The new BMW X1 has arrived in South Africa and has left me really happy. This might sound utterly ridiculous, but I cannot recall the last time I was in a BMW and really adored the interior – making me all kinds of happy. Ok, fine, I loved the interior of the iX and the 7-Series, but come on, those are priced way over a mil. This is the more budget friendly BMW SUV and it really doesn’t feel like you are choosing to go entry-level here. I am rather excited by the new range of BMWs I am experiencing at the moment, it’s only taken me 14 years.



Having sold more than 2.7 million X1s since its debut in 2009, I am clearly alone in not having previously been impressed by it. With that said, the second generation really wasn’t all that great, especially in terms of space and overall driving experience. But this third generation X1 is coming for people like me, the naysayers. It is wider, taller and longer than the outgoing model, not to mention the wheelbase that has also been increased.

The cabin is spacious and well-appointed, with high-quality materials used throughout. It is chalk and cheese to many of the other BMW interiors I have experienced – not in terms of quality, but it terms of everything else. This cabin feels upmarket, modern and premium. This is, in part, thanks to the very impressive standard BMW Curved Display, which features a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, as well as a 10.7-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is powered by BMW’s latest Operating System 8. 

From the floating centre console to the volume control barrel to the wireless charger to the minimalist gear selector, it’s all put together in such a way that you really feel like you are in the latest and greatest BMW.

There is plenty of headroom and legroom for both front and rear passengers, making it a comfortable ride for long journeys. Great news is that there is an increase in the boot capacity, 50 litres to a claimed 540 litres.


The new BMW X1 is powered by either a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that delivers 110 kW and 360 Nm or a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol engine delivering 115 kW and 230 Nm of torque. The front wheels are driven via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Power delivery is smooth and I am glad to report that the overall driving experienced has greatly improved. This isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, considered an enthusiasts car, despite what many motoring journalists report when reviewing the drive. It is rather a comfortable, dynamic and stable drive – which is what you’d want from a non-performance SUV, right?



There is no denying that the new BMW X1 is better than its predecessor, but it is up against some very strong competition. These include the Audi Q3, the Volvo XC40 (two of my favs on this list), Lexus UX and Mercedes-Benz GLA to name but a few. However, if I know one thing, it’s that a BMW fan never loses their love affair with the brand and I think BMW lovers will certainly appreciate this new model in all its newly appointed glory.


  • BMW X1 sDrive18i xLine – R753 045
  • BMW X1 sDrive18d xLine – R790 617
  • BMW X1 sDrive18d M Sport – R830 617
  • BMW X1 sDrive18i M Sport – R793 045

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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