By Asian Journal Auto Editor 

The Premium compact SUV market is enjoying immense popularity at the moment with a slew of high profile players, we recently tested one of the standouts in this sector, the BMW X1. First introduced in 2009, with a revamp in 2016, the 2020, version of the X1 receives a few updates for the exterior and interior. Based on the Mini Countryman platform, (BMW also owns Mini BTW), the new X1 has a revised version of the famous BMW kidney grille up front, with a more organic, sculpted look for better airflow into the engine bay. There are also new tinted LED headlights and fog lights integrated into the new front bumper. The rear bumper is also revised. Opt for the performance M Sport line and the X1 adopst a more aggressive appearance with aerodynamic side skirts, bigger wheel arches and a body-coloured rear diffuser. Interior wise, the X1 is updated with more premium materials, a larger, as standard 8.8-inch central display screen and a new electronic gear selector switch for the automatic transmission.

The XI is powered by a turbo charged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Transmission is via an eight-speed automatic with BMW’s xDrive All-Wheel drive technology. The X1 comes with number of options packages that can really skyrocket the price if you splurge, but highlights include the Premium Package Enhanced and the M Package, that adds desirable features and styling cues.

There are some significant changes to the X1 interior for 2020 that keep it above the competition.  Higher quality soft touch plastics are now in place and there is a lot of attention to detail in the nicely designed cabin, such as the contrast stitching on the seats, and the silky feeling controls. I loved the cool ambient blue light that’s graces the dash and door panels at night. Instrumentation, controls and major function controls are is all ergonomically wonderful. Infotainment is accessed via an 8.8-inch touchscreen that proved easy to use with simple menus and functions from BMW’s proprietary iDrive operating and navigation system. Apple CarPlay compatibility is standard, but no Android capability. There is driver head up display, and a comprehensive range of safety equipment. The optional audiophile quality Harman Kardon audio system arrives with 12 speakers and a digital amplifier with 360-watt output, providing simply fabulous sound quality. Storage cubbies and compartments are well situated, with door pockets compartment, an instrument panel storage on the driver’s side and a front armrest compartment.

As with all BMWs, the available options package list is very long and begins to get pricy, but they include must-haves on a vehicle of this class such as such as the active parking assistance, active cruise with stop-and-go and automatic collision-mitigation braking and other technology and safety aids. The seats are comfortable, heated and ideal for long journeys. While two adults will feel right at home in the rear cabin, three will be a squeeze. Taller passengers will also be a little short on legroom in the back as well. A rear liftgate reveals a decent trunk with plenty of cargo space.

On the road, the X1 stands out from the competition with its responsive performance. The 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo engine can accelerate the X1 from a 0 to 100 kph in 6.5 seconds. We liked the quick, precise action of the 8-speed gearbox that makes for fast acceleration out the gate with its 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The power plant is typical of BMW, a silky – smooth unit with a nice, even spread of full torque available in the low and mid RPM ranges.  The 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is a good match to the engine and coupled with the xDrive all-wheel drive system offers good, solid feeling driving dynamics. The ride is equal parts athletic, nimble and reassuring. Both front and rear suspension do a good job of ensuring the xDrive delivers maximum traction on rough roads, and slippery icy roads as experienced in a recent B.C. snow storm. The X1’s light weight also mean twisty roads, fast bends and tight urban roads are dealt with efficiently. Combined fuel economy rating is (L/100 km): 9.1 L/100 km. Downsides are few, rear legroom is tight and the back seats a little too upright for some folk.

To sum up, the 2020 BMW X1 is the premium compact premium SUV to beat, offering svelte good looks, a delightful turbo charged engine, and a great driving and ownership experience. Highly recommended. 2020 BMW X1 xDrive 28i Priced from: $41,500 plus options, delivery taxes and fees. More info at