BMW X1 frontdynamic
Better for business - the new BMW X1
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BMW X1 xDrive20d Sport

What is it?

BMW has long been a major player among company car drivers but one model, the X1, its compact crossover, has hitherto been a comparatively rare sight in the corporate car park.

With this new shape X1 now on the blocks, things might be about to change. With improved styling, a bigger interior, keener C02 emissions and sharper dynamics, the BMW X1 sharpened up means BMW’s self-styled Compact Sports Activity Vehicle gains massively in all-round appeal while also narrowing the gap on the bigger X3 and X5.

BMW has also shifted the X1 to a transverse engine/front-wheel-drive format (with optional Xdrive all-wheel-drive), a decision which might initially have raised eyebrows among the BMW faithful yet brings a number of real-world benefits not least that larger cabin space and greater all-round practicality.

In a complex model range based currently around 2.0-litre petrol/diesel engines and four spec levels, this diesel-powered, auto box new gen X1 x-Drive20d Sport sits towards the upper end of operations but is the kind of X1 that might well figure in those all-important company car calculations. Let’s see how it stacks up.

What’s hot?

  • Looks. The X1 loses its former small car gawkiness to become much easier on the eye now, also falling neatly in line with BMW’s ‘house style.’

BMW X1 dash

  • A larger interior. There’s a significant jump in head, shoulder and elbow room all round, plus extended boot versus the previous X1.
  • From being one of the least practical crossovers around, thanks to the new engine/platform switch, the X1 is now up with the best in class.
  • Latest gen engines bring another useful round of improvements in terms of power, C02 emissions and efficiency to the X1 fold.
  • This xDrive20d has 190 hp, a massive 400 Nm of torque and feels quick off the mark with 0-62 mph coming up in a claimed 7.6 secs.
  • With official economy of 57.6 mpg, economy looks competitive too and C02 emissions are 128 g/km in 8-speed Steptronic auto trim, as tested.
  • Big strides made with the X1’s on-road agility and ride comfort in the new set-up. Gone is the former hard, crashy ride. Steers neatly, too.
  • There’s standard iDrive with 6.5 in multimedia system, 6-speaker audio, DAB radio, business navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
  • Or there’s the Navigation Package which gives you BMW online services, head-up display, Real Time Traffic Info etc for a fairly reasonable £1490.
  • For a £32k-some car, company car tax of £123/month (at 20%) does look a pretty decent deal. For a 40% tax payer, it’s £274/month.
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What’s not?

  • Despite the new platform, revised steering and suspension, this X1 is still not the most dynamically accomplished around, feeling somewhat inert.
  • If you order this Sport edition of the new X1, you get black sports seats which look fine but actually prove far too hard and uncomfortable.
  • As ever, you need to check what’s standard and what’s not. Our test car’s black paint and leather seats added a brisk £1150 to the ask, for example.
  • Within the X1 range, other variants are cheaper, have better eco numbers, BIK and lower company car taxes, if cost is an issue.

Business Car Manager verdict:

Despite being far from BMW’s most accomplished model, the outgoing X1 proved to be a solid showroom hit, shifting more than 730,000 units globally and nearly 40,000 in the UK alone since its 2009 launch.

This new shape X1 moves the game on in all significant departments. It looks and feels classier, it offers far better space, it drives well (though it’s actually not quite as engaging on the road as we’d hoped).

It is nonetheless a highly effective upgrade on the old X1. So much so, we wonder what impact it might have on X3 sales. You’ll need to crunch the numbers to check whether this particular xDrive20d edition would be the best from the company car/BIK viewpoint.  Our test car came out at a not inconsiderable £40,465, for instance, with extras…

But in the big picture, this new X1 has the makings of a new business success story for BMW. If you liked the first X1, you’ll surely like this new one even more…

The Low Down on BMW X1 xDrive20d Sport

Doors and body style5-door compact SUV
Engine/gearbox:2.0 4cyl turbo diesel/8-speed auto transmission
CO2 Emissions:128g/km
0-62mph/top speed:7.6secs/136mph
Insurance group:29

…..and what it costs


P11D Value£32,275
Monthly business rental (ex VAT)From £xxx (3yrs/30,000 miles)
Road tax (VED)Band D
Company Car Tax Bands 2015/16 to 2018/1923%, 25%, 27%
Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2017/18 £7423/£8069/ £8714
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%) £1017/£84.75
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)£2033/£169.42
Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)£1485/£123.75
Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)£2969/£247.42
Figures correct at time of posting
For latest figuresUse our company car tax calculator
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BMW X1 rearquarter
Right for the open road, if not that dynamic – new BMW X1


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