BMW has a new habit, which consists of presenting a derivative with an ‘i’ in front of the name at the launch of almost every new model. This already happened, for example, with the new 7 Series/i7 and more recently with the 5 Series/i5, and the (i)X1 also received the same approach. This means that in Bavaria they firmly adhere to the single-body strategy for combustion engines and EVs, unlike, for example, Mercedes, which prefers to develop separate platforms for its electric alternatives. And that’s why it’s a good thing that the difference at BMW is made clear by means of that ‘i’.
X1 of X3 size
Apart from that name, you must have done your homework to distinguish the iX1 from the X1. For example, you can still find the illusion of two exhaust cutouts at the rear, while BMW simply sticks to a – albeit closed – grille at the front. Fortunately, that grille is not one of the giant kind here, because the Germans play it somewhat safe with their most compact SUV. Only the rear is reminiscent of the bold lines of the XM, but otherwise we mainly look at a tight evolution of what the previous X1 was able to offer … But then again a bit bigger, because this newcomer has secretly a hair’s breadth. of BMW’s first generation X3.
You wouldn’t tell it from the inside that this is their most compact SUV. So you will not only find a lot of space, but the cabin of the iX1 is also well put together and full of technology. That starts with the Curved Display that shows off at the top of the dashboard, where the digital instruments and infotainment screen are integrated in one curved plane. That also means that BMW largely eliminates the physical buttons, so just about everything can be done with that display. By the way, you no longer operate that by means of the rotary knob of yesteryear, because the center console now only offers space for a volume wheel, a set of buttons for the driving modes and a minimalist selector lever for the powertrain …
Boost up to 180 km/h
That powertrain is of course one of the electric kind, and BMW currently offers the iX1 in only one flavor. That flavor is called ‘xDrive30’, and, as the name suggests, combines two electric motors – one on each axle – for four-wheel drive. Together they bring a nice 313 hp and 494 Nm of torque to the wheels, enough to drag the thick 2-tonne SUV to 100 km / h in just 5.6 seconds. The top speed is then limited to 180 km / h, which is perhaps just enough to show you on many Autobahn. Anyway: we are almost all heading in that direction, because EVs simply do not like extremely high speeds.
Yet this iX1 remains a real BMW, and perhaps even more than its brothers and sisters without electric motors. For example, it shares the title of fastest accelerating X1 with the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e, but trust us when we say that this electric powertrain feels a bit more competent. This device not only shoots like a madman out of the starting blocks after you have pulled that crazy ‘Boost’ pedal behind the wheel, but the two electric motors also provide endless grip during better cornering. In addition, the EV has a B mode that bypasses the otherwise rather unpredictable adaptive brake regeneration, and in it you are simply accelerating and decelerating comfortably with one pedal … Although that comfort is outside the standard, rock-hard M Sport- dampers included.
365 realistic kilometers
However, the times when an electric car only made the news because of its acceleration are behind us, so the rest of the electric is also worth mentioning. For example, there is a battery pack of 64.7 kWh net under the bottom, which can be charged at speeds of up to 130 kW. With this you can pump it from 10 to 80% capacity in less than half an hour on the right fast charger, and completely full you should be able to reach 439 kilometers according to BMW. Of course we just didn’t get that far, and our counter indicated at best 365 kilometers of driving range. That is somewhat what we expected with a battery of that size, and consumption therefore ended at an acceptable average of 18.7 kWh / 100 km.
You can also live with the rest of the iX1, by the way. For example, we already talked about the fact that the car grew a bit again, and that of course benefits the interior space. For example, a nice 490 liters of luggage fits in the back, and BMW has been kind enough to provide some space for those otherwise lying charging cables. You will not find it under the former hood – because the iX1 does not have a frunk – but simply under the trunk floor. Furthermore, there is more than enough space in the back seat for a few adults or a trio of children and you are of course completely spacious in the front. Indeed: you would almost start to wonder why anyone would consider an iX3.
Always as a powerhouse
That impression goes even further when you open the price list of the iX1, because there you will find the electric SUV from 57,950 euros. That is already a considerable amount, but it is almost 15,000 euros less than what you have to pay for the cheapest iX3. Fortunately, you don’t get a bare greenhouse for that money either, because BMW installs an extensive infotainment system with navigation, automatic climate control, cruise control, parking sensors all around and a reversing camera as standard. You still have to add a number of other interesting things such as a self-dimming interior mirror, because of course they remain Germans.
By the way, don’t forget that at that price you immediately get the iX1 with that powerful, four-wheel drive powertrain. If you put together its main competitors as such, then interestingly enough you end up higher for a Volvo XC40 Recharge, Audi Q4 e-tron or Mercedes EQA. The latter two are even more expensive than the iX1 in their weaker, two-wheel drive versions, so BMW has priced its most compact electric SUV quite cleverly. Only the Tesla Model Y throws a spanner in the works, because as a Long Range it has a longer driving range, more power and more standard equipment than this iX1 for 3,000 euros less. Anyway: since Tesla’s last price reduction, almost all competitors can shake it.
The BMW iX1 plays it safe enough to appeal to a wide audience but still stands out with its potent powertrain, sleek handling and sharp looks. In addition, it has an interior space that makes you forget that there are even larger BMWs, and its driving range is also quite usable. In other words, if this iX1 is part of your remuneration package, you can do worse.
2 electric motors (front and rear)
Automatic (fixed ratio)
Price basic model
€ 57 950.00