BMW X1 hybrid engines, drive & performance
|0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels||Power|
As with most plug-in hybrids, the X1's drivetrain can be operated in a number of drive modes to make the most of its two power sources. Whichever mode you pick, the plug-in hybrid drivetrain is smooth and remains quiet even when the petrol engine kicks in; only a small amount of vibration betrays its operation. This is good news for those looking for an SUV that can double up as a relaxed cruiser – it's notably more refined that the standard petrol and diesel options.
Some larger bumps can be felt through the car's suspension, but generally – on our test car's 18-inch alloy wheels at least – the ride remains on the firm side of comfortable and so is a great match for the satisfyingly refined driving experience.
BMW X1 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The X1 defaults to 'Auto eDrive' mode and so is silent on start-up; you'll pull off using electric power and the 123bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine will only kick in if you push the accelerator pedal hard or if the battery is low on charge. There's a slight hesitation when pulling away, but once you're up and running the electric motor – which only powers the rear wheels – is smooth and powerful enough for comfortable low to medium-speed driving, up to 84mph.
The petrol engine only powers the front wheels, so with both working together, performance is decent. Despite its more eco-friendly bias, the plug-in hybrid is the fastest X1 in the range, with a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds that beats all of the petrol or diesel options, as well as its Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 rival.
The BMW is more fun to drive than the Swedish car, too, thanks to a low centre of gravity, supple yet controlled suspension and a welcome lack of body roll.The extra weight from that 10kWh battery can't be entirely disguised, however, so the limits of the X1's grip arrive sooner than in its lighter, petrol-powered siblings. Elsewhere, the X1's steering is perfectly weighted, even if it isn't the most communicative system around.