BMW X1 vs. Cupra Formentor: compact SUVs with gasoline engines in the test

BMW X1 vs. Cupra Formentor: compact SUVs with gasoline engines in the test

Daily car maintenance can become tiresome with the prevalence of extreme technology, electrification, and large body structures. Thankfully, two compact SUVs, the BMW X1 18i and Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI, offer a refreshing alternative with their well-behaved petrol engines.

Selected Products:

  1. BMW X1 18i – RRP: EUR 42,800.00
  2. Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI – RRP: EUR 35,530.00

Upon initial observation, one might assume that the taller X1 provides more space compared to the boldly designed Formentor. However, this assumption is incorrect. Despite being twelve centimeters higher, the X1 offers similar available space. Is it an optical illusion? No, it’s a different concept altogether.

Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI BMW X1 sDrive18i

Two cars, two concepts: The Cupra showcases a curved shape, while the X1 boasts a higher and more SUV-like design.

Photo: Christoph Boerries / How To Cars

Formentor: A Less SUV-Like Experience

BMW prioritizes a more SUV-like experience, positioning passengers higher. In the X1, occupants sit 65 centimeters above the road surface, which is 8.5 centimeters higher than in the Formentor. The X1’s sports seats (380 euros) offer superior comfort and adjustability compared to the Cupra. Additionally, the X1 allows for extension in various directions.

Ample Cargo Space in the X1

Traveling in the back seat is preferable in the BMW as well. The X1 allows for changes in backrest direction and bench movement (400 euros), offering a comfortable 38 cm gap between the seat and the car floor. On the other hand, the Cupra provides only 33 cm, resulting in an uncomfortable seating position and more cramped legroom for taller passengers.

BMW X1 sDrive18i

Advantageous Features of the BMW: The second row of the X1 offers a more comfortable 12 cm length adjustment, and the trunk is larger.

When it comes to transporting belongings, the X1’s superior body shines through. It provides approximately 100 liters more cargo space. However, only the Cupra offers an adjustable load floor and a removable backrest from the rear. In the BMW, one needs to step forward as the opening loop is positioned under the backrest, which is considered unfashionable.

Trailer Load (Used/Not Used):

Test Drive Price (Under Evaluation):

While the X1 outshines the Formentor in certain aspects, the latter has its weaknesses. Despite featuring a double bottom and better comfort than the X1, the loading sill in the Formentor remains 10.5 cm higher. Luggage needs to be lifted to a height of 740 mm, whereas in the BMW, it’s only 715 mm.

Exquisite Cabin Designs in the Formentor

Both SUVs offer modern interiors. The BMW’s crescent instruments, although difficult to read, present a minor annoyance. Nevertheless, overall operation through a combination of touch, turning (slightly), and voice commands is successful and relatively hassle-free.

BMW X1 sDrive18i

Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI

Cupra’s Advantage: The Formentor showcases the most beautiful and readable instrument displays. It offers plenty of interactive touch functions.

Similarly, the Cupra features impressive instrument displays, providing clear visibility and a large navigation map. However, the Spanish brand relies more heavily on touch functions, occasionally overcomplicating menu designs. For instance, adjusting the convertible chassis requires multiple touches.

Language Support in Cupra and BMW

Both vehicles offer reliable language assistants. Commands such as “I’m cold” or “Heat the seat” produce the desired results. BMW even goes a step further, allowing verification of oil levels and lubricant temperatures. These systems prove that simplicity does not equate to a lack of sophistication, as they offer numerous support features. Both models include city emergency braking, cruise control, and more.

Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI

Petrol Engines without Hybrid Modules

These small petrol engines impressively perform their duties even without hybrid modules. Both vehicles accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than ten seconds, reaching top speeds of over 200 km/h. What more could one ask for? Despite the audibly recognizable three-cylinder engines, the X1 feels quieter and more stable under load compared to the Formentor.

Average Test Cycle: 155 km (deviation from WLTP specifications):

Both the X1 and Formentor exhibit a sporty suspension setup. Despite the Cupra’s 15-way adjustable DCC (900 euros), it tends to stumble on steep slopes. The BMW, equipped with adaptive M suspension (690 euros), offers a slightly smoother overall experience. However, its firmness places it behind the Formentor in terms of slow driving comfort.

Used Car Search: BMW X1

BMW X1 18dMSport+Navi+LED+RFK+PDC+SHZ+Temp+Keyless – €46,900

BMW X1 sDrive18i Essence LED seat heating, Camera Navi PDC – €39,970

Petrol, 6.4 l/100km (combined), CO2 emissions 144 g/km*

BMW X1 xDrive23d NEW MODEL (M Sport, AHK, ACC) – €54,390

Diesel, 4.9 l/100km (combined), CO2 emissions 131 g/km*

BMW X1 sDrive20i xLine Head-Up DAB LED comfort car – €50,500

BMW X1 sDrive20i M DAB parking assistant package – €46,990

BMW X1 sDrive18i Essence seat LED hzg climate navigation camera – €43,390

Petrol, 6.4 l/100km (combined), CO2 emissions 144 g/km*

BMW X1 sDrive18i xLine Premium AHK camera – €43,200

Petrol, 6.5 l/100km (combined), CO2 emissions 147 g/km*

BMW X1 sDrive18d xLine DAB LED comfort car, AHK Shz – €49,890

BMW X1 X1 xDrive25e Auto. Sports fund of M – €48,500

Photo: BMW X1 sDrive18d Steptronic Sports Utility Vehicle, 110k – €54,651

Diesel, 4.9 l/100km (combined), CO2 emissions 6 g/km*

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Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSI BMW X1 sDrive18i

Legal Tips

  • For more information on official fuel consumption, official specific CO2 emissions, and, if applicable, power consumption of new vehicles, please refer to the “Official Fuel Consumption Guide.” This guide is available free of charge at all sales and outlet stores. “Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH” (

The X1’s direct steering delivers a notably sporty and quick response from the center, which might be considered excessive by some. On the other hand, Cupra adopts an invisible global approach to steering, catering to the preferences of many drivers. Both models feature dual-clutch transmissions that effortlessly shift through their seven gears, ensuring a smooth driving experience. BMW also deserves praise for its seven-speed clutch, which performs flawlessly.

Photo BMW X1 18dMSport+Navi+LED+RFK+PDC+SHZ+Temp+Keyless

Additional Charges in BMW

Now, let’s talk about pricing. BMW demands a significant premium, with the tested X1 variant costing at least 8,030 euros more than the Formentor. However, BMW compensates for this price difference with its lower fuel consumption (7.0 to 7.7 liters) and extended warranty period (three years compared to Cupra’s two years). The Cupra, on the other hand, boasts lower insurance ratings. Nevertheless, in the end, these factors might not be enough to justify choosing the Cupra over the X1.

Photo BMW X1 xDrive23d NEW MODEL (M Sport, AHK, ACC)

Photo BMW X1 sDrive20i M DAB parking assistant package

Photo BMW X1 sDrive18i Essence seat LED hzg climate navigation camera

BMW X1 sDrive18i xLine Premium AHK camera


Photo BMW X1 X1 xDrive25e Auto.  Sports fund of M

Photo BMW X1 sDrive18d Steptronic Sports Utility Vehicle.  110k