Road Test

Road Test: 2013 BMW 120d xDrive

April 8, 2013

BMW 120d xDrive 2013_10For the first time, BMW has equipped the compact 1 Series with the intelligent all-wheel drive system. The first engine variants available with the xDrive are the 120d with the four-cylinder diesel and the M135i with the six-cylinder petrol engine. The 120d comes with the six-speed manual gearbox, while the M135i has the eight-speed automatic. You can choose either the 3-door or this 5-door version.

Our test drive car had the Sport Line trim level. In the Sport Line model the bars of the kidney grille, the trim bar in the central air intake, the side intake surrounds and the rear bumper trim are all high-gloss black. There is also a black trim for the exhaust tailpipe. The Sport Line also includes sports seats, a sports leather steering wheel with red contrast stitching, a red keyclasp, an adjustable armrest, high-gloss black interior trim strips and matt coral red accent strips. The instrument cluster features special Sport numbers and scales.

The BMW 120d is powered by a 1995cc, four-cylinder turbodiesel with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology. It delivers 184 horsepower at 4,000rpm and 380 Newton metres of torque between 1,750 and 2,750rpm. At very low revs the engine doesn’t feel as powerful, but keep the revs above 1500rpm where the maximum torque comes available, and this compact hatchback starts to move very nicely. According to the BMW, the four-wheel drive doesn’t slow the car down, but the performance figures are pretty similar to the rear-wheel drive version. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes 7,2 seconds and the top speed is 225 km/h.

At least for now, the 120d xDrive is only available with the six-speed manual gearbox, while the rear-wheel drive model with this same engine can be ordered also with the eight-speed automatic. The automatic would be more comfortable, but the BMW’s great manual gearbox delivers much more driving fun and also gives a sportier touch to the car. The performance of the diesel is never quite as brisk as with the petrol engine, but the engine’s huge torque makes driving with the manual very enjoyable.

The xDrive four-wheel drive system is a great addition to the BMW 1 Series. The xDrive system uses an electronically controlled multidisc clutch to ensure variable distribution of drive torque between the front and rear axle. In normal driving conditions, the permanent all-wheel drive system delivers 40 percent of the drive torque to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear wheels. With the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), the xDrive improves not just traction, but also stability especially in slippery winter conditions.



  • Diesel
  • 4-cylinder
  • 1995cc
  • Turbo


  • 135 kW (184 hp) / 4000rpm


  • 380 Nm / 1750-2750rpm


  • 6-speed manual
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 7.2 seconds

Top speed

  • 225 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 4.8 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 126 g/km

BMW 120d xDrive 2013_09