Pros: classy image, good space, drives well
Cons: some diesel versions still cheaper
The second-generation BMW X1 SUV has spawned a new plug-in hybrid version, badged xDrive25e. As the name suggests, it is a four-wheel-drive model, though power to the rear wheels is exclusively provided by an electric motor.
BMW X1 Design
At the same time as BMW introduced the hybrid offering, it gave the X1 a minor update, but effectively the design is little changed from when it was first launched in 2015. The hybrid version’s charge port is hidden behind a flap above the left front wheel, but that’s pretty much the only way to tell it apart from its petrol and diesel siblings – badge aside, obviously. We reckon the X1 is a classy looking SUV that somehow feels higher up the pecking order than its place at the bottom of the BMW X-range might suggest.
BMW X1 Interior
Although the X1’s cabin isn’t as high-tech as some of the newer models’ in the BMW range, it has a lot going for it. The analogue instruments are clear, the layout and quality of the switchgear are top-notch and there’s noticeably loads of oddments storage space. In fact, there’s decent passenger room too, with upright seating providing a great view out for all passengers. The hybrid components don’t eat into cabin space, but they do reduce the boot volume. Nonetheless, it’s still of a decent size, and there’s storage under the floor, too, more than big enough to accommodate the charging cables. Incidentally, the rear seats split and fold down to allow carrying of bulkier items.
BMW X1 Performance & Drive
The hybrid X1 will automatically make the best use of its electric reserves and 1.5-litre petrol engine, but you can override it by choosing to maximise electric running. Do this with a fully charged battery and it can top 135km/h without using the engine, while covering up to 57km. In cold conditions, we saw an electric range closer to 40km. When the engine does kick in, it does so smoothly, and its workings are well-isolated from the cabin. Despite the focus on low emissions, this powertrain packs a punch, producing up to 220hp and 385Nm of torque when the engine and electric motor work together. Just as impressively, this X1 feels planted on the road at all times and really good to drive. It doesn’t feel in the least bit compromised by the extra weight of the hybrid system.
BMW X1 Pricing
The hybrid X1 starts at €45,790. That’s not an insignificant amount of money, granted, but taken in the context of the rest of the X1 line-up, it’s not bad value at all. It’s only a little more expensive, for example, than the least powerful, front-drive-only, petrol X1. And, while diesel powered versions can be had for substantially less, those are also less powerful and do without all-wheel drive.
Carzone Verdict: 4/5
If you don’t need the long-distance economy of a diesel in your X1, it would seem that the hybrid is the logical choice of the range, especially as it comes with elevated performance and four-wheel drive as standard. The fact that there are few compromises is a bonus.