Lazy or tastefully different?

The BMW X1, while classified as an SUV – or SAV – as BMW calls it, is really little more than a lifted hatchback. It’s even front-wheel biased from base to range-topping model. It’s currently in its second generation and, after 5 years on the market, it was time for BMW to freshen up the little SUV that could. Or maybe it couldn’t; we’re not sure yet. The point is that the X1 has been refreshed for the 2020 model year and, while there is a little bit of new scattered here and there, most of the design is about as fresh as you are after a hard workout and showering without soap – you might not stink anymore, but that “freshness” isn’t going to last long. So, what does the X1 offer for the 2020 model year? Let’s take a quick look.

The 2020 BMW X1 Has an Amazing Face….Almost

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BMW didn’t change the X1 that much for the 2020 model year.

Of course, after being in this business for a long time, I have a habit of being rather harsh on automakers when they get lazy. In fact, I’m not going to bash BMW too much over this update. In the front BMW actually made some pretty admirable and recognizable changes. The second-gen model looked amazing compared to the little-grilled first-gen model but, by 2019, even the second-gen X1 was starting to look old. After all, when you have models like the 2020 BMW 8 Series and the 2020 BMW Z4 flashing their newly adapted DNA, then anything designed a few years before, under a completely different philosophy is going to look out of place.

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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BMW addressed that in the X1’s front end. You can’t even point out just one important change up front.

See, BMW reworked the whole fascia and the grille. The latter of which is more symmetrical in its design and is joined in the middle (making it one piece), and the kink on each side of the grille is much lower now.

This is a huge change for the X1, and it makes the front end more desirable. The fascia, on the other hand, gives me mixed feelings. I kind of like it but I kind of don’t. It’s certainly more aggressive, and I love the way the LED fog lamps are hidden away. I’m really glad BMW ditches those obtrusive round fogs – they were just annoying. The same air dam resides as the centerpiece of the fascia, but the lip below it is bolder and more defined. I even like the M-style intakes that are, mostly, blocked off. Seriously; these things a tripping my bullshit meter about as bad as the vents on the Honda Civic Type R and Toyota Supra. The overall shape, however, looks good. Those weird winglets do look a little weird. I don’t know; maybe they’ll grow on me, but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

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Making up for that, in a sense, is the new LED design inside the headlights. Finally, the BMW X1 doesn’t have those round LED strips that are just so last generation. Overall, the front is a nice package, and it’s clearly an update worth writing home about. I just wish I could say the same about the rest of the car. Sadly, I can’t.

BMW Forgot to Update the Rear End of the 2020 BMW X1

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I’m not sure if BMW is just trying to troll us here or what, but I can’t spot much of anything new on the 2020 BMW X1’s rear end. After looking at the front end, I have to admit that I was quite impressed with what BMW actually put together under the umbrella of “facelift.” I don’t say that kind of thing often. Then I got a look at the back, and it was pretty much a boner kill. I looked for five minutes and then 10. Wait, that’s it – BMW moved the X1 logo to the bottom left corner of the rear hatch instead of having it up above the right taillight. Seriously… that’s it? I asked myself, and I scratched my head a little. Then, I noticed the revised taillights.

The overall shape is the same, but the interior matrix is completely reworked.

It’s nothing to brag to your buddies about, but they do look a little more modern and sleeker than they did before. I actually like how the reverse lights are moved higher and are much thinner. The orange and red layout is also more attractive. Is there anything else, though?

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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Nothing else has changed at all. You can slide that little tool above back and forth as much as you want and you won’t find anything else that’s different. The lower fascia is all the same. That insert around the exhaust outlets and the insert between them? Those are straight from the 2016 – 2019 parts pin. So is the reflector in each corner, the antenna on the roof, and that sporty little wing that hangs over the back glass. The one thing to note with the latter, however, is that it may now be body colored from top to bottom instead of being partially black. Then again, the new model I’m looking at is finished in a dark color, so maybe I’m wrong.

2020 BMW X1 Drivetrain Specs…and Drama

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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The 2020 BMW X1 has changed quite a bit in the drivetrain department. Where the old model was offered in 18d, 20d, 25d, and 20i form, the new X1 has been reduced to offering different configurations.

