The Refreshed 2020 BMW X1

Is it a small SUV or a tall hatchback? One look at the BMW X1 may not make it clear what this vehicle is, but as far as BMW is concerned, the X1 represents this manufacturer’s smallest utility vehicle. You’re forgiven if you beg to differ.

BMW introduced the X1 to the US market in 2013, then rolled out the second-generation model just three years later. For 2020, the X1 is refreshed, benefitting from updates to its design, technology, and transmission.


The refreshed 2020 BMW X1.

Highlights of the 2020 BMW X1

The following are among the top facts concerning the 2020 X1:

1. One of seven “sport activity vehicles.”

BMW calls its SUVs, sport activity vehicles, which is simply an in-house name for its fleet of crossover and sport utility vehicles. The product line now numbers seven models with the introduction of the range-topping X7 last year. Moreover, this means that BMW offers a family of SUVs ranging from under $40,000 to over $110,000 for fully loaded X7 models.

2. All-wheel drive is optional.

The BMW X1 sends power to the front wheels, which is different from most other BMW models with standard rear-wheel drive. For a $2,000 upgrade, you can choose all-wheel drive. However, some reports indicate the upgrade just isn’t necessary for anyone living outside of wintry regions.

3. The M Sport Package adds style.

BMW typically offers M Sport appearance packages that add special elements, including an aerodynamic kit, LED fog lights, special trim, an M steering wheel, and a sport automatic transmission. Specifically, this represents a $4,650 upgrade, which also brings in sculpted sport bucket seats.

4. Room for five.

BMW says the X1 seats five, but its relatively narrow layout means four is the ideal. Even then, tall passengers may find the rear compartment’s legroom restrictive. But that space (see details which follow), isn’t as limiting as some competing models. Credit the X1’s tall profile with maximizing rear-seat space. On a related note, the standard storage space measures 27.1 cubic feet. Furthermore, fold down the rear seat and you have 58.7 cubic feet at the ready, which is average for the segment.

5. Updated exterior.

Among the changes for 2020 include a visual refresh of the exterior. The grille is larger, reflecting a trend across the entire product line. New LED lighting elements, fresh wheel designs, and new front and rear bumpers supply the X1 with the required upgrades.

6. Refreshed tech.

Gone is the previous 6.5-inch touch-screen display, replaced by the now-standard and previously optional 8.8-inch display with navigation. This model has a 7-speaker, 205-watt audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility. Also, you’ll find Bluetooth and USB ports.

7. New transmission.

BMW says the X1 has a new transmission, which is an 8-speed ZF automatic. We haven’t tested it yet, but the manufacturer says it supplies faster and smoother shifts for improved performance and passenger comfort. Gone is the previous mechanical unit, replaced by an electronic shifter. The transmission works with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Power is unchanged at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

Competitive Set

The BMW X1 is a strong entry in a competitive segment. Other models to consider include the Audi Q3, Infiniti QX30, Cadillac XT4, Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Volvo XC40. Typically, prices start below $40,000, but can top $50,000 for fully-optioned models.


2020 BMW X1 Specifications


BMW 2020 X1
Segment Subcompact Luxury SUV
Price Range $35,200 to $37,200
Destination Charge $995
Standard Engine 2.0-liter, turbo I4
Horsepower 228 @ 5,000 – 6,000
Torque (lb.-ft.) 258 @ 1,450 – 4,500
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Seating 5
Curb Weight (pounds) 3,554 to 3,713
Wheelbase (inches) 105.1
Length (inches) 175.5
Width (inches) 71.7
Height (inches) 62.9
Headroom (f,r…inches) 41.9, 39.4
Legroom (f,r…inches) 40.4, 37.0
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 55.6, 55.2
Hip room (f,r…inches) NR
Storage (cubic feet) 27.1, 58.7
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) 4,575 to 4,729
Towing (pounds) NR
Payload (pounds) 899
Fuel Premium
Fuel Tank (gallons) 16.1
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined) 24/33/27 (FWD); 23/31/26 (AWD)
Manufacturing Plant Born, Netherlands

Data compiled by Tom Keegan. Specifications supplied by the manufacturer. Photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.


See AlsoGo Big or Go Home: 2019 BMW X7 SUV

Photos copyright BMW.

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.