BMW

Review of the BMW iX1: A Comprehensive Analysis

The BMW iX1 is essentially an electric version of the X1 SUV, distinguished by its closed grille and blue trim. It’s available in two versions: the entry-level eDrive20 with 201bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, and the xDrive30, boasting 308bhp and a 0-62mph of 5.6 seconds. Both versions use a 64.7kWh battery, providing ranges of up to 293 and 271 miles, respectively. The interior is well-appointed with advanced infotainment and comfort options, although it lacks some physical controls. Despite strong safety scores and a comfortable ride, it faces tough competition from Audi, Kia, Volvo, and Tesla models.

Introduction

If you’re a fan of simplicity, you’ll find BMW’s electric SUV naming strategy quite pleasing. They simply add an i to the petrol equivalent’s name. So the BMW iX1 we’re reviewing here is essentially an X1 with a battery instead of a fuel tank. The subtle electrical redesign means the best way to tell you’re looking at an iX1 rather than a BMW X1 is to look for the closed grille and blue trim.

You can also look under the hood. The iX1 shares the same underpinnings as its petrol sibling but ditches the engine in favor of an electric motor driving the front wheels, or two motors driving all wheels if you opt for the four-wheel model.

Most of BMW’s electric cars have been stars in their classes so far, but does the iX1 continue that theme? It’s certainly powerful and can manage a reasonable distance between charges, but so can many of its rivals. To name a few, there’s the comfortable and spacious Audi Q4 e-tron, the stylish Mini Countryman Electric, the sleeker-looking Kia EV6, and the big-selling Tesla Model Y. Read on to see how we rate the BMW iX1 against the best electric SUVs.

Performance and Drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Attributes:

  • Strengths:
    • Clean usage
    • Strong performance
  • Weaknesses:
    • Choppy ride, especially on bigger wheels
    • Some road noise
    • Average battery range

The entry-level BMW iX1, called the eDrive20, comes with one engine and 201bhp. It’s not that fast as electric cars go: 0-62mph takes an official 8.6 seconds. That’s identical to the entry-level Mini Countryman Electric, a bit slower than the Volvo EX40 Single Motor (7.3 seconds), and much slower than the Audi Q4 e-tron 45 (6.7 seconds).

The other version, the iX1 xDrive30, which we’ve driven so far, adds a second electric motor, raising power to 308bhp and cutting the 0-62mph time to a brisk 5.6 seconds. That’s slightly slower than the fastest version of the Q4 e-tron, identical to a Countryman SE ALL4, and faster than a Genesis GV60 in our preferred Premium trim.

If you want a super fast electric SUV, you could look at the Twin Engine Volvo EX40 (4.8 seconds), the four-wheel-drive versions of the Kia EV6, or the Tesla Model Y Performance, although this comes at a higher cost.

Battery and Range

Whichever iX1 you choose, it has a 64.7kWh (usable capacity) battery. The eDrive20’s official WLTP range from a full charge is up to 293 miles, while the xDrive30 manages up to 271 miles. These figures are slightly better than the equivalent Countryman Electric, but most rivals have longer ranges. For example, the EX40 Extended Range can officially cover up to 341 miles, and the Skoda Enyaq 85 goes even further at 348 miles.

Drive Comfort

We tested the iX1 xDrive30 in M Sport trim with optional 20-inch wheels and the entry-level xLine with optional 19-inch wheels. Both use adaptive suspension, which adjusts based on the road surface and how you drive. There’s a noticeable difference between the two versions. M Sport trim with 20-inch wheels is quite firm, which can lead to a harsh ride over bumpy roads and potholes. The less flashy xLine trim with smaller wheels provides a quieter and more supple ride, though it still doesn’t match the comfort level of the Q4 e-tron and GV60.

In both versions, body lean is controlled through corners and there’s a respectable amount of grip, although numb steering prevents you from having much fun on twisty roads. Wind noise is low at cruising speeds, but there’s a moderate amount of tire roar.

Interior

The Interior Arrangement, Fit, and Finish

Attributes:

  • Strengths:
    • Comfortable driving position
    • Infotainment system packed with features
  • Weaknesses:
    • Lack of physical controls
    • Not luxurious for entry-level models

There’s a good range of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel, with ample lateral support. You can also opt for electric adjustments with memory settings. Forward visibility is quite good, helped by the higher driving position typical of SUVs. A rearview camera and front/rear parking sensors are standard across all models, and a 360-degree camera system can be added through the Technology Plus package.

The 10.25-inch digital driver display and the 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system (BMW Operating System 9) are notable features. The infotainment system is packed with features, including wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sharp graphics, and quick responsiveness. However, it can be tricky to use when trying to find specific functions, necessitating looking away from the road.

The interior quality of the iX1 isn’t as spectacular compared to some rivals. While it feels well-assembled, it lacks the plush materials found in models like the Genesis GV60 or Volvo EX40. Mid-level xLine trim introduces more luxurious materials, soft leather-like material, and contrast stitching to enhance the cabin feel.

Passenger and Boot Space

How it Deals with People and Disorder

Attributes:

  • Strengths:
    • Good sized boot
    • Plenty of internal storage
    • Spacious for four occupants
  • Weaknesses:
    • Some rivals offer more rear space

The front seats provide plenty of headroom and can slide back enough to accommodate taller individuals comfortably. Front storage options include deep cup holders, sizable door pockets, and a large storage tray under the center armrest.

Rear space is equally impressive, making the iX1 more accommodating than the Genesis GV60 and Volvo EX40 in terms of head and legroom. However, models like the Nissan Ariya and Tesla Model Y offer even more rear space. The boot provides 490 liters of luggage space, more than a Mini Countryman Electric, GV60, and EX40. We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases into the boot, on par with the Nissan Ariya and surpassing the GV60.

The iX1’s boot has underfloor storage for charging cables but lacks a front boot like those found in the GV60 and Model Y. An electric tailgate is standard.

Buying and Owning

Daily Costs, Reliability, and Safety

Attributes:

  • Strengths:
    • Numerous individual options available
    • Strong Euro NCAP safety score
  • Weaknesses:
    • Rivals have faster charging capabilities

The cheapest BMW iX1 is slightly more expensive than entry-level versions of the Tesla Model Y and Volvo EX40. The entry-level Mini Countryman Electric is more affordable but comes with fewer features. The Genesis GV60 is pricier than these models. The iX1 accepts a maximum charging speed of 130kW, allowing a 10-80% charge in just 29 minutes with a sufficiently fast charger, comparable to the Countryman Electric and EX40.

The entry-level Sport trim comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, a digital driver’s display, an electric tailgate, and all-round parking sensors. The xLine trim adds 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, and a more luxurious interior. The M Sport trim introduces sporty styling, 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension, and sports seats.

BMW finished 12th out of 32 brands in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, outperforming Audi and Mercedes but lagging behind Kia and Tesla. All iX1s come with BMW’s three-year unlimited mileage warranty, which is superior to Audi’s and Volvo’s three-year/60,000-mile warranties but shorter than the GV60’s five-year/unlimited mileage coverage. The iX1’s battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles.

The iX1 earned a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2023. The GV60 and Model Y also received five stars, with the Tesla scoring the highest overall rating to date.

Conclusion

The BMW iX1 stands out with its clean usage, strong performance, and spacious interior, though it does have some drawbacks, such as a firm ride on larger wheels and average battery range. Its price is competitive, although some rivals like the Tesla Model Y offer faster charging and a more luxurious interior. The iX1’s strong safety score, comfortable driving position, and accommodating space make it a solid choice in the electric SUV market.

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