BMW X1 versus BMW 3 Series

  • Apr 13, 2012

BMW X1 is a fantastic new sports activity vehicle launched at amazing value by BMW in India. It brings plenty of features seen in the bigger SUVs and brings a compact package which makes it an excellent on road performer. We also have the BMW 3 series sedans which are wonderful performers on road and a favourite amongst the C-segment owners and enthusiasts. If you want to buy a BMW and if this is your first BMW and you are spoilt for choice between the larger SUV and the compact sedan then you must hear what we have to tell you and then decide which one is the car for you.

Looks and design:


BMW X1 looks fantastic in its current sporty avatar. It has modern and contemporary styling which from some angles looks aggressive. BMW X1 has black bumper which looks perfect combined with the skid plate. There is the trademark BMW chrome lined twin kidney-grill up front. The visibility from the front seats is very good and the ergonomics of this car are spot on. It has a mature look and sporty character and tremendous road presence. The options list includes the 18” wheels which add to the aggression in its design elements. BMW X1 side profile looks slightly curvy when compared to the rest of its design and brings an optional panoramic sunroof. BMW X1 has been well constructed and the build quality is solid and very German in nature. The paint scheme on the BMW X1 looks fantastic and the overall quality of workmanship on this sports activity vehicle is just top notch.

BMW 3 series in India is available in different variants, 2 each of petrol and 2 of diesel apart from the convertible versions. They however look similar as they are E90 sedan version of the 5th generation BMW 3 series. The 3 series brings the signature kidney grill and dual headlamps in the front. The long-hood looks great and the car brings stylish angel eyes for its projector headlamps. The shape of the rear LED tail lamps gives a compact look to the car. It has a single exhaust with twin pipes which look sporty. The front looks aggressive and the 330i petrol variant sports 17” multi-spoke alloys which look elegant and comes shod with 225/45R17 ultra low profile runflat tyres. The BMW 3 series is a well construction and the build quality on all the variants is fantastically good. It also sports top notch paint quality and the fit and finish is excellent.

Looks overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Looks overall – BMW 3 Series – 8/10

Interiors – design, space and features:


BMW X1 has a cabin area which feels very spacious and airy and driver gets adjustable seats and the front passenger has plenty of leg room owing to the design of the dashboard. The center console is tilted towards the the driver and feels of a higher class given its great quality plastic and premium feel. BMW X1 comes with Harman/Kardon speakers which sound incredibly good and brings USB/AUX-in, Bluetooth for connectivity. The wood finish looks and feels very premium while the i-Drive will be featured only on the Highline variant the X1 has plenty of features at all trim levels. There is a 4” LCD display to display all functions of the car and the BMW X1 also boasts of ambient lighting, adjustable armrests, vanity mirrors and plenty of space for storage inside and a boot space of 430 liters for all your luggage carrying needs.


The BMW 3 series has very good interiors and brings ample space for a C-segment sedan. However some of its rivals pack more interior space and the seats are comfortable and provide very good lateral support. There however ample leg and headroom to accommodate taller passengers, but just enough of it. It has a chunky steering wheel with innovative paddle shift design. The instrument cluster is a purely function over form and the dash board has faux wood finish which looks great. AC and CD player controls look a little outdated while iDrive controller and screen seem like they are the cutting edge of technology. It shows you all the vehicle information via colorful graphics and also includes the onboard entertainment system with an inbuilt 120GB HDD. You can plug in your USB drive and there is AUX-in available as well. It brings plenty of small storage areas in the form of glove box and cubby holes. The driver gets a cup holder as well. BMW 3 series brings plenty of boot space in the E90 Sedan variant to pack your travel luggage.

Interiors overall – BMW X1 – 7.5/10
Interiors overall – BMW 3 Series –

Engine – performance, power, torque, fuel economy, smoothness:


The diesel variant of the BMW X1 shares its motor with the 3 series 320D sedan and is now tuned to produce a healthy 177 BHP of maximum power at 4000 RPM and delivers a maximum torque of 350 NM between 1750-3000 RPM thanks to its variable nozzle turbo which ensures that the turbo lag is at a minimum. The diesel variant has oodles of low end and mid range grunt. The top end is fantastic and the motor is very tractable in the city and ensures that you are always on the higher side of 100kph on the highways. Diesel variant of the BMW X1 is rated by ARAI to a maximum fuel efficiency of 15.06 kmpl. The petrol variant of the BMW X1 is available with an engine which produces a maximum output of 150 BHP and 200 NM of maximum torque from its 1995cc petrol engine and delivers an ARAI certified 11.25 kmpl. The petrol variant is rev happy and packs a good punch however the more powerful diesel variant takes the cake here.


The BMW 320i comes with the Petrol engine which is a 2 liter inline-4 engine which produces 154 BHP of maximum power at 6400 RPM and max torque of 200 NM at 2600 RPM. The BMW 330i brings an inline-6 engine which produces a maximum power of 255 BHP at 6600 RPM and maximum torque of 300 NM at 2500 RPM. It revs to 7000 RPM and is an awesome performer. The 320D brings a 2 liter diesel engine which is extremely powerful 177 BHP engine which also produces peak torque of 350 NM between 1750-3000 RPM. It is a tractable motor and has oodles of low-midrange performance. The highway performance from these engines is simply incredible. ARAI has rated the BMW 320i to give a max fuel efficiency of 12.05 kmpl. It has also rated the BMW 330i to deliver 9.43kmpl while the BMW 320D is rated to deliver 16.07 kmpl making the diesel version the most fuel efficient of the 3 different engine variants available.

