The 2021 BMW X1 is a stylish extra-small luxury SUV that packs a lot into a tiny package. And, to be quite honest, the interior is bigger than it seems from the outside. With a responsive and powerful turbocharged engine and a ton of standard safety features, there are a lot of things that will attract drivers to the X1 this year.
Let's take a deeper look at what's new for the model year, which styles and trims the X1 comes in, what the driving performance is like, and what kind of a fuel economy to expect.
What's New For 2021?
Not much is new on the 2021 BMW X1. The same powertrain crosses over from last year, as do basically all of the standard features. Last year saw the standardization of the 8.8-inch touchscreen display and bigger grille on the restyled front fascia. Those carry over, too.
The 2021 BMW X1 is only available as a subcompact luxury SUV.
The X1 comes in two trims, which are essentially the same save for one big difference - all-wheel-drive. The sDrive28i is the X1's front-wheel-drive trim while the xDrive28i is the AWD variant. They essentially share all of the same features and specs aside from the drivetrain, so the decision to buy will essentially boil down to whether or not you need AWD or can swing it with FWD.
So, just how does the 2021 BMW X1 drive? To say the least, it is one sporty ride. The X1 is a hearkening back to the good ol' days of the Ultimate Driving Machine. The X1 will - if you recall that era, at least - take you back to that time. But the X1 isn't all about nostalgia, as it crams in a ton of handy, high-tech features that also happen to be mostly easy to use.
The way the X1 drives is going to please anyone looking for a thrilling ride. If you opt for the AWD system, the X1 can handle all types of turns with surprisingly strong agility. It remains composed regardless of what you put it through. The brakes feel strong and remain appropriately firm when you go to press down on them. Also, steering provides a lot of feedback to the driver, which certainly helps to inspire confidence.
Of course, the engine is the real highlight of the X1. This 2.0-L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine gets paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has some smooth shifting capabilities. This helps the engine generate 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and get the X1 from 0 to 60 mph in a swift 6.4 seconds. You will be hard-pressed to find a snappier performance from an engine in this segment.
Just bear in mind that the ride quality can come off as being too firm. The overly stiff suspension, paired with run-flat all-season tires, do little to keep the bumps of the road surface from entering the X1's otherwise cozy cabin, which remains well muted from exterior noise sources.
The tech is easy to use, which non-tech-savvy drivers might appreciate. The iDrive system is slightly outdated, but it works better than some of the newer versions BMW has on other vehicles. The 8.8-inch touchscreen has clear images with obvious labeling and easy-to-reach placement.
The 2021 BMW X1 has an EPA estimated combined mpg of 26, which is a combination of the 23 mpg it gets in the city and 31 mpg it is rated for on the highway. Real world tests show that not only do these numbers hold up, but the X1 might actually do a few mpg better than estimated.
In real world tests, the X1 gets around 28 mpg combined. This solidifies the X1's place as one of the most fuel efficient small SUVs out there right now. The turbo engine mixes power and fuel economy to provide an overall efficient and exciting ride. Spending less at the pump is something luxury drivers do not generally get to do, but BMW nails it when it comes to efficiency.
The 2021 BMW X1 drives more like a hatchback than it does an SUV, which is the beauty of this subcompact luxury SUV. The powertrain puts up a superb performance that few in its class can even begin to rival. The only real drawback is, of course, the too-firm suspension. Should it be a bit more softly tuned, the ride quality would likely be vastly improved. If you can look past this one glaring issue, chances are you will enjoy test driving the X1.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here.)
Note: All BMW X1 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.