The 18d trim is gone and has been replaced with the entry-level 16d trim. That brings a 1.5-liter, turbo mill into the mix, and it can deliver 116 horsepower (85 kW) and just shy of 200 pound-feet (270 NM) of torque. The 190-horsepower 20d trim is no more, so you have no choice but to jump up to the 25d trim with the same exact specifications as last year – 231 horsepower (170 kW) and 331 pound-feet (450 NM) of torque.

So what does this mean as far as diesel powertrains go? Well, BMW has made it so that you either have to deal with having just 116 horsepower, or you have to go to the top and opt for the 25d with 231 horsepower. So, you’ve basically lost options. Pre-facelift models started out at 150 horsepower in 18d trim, but now, you don’t even have that as an option. It’s 116 or 231 – there’s no in between. Let’s hope BMW isn’t charging as much for the entry-level model this time around, right?

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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Moving on, BMW has also dropped the 20i gasoline model and replaced it with the 25i. This is actually kind of a good thing as long as it doesn’t come at an extreme premium. The only gas-burner you could get before offered up just 192 horsepower but, since BMW is offering the 25i now, you get the same 231 horsepower that you get from the 25d. BMW has yet to announce torque figures for the 25i, but you can bet it’ll be somewhere in the 190-220 pound-foot range, at best.

Of course, the real takeaway from this is that if you want more than 300 NM of torque, you have no choice but to opt for the range-topping 25d as the 18d and 20d are gone, and the 16d only offers 270 NM. What a sham that is, huh?

2019 BMW X1 HP and Torque
2019 BMW X1 Horsepower Torque
sDrive 18d 150 330
xDrive 18d 150 330
xDrive 20d 190 400
xDrive 25d 231 450
xDrive 20i 192 280
2020 BMW X1 HP and Torque
2020 BMW X1 Horspower Torque (nm)
sDrive 16d 116 270
xDrive 25d 231 450
xDrive 25i 231 TBA
The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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On a more electrified note, by this time next year, BMW will offer the X1 in 25e form.

That model will feature a 9.7-kWh battery that BMW promises will give you roughly 31 miles of range. Nothing else has been said about that model, but we’ll probably hear more about it in the first quarter of 2020.

2020 BMW X1 drivetrain specifications
Model Power output (hp) Peak Torque (Nm) Acceleration (0-62mph) Top Speed (mph) Fuel consumption (mpg*) CO2 emissions (g/km*) OTR price (SE)
sDrive18i 140 220 9.7 126-127 37.7-56.5 122-125 £28,795
sDrive20i 192 280 7.4-7.7 138-140 38.7-51.4 129-143 £31,935
sDrive18d 150 350 9.3-9.4 127 36.7-53.3 113-114 £30,545
xDrive18d 150 350 9.3-9.4 126 36.7-55.4 122-125 £32,045
xDrive20d 190 400 7.8 136 39.8-55.4 123 £34,595

Final Thoughts on the 2020 BMW X1

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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I really have a lot of mixed feelings about the 2020 BMW X1. I feel like BMW put a lot of effort into revising the front end but seriously dropped the ball everywhere else. The drivetrain options suck, the rear end hasn’t changed at all and, while I didn’t get into the interior in this article, I’m here to tell you that it’s damn near the same too. It features a few tweaks to certain parts, but that’s literally it – and that’s the reason why I didn’t go into detail about it either. In the end, the 2020 X1 might be a good choice if you’re upgrading from a first-gen model or are getting one for the first time. If you have the current second-gen model, though, you’re not going to get much by upgrading, and the drivetrain choices just aren’t in your favor. If you’re in that boat, I suggest you stick it out for a couple more years and wait for the third-gen model to hit the market. If you can’t wait, I’m sure Audi or Mercedes will sell you something that’s much different and way fresher than what you’ll get by going with the 2020 BMW X1.

Further reading

The 2020 BMW X1 Has Launched, but Don't Worry About Rushing to Upgrade
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Read our full review on the2020 BMW X1.

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X1.

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