When I look at the BMW X1 F48 I have three states of mind. The first mental state is to watch an commercial failure because the 2nd generation X1 is a full blown commercial car and I need to level the situation. The second mental state is to praise this car because it’s arguably the best used BMW to buy for the average, non-car person. The third state is depression because I don’t even have the money to buy a six pack, let alone an X1.

I say it’s arguably the best BMW for sale at the moment because it’s almost as big as the original X3 and with this statement I can go home. It is only 11 cm shorter and 3 cm narrower than the original X3, and the first X3 was and still is good enough for many british and other nationalities who buy it, with residence permits or any sort of ID or not. And if you compare it with the current X3 you will see that often the premium the X3 commands in price is not that well justified. Plus, if you ask 100 non-car persons to tell you which is the X3 and which is the X1, many of them will be wrong. And as cars in total, the X1 is a better choice for the average buyer than the X3.

Why should I buy an X3 and not an X1?

  • I’m going to pull an Uno reverse card and I’m going to say what advantages it has over the X1 and why they are not really relevant for the average BMW X1 F48 buyer. Again, the average buyer, not a BMW fan or a car person in general.
  • First one, and the biggest is obviously in the equipment and options list, but the X1 also comes with pretty much all the kit an average driver needs. And the X3 also comes with 3 litre straight six engines, which the X1 lacks. It sounds like the stuff of dreams for car enthusiasts, but for the average driver who knows about engines up to 2 liters and won’t go any further because taxes and insurance, the X1 comes with a reasonable 1.5 petrol or diesel and a 2.0 petrol or diesel. Basically, when you hop from your old Jetta to the X1, you won’t feel much difference in terms of power.
  • Interior space can be an argument sure, but the X1 covered a lot of the gap and the next generation is even bigger, bigger than a Santa Fe. This is because the current X3 is as big as the original X5 and so on. There is enough room for everyone.
  • And now comes the argument that will attract the most hate of all. The entry-level X3 comes with rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, and the entry-level X1 comes with standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. For car people front-wheel drive on a BMW is blasphemy, but for the average buyer who has no idea the difference between front, rear, all-wheel drive or 4wheel drive, it really doesn’t matter. Besides with 150 horsepower and a 0-100 km/h time of 9.3 seconds aka the stats for an 2.0 diesel X1 2.0 (the most common X1), it really doesn’t matter if it’s shoved from the back or pulled from the front. But from a mechanical point of view, it means a cheaper car to build, lighter and with more room in the back because you don’t have the transmission tunnel that goes under the rear seats.

So, if you sit down and run the numbers, from the perspective of the average buyer an 150 horsepower X1 2.0 diesel does the same thing as a 150 horsepower X3 2.0 diesel, but at a slightly lower price. Because the X1 is not a BMW for enthusiasts because the “ultimate driving machine” died in 2010 when the switch to “Efficient Dynamics” was made. Is the BMW X1 F48 industrial prostitution? Yes. Because it offers everything an average buyer wants. It’s a BMW, it has decent engines, it’s tall, it looks good. Basically, what more can you ask for?

BMW X1 F48 Engines


  • 1.5 Turbo B38 of 141 horsepower – Launched on the exclusivistic i8 in 2014, this engine rustled the BMW community, but it turned out to be a decent and reliable engine in the long run. And for the X1, it’s all the engine you’ll ever need if you’re the kind of person who needs a car just to go around town and maybe do the school run. Also this engine comes with front wheel drive and a manual gearbox in basic trim so there’s less things to fail.
  • 2.0 Turbo B48 of 190 and 230 horsepower – The most powerful petrol engine, which nobody bought because no one cares about sportiness when buying a BMW X1 F48. Otherwise, it is a reliable engine as long as it receives fresh oil on time. Seriously, it’s as addicted to oil as I am to Little Britain.


  • 1.5d B37 of 114 horsepower – No. Even for the 1 Series it’s down on power and up on price for what it offers. But atleast it’s not a bad engine because basically it’s the 3-cylinder version of the 2-litre engine. Still didn’t catch on very well with the public.
  • 2.0d B47 of 150, 190 and 230 horsepower – This is because everyone flocked to the classic, tried and tested 4 cylinder 2 litre diesel with either 150 or 190 horsepower, pretty much like how most of the big car manufacturers have this engine configuration in their portfolio. A sturdy engine, only that nowadays you have to take care of the DPF, the AdBlue system, the flywheel with double mass, injectors and so on if you drive it only around town.


1.5 Turbo B38A15M0 of 225 horses – We tackled the 25e hybrid engine in the Series 2 Active Tourer review. And there I said that it is worth buying new only because of the hybrid gubment incentives. On the used market on the other hand, it is not worth the extra money. And on X1 the argument is even stronger.

BMW X1 F48 Common Issues

  • Very picky about tires so do your homework in advance to see which tires are accepted by the car and which ones are not. 
  • The iDrive and Connected Drive systems are not the most reliable units possible. But that shouldn’t be a real issue because no one uses those things anymore because in 2023 there are devices called smartphones which are much better than car infotainment systems. Plus the X1 has the great advantage that it still has physical buttons and dials, a dying breed in the industry.
  • Now I must mention the complementary electrical issues because it is a BMW and has a lot of technology and many cables come with biodegradable insulation which decomposes in a few years and leaving them naked as I was left naked on the roof of the hotel when I got terribly drunk at the company teambuilding.

BMW X1 F48 Common Issues

For the average buyer who knows nothing about cars but knows that BMWs are status symbols on wheels and who also wants a cross-over but doesn’t have the money or courage for an X5, then the X1 can be the decent middle of the road. Not perfect but decent. It’s halfway between X2 and X3, safe from radiation. So if you want to buy a BMW but you don’t know anything about BMW and you don’t care too much, then the X1 is the one to buy.

Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power the 190 horsepower 2.0 B47 Turbo of 190 for diesel the eternal B47 2.0 diesel of 150 or 190 horsepower.