. Audi’s ace in the hole was its luxurious cabin, but BMW one-ups Audi is this department, too. All in all, BMW X1 is just a better car than the Q3.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Although the Mercedes-Benz GLA is nicely outfitted with a comfortable and high-quality cabin, some intuitive safety features like driver drowsiness monitor, and an 8-inch screen as standard features, the BMW X1 has several advantages over the Mercedes.

Firstly, the rear seat space and the cargo storage in the X1 is way higher than in the Mercedes. The BMW also has a more powerful engine, not to mention a more fun drive. Mercedes’ infotainment system is good but not as intuitive as the BMW’s. The BMW and the Mercedes cost the same, but BMW provides a much better value for money.

Infiniti QX30

The Infiniti QX30 is one of the most economical compact SUV in the market. It is almost $4,000 dollars cheaper than the X1, provides better fuel economy, faster acceleration, more standard features, and lots of premium materials. It doesn’t quite have the refinement of the X1, though.

The BMW X1 provides more engaging and fun driving experience, an intuitive infotainment system, more cargo and rear passenger room, and an overall more comfortable and premium experience. If your budget allows you, go for the X1. Otherwise, the QX30 provides everything you can expect from a compact SUV at a much affordable price.

2018 BMW X1 Safety Ratings and Features

IIHS gave 2018 Audi Q3 their maximum rating of ‘Good’ in all their crash tests. The headlights, however, got a rating of ‘Marginal’.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Ratings
Small Overlap Front Good
Moderate Overlap Front Good
Side Good
Roof Strength Good
Head Restraints and Seats Good
Front Crash Prevention Advanced
Headlights Marginal
Child Seat Anchors (LATCH) Ease of Use Acceptable

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the BMW X1 5 out of 5 stars overall.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Safety Ratings (Out of 5 stars)
Overall 5 stars
Overall Frontal 4 stars
Front Driver Side 4 stars
Front Passenger Side 5 stars
Overall Side 5 stars
Side Barrier 5 stars
Overall Side Pole 5 stars
Rollover 4 stars

The 2018 BMW X1 adds a rearview camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard safety features. Optional safety features include:

  • Parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality
  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection
  • Collision mitigation braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Heads-up display
  • Traffic sign information
  • Automatic high beams

Final Verdict for 2018 BMW X1

The X1 is BMW’s smallest SUV, but in no way does it provide anything short of a true BMW experience. It is sporty, solid, luxurious, spacious, and so much fun to drive. The 2018 BMW X1 takes the best of the brand’s sport sedans and larger SUVs and blends them perfectly to create an amazing compact SAV.

But all is not good with the X1. It has no powertrain options and very limited luxury upgrades. Be careful, though. Opting for the options that are available raises the price quite quickly and before you know it, you may end up with an X1 that’s as expensive as the X3! But with all things considered, the BMW X1 emerges to be a better option than the Q3 or the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The Infiniti QX30 might be a better option because of its affordability, but otherwise, the BMW X1 is a class-leading compact SUV.

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