2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine Review: X1.5

Derryn Wong
  1. Introduction / Design and Appearance
  2. Interior and Features / Space and Practicality
  3. Driving Experience / Comparison / Conclusion

Driving Experience

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i review - CarBuyer Singapore -  car on road, dynamic, rain
Photo by Jay ‘Regenmeister’ Tee

The X1 has grown into its expanded looks in most aspects, and the driving experience is no different. What we likedabout the second-gen X1 has been improved, and what bugged us has been eliminated or reduced, with a couple of exceptions.  

Mechanically, the new car is similar to the previous X1 sDrive18i, with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but whereas the previous car’s triple had a noticeable vibes edge to its rort, even at low revs, the new one hums along like a four-cylinder. 122hp is about enough for Singapore drivers in most circumstances, unless you frequently visit Malaysia.

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i review - CarBuyer Singapore - 1.5-litre engine
1.5-litre engine is Cat A friendly but has sufficient power for Singapore

As expected of a BMW, it’s a great handling car. If you enjoy driving, it’s more than up to the task of tackling corners with good poise and a healthy pace. It’s no M240i of course, but it’s better than many small SUVs, many of which leave driving fun low on the priority list.

We drove the X1 nearly 200km in its standard drive mode, and averaged around 7.0L/100km, closer to mid-sixes with more highway work, and more to eights with more town driving – a decent performance, given the size and mass increase. It’s not a coupe-styled SUV, with large windows, so visibility is generally good too.

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i review - CarBuyer Singapore - front wheel

As for the negative couple, the chief complaint we have is *drumroll* the ride quality. The lovely-looking 19-inch rollers give the car more presence, but as we noted six years ago, Singapore’s tarmac sucks and seems to have only gotten worse in the interim. The X1 does quite a bit of bobbing and bucking, the tradeoff of stiff suspension, big wheels, and great handling. This is of course our own bugbear – to be fair most consumers seem totally fine with jiggly ride, as we’ve pointed out ad nauseum. 

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i M sport - Singapore - car in showroom
Here’s the M Sport variant – more darkness and aggression as usual

It’s also worth noting that the M Sport variant packs Adaptive M Suspension which may help ride quality, and at only S$2k more than the xLine overall it’s worth looking into.

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i review - CarBuyer Singapore -  start-stop button

Our final complaint is more of a ‘good-to-have’ : There’s no hybridisation on this X1 at launch, and a corollary to that, the startup of the engine is better but not totally smooth.

But no electrification is a factor of the price – which we’ll discuss next – and to be fair, most other small luxury cars in their least expensive form also lack hybridisation. You could also argue that on optics, the iX1 solves BMW’s problem.

Competition and Pricing

The small SUV segment is always hotly contested, and in the luxury realm it’s no different – there are easily four to five cars you could consider, as our Best Of Small Luxury SUVs guide shows: the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Audi Q3 is the one that runs the X1 closest and it just got an update to a newer 1.5-litre engine, though the X1 now has all of them but the Tiguan beat on size, and its haul of equipment – especially safety systems – is more comprehensive.

The key thing, which we mentioned at the start of this review, is that the X1 is now a Category A COE car, and in this respect only the Mercedes-Benz GLA 180 is also a Category A car, though we haven’t tested it personally.

Is that important? Right now, no. Because we’re in an era where COEs are so high that the difference between Cat A and Cat B is a single-digit percentage of the entire car’s price. If and when COE prices drop, it’ll become a key decision point – but that’s probably only going to be relevant after 2023.

More salient is the fact that it actually hasn’t increased in price : The previous sDrive18i cost S$139k without a COE, in 2019, and this model costs S$136k without a COE, in 2022. The Cat A and Cat B difference, plus VES, has helped stave off inflation.


The third-gen BMW X1 is much improved. It’s much more of the car that it used to be, its strengths have been inflated, and its weaknesses (ride quality aside) have been minimised, so much so that in intent and purpose it behaves far more like an X3 than an X1 – it’s an X1.5, so to speak*.

*Ignoring the existence of the X2 and adhering to BMW’s rising model number nomenclature.

2022 BMW X1 sDrive16i xLine  

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine1,499cc, inline 3, turbocharged 
Power122hp at 4400-6500rpm
Torque230Nm at 1500-4000rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch 
0-100km/h10.5 seconds 
Top Speed200km/h
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
VES Band B / –
AgentEurokars Auto /
Performance Motors Limited 
PriceS$241,888 with COE and VES
Verdict BMW’s smallest SUV is now much improved – an X1 in name, an X1.5 in reality

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5 door 5 seat bmw luxury sDrive16i small SUV X1

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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