Read Caroline’s BMW iX1 review for everything you need to know about buying BMW’s compact electric SUV.

BMW has launched a new generation of the brand’s popular X1 and there’s a full electric version for the very first time – the new BMW iX1.

It rivals premium electric SUVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge, Audi Q4 e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQA.

It’s now available on the Irish market in two ‘flavours’ – the eDrive20 from about €52,000 on the road with range up to 473km (WLTP) or the more powerful dual motor xDrive30 priced from about €66,000 with a range up to 436km (WLTP).

Let’s take a closer look.

The BMW iX1 on test for Changing Lanes
The BMW iX1 on test for Changing Lanes

What’s so special about the BMW iX1?

BMW is rapidly expanding its range of full electric models like the iX, i4, i7 and newly launched i5. But the market still loves SUVs, particularly compact ones. The iX1 gives BMW lovers a relatively affordable way to get into one of the brand’s electric SUVs.

The styling is brilliant too. The iX1 gets a big tick for desirability. There’s also very little to distinguish the fuel powered X1 from the battery powered iX1.

So that means a pleasantly boxy stance, with typical BMW design cues like the large square kidney grille. Flush door handles and air curtains improve aerodynamic efficiency.

There are a few different trim lines – Sport, xLine and M Sport – which tweak the look somewhat. But overall this is a very handsome electric SUV, with a bit of coolness and dynamism to it – particularly in the M Sport trim.

The standard wheel size is 17-inch (or 18-inch on M Sport), with the option to upgrade to 19s or 20s.

Being a BMW, it should be good to drive too.

The iX1 is a compact electric SUV from BMW
The iX1 is a good-looking compact electric SUV from BMW

Driving the iX1

The iX1 eDrive20 uses a single electric motor to drive the front wheels, with a respectable 204hp and a range of up to 473km (WLTP).

For more performance, you will want to step up to the xDrive30. It adds a motor to the rear axle for a combined power output of 313hp. 0-100 km/h is a rapid 5.6 seconds, though the official range drops to 436 km (WLTP).

Yet the iX1 is an absolute joy to drive, feeling nippy and agile in all driving situations. It is also incredibly smooth, part of its premium edge. There is a Boost paddle behind the steering wheel that gives the driver 10 seconds of maximum power and torque. It’s a little bit of a gimmick but fun nonetheless.

Comfort and refinement levels are good, though not quite as luxurious as the BMW i4. There is road noise at high speeds and the M Sport model on 20-inch wheels I tested was firm over any joints or imperfections in the tarmac.

Though not quite as fun to drive, a Volvo XC40 Recharge seems better resolved overall in this manner.

The interior of the new BMW iX1 xDrive30
The interior of the new BMW iX1 xDrive30

Still it’s reasonably efficient for what it is, with consumption averaging at about 18.1 kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. That works out at about 357 kilometres of driving on a full charge from the 64.7kWh battery (usable capacity).

AC charging is up to 11kW, while DC fast charging is possible up to 130kW for an 80% battery charge in about 30 minutes.

Inside the BMW iX1

The iX1 has a longer wheelbase than the model it replaces so it feels a bit roomer inside. It’s still quite a compact vehicle but headroom and legroom is generous enough – though two will be most comfortable in the back seat. There’s a 490-litre boot, which is impressive for a compact electric SUV.

The dashboard design and cabin layout is quite different to the model it replaces. The focus is on new digital tech with the BMW Curved Display making a glamourous debut.

The cabin of the previous X1 was looking quite dated by the end of its lifecycle but it had a terrific build and posh feel to it. This one is more contemporary but it’s lost a bit of the upmarket feel of the previous generation – though the Oyster Vernasca leather upholstery was a nice option.

Rear seating in the iX1
Rear seating in the iX1

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. The control display is quite minimalist with a move towards less buttons. There’s no iDrive controller on the floating centre console but the voice control works better than ever. Even the ventilation controls are accessed from the screen – but there is a handy shortcut to the climate menu always present.

Wireless smartphone charging also features though I found it hard to sustain a charge as my phone kept moving around in the holder.

Did you like it?

The BMW iX1 is an expensive but very trendy compact electric SUV. It looks great and is genuinely fun to drive. It’s also surprisingly efficient so all the little aero design tweaks have certainly worked wonders to give owners a decent amount of range between battery charges.

It’s practical for its size and has come on in strides when it comes to design. The cabin has gone very tech-focused but lost a little of its posh charm along the way. Yet it’s still a very desirable package overall and easily one of the best of its class.

Model tested: BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport
Price: 
€67,780
Battery:
64.7 kWh
Range: 436 kilometres (WLTP)
Power: 313 hp
Torque: 494 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.6 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The new BMW iX1 is expected in Ireland in early 2023
The BMW iX1 is a sporty and practical electric SUV