Slick and sporty or tall and tough – which formula should you apply for your first BMW?

Both the BMW X1 and the 3 Series bring unique qualities to the table. They are, after all, very different cars built to cater to completely different needs. However, choosing between the two when you’re looking to enter the BMW family can be tricky. But most importantly, your requirements decide which car makes more sense. So let’s see which car offers the right set of values for your needs.

BMW 3 Series BMW X1
330i Sport – Rs 41.70 lakh sDrive20i SportX – Rs 35.90 lakh
330i M Sport – Rs 48.50 lakh sDrive20i xLine – Rs 38.70 lakh
320d Luxury Line – Rs 47.50 lakh sDrive20d xLine – Rs 39.90 lakh
sDrive20d M Sport – Rs 42.90 lakh


If you’ve zeroed in on a BMW, chances are you enjoy driving yourself and want something that can deliver excitement. Now, irrespective of which car or fuel type you choose, both cars are offered with 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engines.

In fact, on the diesel front, the 320d and X1 20d employ the same engine with the same tune — 190PS of power and 400Nm of torque paired with 8-speed automatic transmission.

Claimed Fuel Efficiency 3 Series X1
Petrol 16.13kmpl 14.82kmpl
Diesel 20.37kmpl 19.62kmpl

However, while the X1’s petrol engine (20i) produces 192PS/280Nm, the 3 Series (30i) offers a significantly higher 258PS/400Nm. Additionally, the 3 Series comes with good old-fashioned rear-wheel-drive, but the X1 only comes with front-wheel-drive. With the latter’s most recent update, all-wheel-drive is no longer available.

Drive Experience

Both cars will manage daily commutes and highway drives with ease. But when it comes to the outright fun-to-drive experience, the 3 Series is far more superior. The powertrain feels more responsive, the car itself is more agile, it doesn’t face the hassle of body roll and also offers better balance through curves/corners.

The 3 Series is a sporty sedan that sits low to the ground. In our country, where bad roads and poorly designed speed breakers show up out of nowhere, this can prove to be quite a hassle. The X1’s ground clearance gives it an advantage here. What’s more, the X1 gets a more comfortable suspension setup. Compared to the 3 Series, which offers a noticeably stiffer ride, the X1 is more India-friendly on most counts.

Features And Practicality

The 3 Series is significantly more expensive than the X1. While a big part of the difference in the petrol can be attributed to the 330i’s higher state of tune, the 320d doesn’t offer that advantage. So are you getting more equipment for the price premium?

Common Features

Cruise control LED exterior lights including fog lights
Auto headlamps + auto wipers 17’’ & 18’’ wheel options
Paddle shifters Rear AC vents
Apple CarPlay Ambient lighting
Powered front seats with memory for driver Auto dimming interior rear view mirror
Rear camera Rear parking sensors
6 airbags Auto start/stop
Brake energy regeneration ISOFIX

3 Series Unique Features vs X1 Unique Features

3 Series X1
Sunroof Panoramic sunroof
Wireless phone charger Wireless Apple CarPlay
3 zone climate control 2 zone climate control
12.3 inch digital instrument cluster 2-step adjustable rear backrest
10 speaker music system 6 speaker music system
10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment system 8.8 inch touchscreen infotainment system
Navigation with 3D maps Navigation
20GB internal memory for maps/audio files 40:20:40 split folding rear backrest
Gesture controls Attention assist
iDrive touch dial with handwriting recognition

As you can see, while a lot of features are common to both cars, the BMW 3 Series offers a stronger tech package compared to the X1. The primary advantage with the X1 is its panoramic sunroof and more practical interior.

And that’s an indication of who the X1 is for. The BMW X1 also offers a more accommodating cabin for the whole family, easier ingress/egress since the seats are higher off the ground, and a more practical boot.

Simply put, the BMW 3 Series is a driver’s car. It has been designed largely for those looking to buy their car for personal use while carrying passengers occasionally. The X1, on the other hand, is the one to buy if family use is a big consideration. It’s more spacious, more practical, and offers better ride comfort.


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