BMW X1 hybrid review

The BMW X1 xDrive25e is a plug-in hybrid SUV that's faster and more refined than its non-electrified siblings

BMW X1 hybrid
£38,200 - £40,000
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Refined cruiser
  • Great performance
  • Best-in-class rear space

Cons

  • Some rivals offer more standard kit
  • Weight affects handling slightly
  • Expensive for private buyers
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2
Plug-in hybrid 32 miles 148-166mpg 40-43g/km

The BMW X1 xDrive25e is BMW's contender in the burgeoning market for small, premium-badged electrified SUVs. It's a direct rival for the Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 and Mercedes GLA 250 e and as such combines a petrol engine with an electric motor and battery for a trade-off between range and emissions, with the option of short-duration emissions-free motoring on electric power alone.

With a 123bhp petrol engine and 94bhp electric motor, performance is strong – the X1 plug-in hybrid feels much more sprighly than its petrol or diesel-powered counterparts. The addition of a 10kWh battery and that motor have resulted in a bit of a weight gain, but BMW has done a good job of keeping it under control. The X1 is more fun to drive than its XC40 rival and feels composed through corners. 

The X1's plug-in hybrid technology is similar to that found in its X2 xDrive25e sister car: three driving modes are available to make the most of the two power sources, while a claimed 32 miles of electric range is on tap with a full charge in 'MAX eDrive' mode. We saw a figure closer to 25 miles on test, but that's still competitive. 

Inside, the X1 is relatively unchanged from the petrol and diesel versions, albeit with some encroachment (around 55 litres) from the batteries on boot space. There's plenty of space front and rear for adult passengers to get comfortable, with those in the back treated to class-leading head and legroom. Up front, the dashboard hosts one of the best infotainment systems on the market, but getting all of the standard equipment you might want – including active safety systems like adaptive cruise control – requires ticking a few four-figure options on the configurator

The X1 is a great all-round small family SUV, but as with all PHEVs, it makes most sense as a company car to make the most of the savings afforded by its sub-50g/km CO2 emissions. With prices starting in the high thirties and climbing into the £40,000-plus bracket for an M Sport model after options, the plug-in hybrid runs about £2,000 more expensive than an equivalent petrol model or around £1,000 more than a diesel. It's worth taking this into account if you're a private cash buyer; if most of your journeys are shorter affairs, however, then the X1 could save money on fuel bills in the longer term.

See the rest of our review for an in-depth look at the BMW X1 xDrive25e and how it compares to its nearest rivals...