Engine overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Engine overall – BMW 3 Series –

Suspension – Ride, comfort and handling:


BMW X1 brings a well cushioned ride in the city. It is a soft roader and hence the suspension setup is suited best for on road use and it does well in this department. The ride quality is good however if you are opting for the 18” alloys you can expect a jarring ride on bumpy and potholed roads owing to the ultra low profile tyres shod on the Beemer. The ground clearance is very good and it will safely glide over most potholes on our crater filled roads. The handling is very good for a SUV of its size and it stable and planted across tighter corners while on the highway it is a superb car with good dynamics. The steering unit is a EPS unit and gives good feedback at lower speeds and maintains that at higher speeds while feeling more weighted. BMW X1 brings Dynamic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control as well. This ensures you are in control at all times at any given road surface. BMW X1 is shod with front and rear disks and stopping power is adequate thanks to the 4 channel ABS and EBD which aid the driver in stopping the car safely.


BMW 330i brings a comfortable ride which is a little firm owing to the runflat tyres shod on 17” alloys but there is an option to get 16” wheels on the 320i which improves the ride quality. The steering unit is heavy at lower city speeds but as you start driving in a spirited manner it shows its true colours and it feels sporty, the feedback is incredibly good and weighs in perfectly at higher speeds. The suspension absorbs all that you can throw at it in the city and manages to glide over all the bumps and undulations without too much discomfort to the passengers inside. The ground clearance is good enough to get over most speedbraker and potholes; however this car is not build to go off-road like its X series sibling. Braking is excellent on the BMW and it comes with Dynamic Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control and ABS with EBD to further enhance and provide additional safety while braking under wet conditions.

Suspension overall – BMW X1 – 7.5/10
Suspension overall – BMW 3 Series – 8/10

Value for money – sticker price, standard features:

BMW X1 brings excellent pricing to this segment. It is a sports utility vehicle and a great soft roader. It combines the versatility of a spacious SUV with the subtleness and elegance of a sedan and brings the best of both worlds. It delivers strong performance and is a winner for BMW in the entry level premium SUV segment in the 20 lakh price bracket. BMW X1 has been priced from Delhi ex-showroom price for BMW X1 sDrive 18i at 22.40 lakhs for the petrol variant. While the diesel variants are priced at 24.40 lakhs for the base variant BMW X1 sDrive20D. While the top variant of the BMW X1 sDrive20D Exclusive has been priced at 30.80 lakhs. The pricing is good and for a BMW it is worth it.

BMW 3 series comes with fantastic performance, luxury and most importantly the BMW driving experience. It has been priced appropriately. BMW 320i Petrol is available at an ex-showroom Delhi price of 24.40 lakhs. The 320D Corporate Edition Diesel variant is available at 24.90 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi and the top-spec diesel variant BMW 320d Highline is available at 31.90 lakhs while the BMW 330i Petrol is available at 34.59 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi. The pricing is the key however given BMW’s excellent after sales and service and extended warranty of up to 100000 kms makes the 3 series sedan a value for money purchase for anyone looking forward to buying a sporty sedan and starting their BMW ownership experience.

Value for money overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Value for money overall – BMW 3 Series – 8/10


BMW X1 and BMW 3 series are different kind of cars. BMW X1 is a softroader built primarily for on-road use with capability to do mild off-road trails. It shares components from the 3 series BMW sedans in terms of interiors and engine options. BMW 3 series is a fantastic range of cars in the C-segment and continues to surprise everyone with its value for money offering. BMWs are always known to be drivers cars and both these don’t disappoint. The question is if you want a sports utility vehicle or a sedan. If you prefer a car with tremendous road presence and want to be chauffeur driven sometimes you can prefer the BMW X1 over the BMW 3 series. However if you are a petrol head who loves to drive then it’s the 330i you must go for else you can also go with the 320d CE if you prefer to be chauffeur drive to your choice of destination. Which way you wish to drive these cars they will please you no matter what. So the choice is yours and given the options in hand, it’s certainly not an easy one.

Car version sDrive18i sDrive20d sDrive 20d Exclusive 320d 320i 320d Exclusive Edition 330i Sport Edition
Ex-showroom price 2200000 2390000 2990000 2950000 2690000 3050000 3459111
Length 4453 4453 4453 4520 4531 4531 4531
Width 1796 1796 1796 1817 1817 1817 1817
Height 1544 1544 1544 1421 1421 1421 1421
Wheelbase 2758 2758 2758 2760 2760 2760 2760
Boot space 419 419 419 1505 NA NA NA
Kerb Weight NA NA NA 1445 1390 1445 1495
Turning radius NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Tank capacity 61 61 61 61 63 61 63
Clearance 193 193 193 NA NA NA NA
Displacement 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 1995 2996
Max. Power 152PS @6400rpm 179PS @4000rpm 179PS @4000rpm 184PS @4000rpm 156PS @6400rpm 184PS @4000rpm 258PS @6600rpm
Max. Torque 200Nm @3600rpm 350Nm @1750rpm 350Nm @1750rpm 380Nm @1750rpm 200Nm @3600rpm 380Nm @1750rpm 300Nm @2500rpm
Fuel economy 11.25 15.06 15.06 16.07 12.05 NA 9.43
Cylinders 4 4 4 4 4 4 6
Type Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic
Speeds 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Tyre 225/50 R17 94H 225/50 R17 94H 225/50 R17 94H 255/50 R16 205/50 R16 225/50 R 16 225/45 R17
Front NA NA NA Double joint spring-strut axle Double joint spring-strut axle Double-joint spring strut front axle Double-joint spring strut front axle
Rear NA NA NA Five-link Five-link Five-link rear Suspension Five-link rear Suspension

BMW X1 2015-2020 Videos

Watch latest video reviews of BMW X1 2015-2020 to know about its interiors, exteriors, performance, mileage and more.

Trending BMW Cars

  • Popular
  • Upcoming
  • Comparison