BMW X1 Interior Layout & Technology | Top Gear
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Sunday 3rd December


What is it like on the inside?

It feels proper in here. You get a good-sized circular wheel, figure hugging seats and the quality is on point: the overriding impression is this is now a fully fledged model in the BMW line-up rather than a token entry-level model, something that Mercedes’ smallest models arguably still haven’t achieved. Largely identical in both the ICE and electric variants, too.

It’s also plenty spacious – there’s another 22mm in the wheelbase over the outgoing X1, and it’s immediately obvious for those climbing into the back. Rear seat passengers will be basking in the kind of room normally afforded to them by SUVs a size bigger, and if you’ve gone for a pure petrol or diesel model, those rear seats can slide fore and aft by 30mm as well as recline. 

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What about the tech?

All X1s get BMW’s new Curved Display unit, which combines a 10.25-inch digital dial display and a 10.7-inch infotainment screen into one big display, while there’s been a major spring clean of physical switchgear – the biggest absence being the iDrive rotary controller. 

Which, you guessed it, is a crying shame. Because while you get a couple of shortcut buttons and the temperature sliders are always present at the bottom of the screen, the new screen is otherwise devoid of any physical buttons, making even the most basic of functions – like operating the heated steering wheel and seats, seat massagers, and fan speed adjustment – a right old chore.

Losing the switchgear has also resulted in a ‘floating’ centre console approach, though the plastic arm propping it up detracts from the magic somewhat. And it’s still home to a couple of buttons and the drive selector, which just leaves us mourning the loss of the clickwheel even more. And the less said about the wireless charging pad (which distractingly faces out into the cabin) the better…

The digital dials aren’t much better either – there’s no traditional circular dial design anymore, just a curious trio of options that we struggled to get comfortable with – even if you can customise it to show satnav, radio and suchlike.

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Shame. How big is the boot?

The boot is 50 litres bigger than before, now peaking at 540 litres seats up, 1,600 seats down. With some inevitability the battery pack eats away at interior space of the iX1 a bit – you get 50-litres less to be precise – but not as notably as in rivals, and there’s space under the floor for dirty charging cables. All versions get an electric tailgate.

It’s really a tale of two halves: while the X1 scores highly for interior quality and space, you can’t help but feel it’s taken a backward step on the tech front and some questionable design decisions.

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