First Look Review: BMW iX1, America’s elusive small SUV

  • Entry point into BMW's EV line-up following the i3 hatchback's discontinuation
  • Dual-motor AWD models gets a WLTP range of up to 440 km (273 miles)
  • Priced from EUR 47,900 (USD 51,361) in Germany
  • Not planned for the U.S. market

The BMW X1 was first introduced in 2009, and since then, the carmaker has sold some 3 million units of its Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). Thirteen years after its inception, the third-generation BMW X1 debuted with the first-ever all-electric BMW iX1. After the BMW iX and the iX3, the iX1 was the third zero-emissions SUV from the Bavarian carmaker when it was announced in 2022.

Recently I had a chance to explore BMW’s entry-level SUV, and here’s what I discovered:

Design

The design of the BMW iX1 is sharp and more aerodynamic. I felt that the talking point is a closed-off kidney grille with chrome embellished vertical slats and a chrome grille surround. It gets optional adaptive LED headlamps with Matrix high beam, pulsating turn indicators, and variable light distribution. The lower portion of the bumper appears busy. It has a large air intake at the bottom, a muscular skid plate, and sharp panels towards the edges.

On to the sides, the electric crossover is hoisted on aero-optimized side view mirrors and alloy wheels, and flush-fitting door handles. 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted to the base version, while 18-inch wheels come with the xLine and M Sport models. 19- and 20-inch rims are also available optionally for the first time (in the xLine and M Sport grades).

At the rear, the BMW iX1 has no tailpipes, and the boxy rear and sharp L-shaped LED taillamps, I feel, offer plenty of character to the compact SUV. It also gets a roof-integrated spoiler, a raked rear windscreen, and a shark fin antenna. The lower portion of the bumper houses a skid plate for a rugged SUV stance. The iX1’s impressive drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.26 is a testament to BMW engineers’ focus on making this SUV slippery.

Interior

I’m six feet tall, and despite the slightly sloping roofline, I encountered no ingress or egress issues. It’s hard to believe that this interior belongs to an entry-level BMW SUV because the quality materials and layout appear as luxurious as BMW’s expensive models.

Once in the driver’s seat, I checked the all-around visibility. BMW has designed the windows and quarter glass to provide a good view of the surroundings, although the thick A-pillar and side mirror mount were minor visibility hindrances.

This being the M Sport model, the overall aesthetics felt sportier. The steering wheel provided a solid grip, and I really liked the aluminum sport pedals and silver trim on the wheel spoke. These elements nicely complemented the faux wood trim and brushed aluminum inlays on the dashboard.

The special seats offered excellent back and shoulder support, and surprisingly, the under-thigh support was very comfortable. I had plenty of headroom and felt very comfortable overall. During my time with the car, I liked using the scrollers on the center console and steering wheel. However, the quality of the panel used to switch modes, change audio tracks, and activate the reverse camera could use some improvement in future model years.

The M Sport package adds Sensatec or Alcantara sports seats with black and blue contrast stitching or Vernasca Leather with unique diamond quilting (shown in our photos). The rear seat backrest is split 40:20:40 and can be folded flat to expand luggage space.

In the second row, positioned right behind the driver’s seat adjusted for my height, I found just about enough legroom and knee room. However, the default angle of the backrest was not very comfortable for me. While the recline function allows a more relaxing posture, sitting with my knees slightly raised, I found this area less accommodating for taller individuals, despite having sufficient headroom and ample light from the glass roof.

Music lovers are in for a treat because the iX1 comes with a standard six-speaker set-up with a 100-watt amplifier. A Harman Kardon system with 12 speakers and double the amplifier output is optional.

Specifications & Driving Impressions

SpecificationsValue
Length4,500 mm (177.2 in.)
Width1,845 mm (72.6 in.)
Height1,616 mm (63.6 in.)
Wheelbase2,692 mm (106.0 in.)
Ground Clearance170 mm (6.7 in.)
Luggage Capacity490-1,495 liters (17.3-52.8 cu. ft.)
Drivetrain layoutDual-motor AWD
Total Power230 kW (308 hp) with a temporary boost
Total Torque494 Nm (364 lb.-ft.)
0-62 mph time5.6 seconds
Top Speed180 km/h (112 mph)
Battery (Net)64.7 kWh
Range (WLTP)440 km (273 miles)
AC Charging Power11 kW (standard)/22 kW (optional)
0-100% AC Charging Time6 hours 30 minutes (at 11 kW)/3 hours 45 minutes (at 22 kW)
DC Charging Power130 kW
0-80% DC Charging Time29 minutes
Braked Towing Capacity (12%)1,200 kg (2645.5 lbs.)
Unbraked Towing Capacity750 kg (1653.5 lbs.)
BMW iX1 xDrive30 specifications. Source: BMW Group

Owners and those who’ve comprehensively tested the car would concur that the iX1 features strong acceleration, well-damped suspension and rides very well despite its weight of around 2.1 tons. The iX1 has a quiet cabin, and a relaxed nature. Adaptive M suspension is optional on all thermal-powered models of the BMW X1 and standard on the iX1. The ride comfort can be altered thanks to the adjustable frequency selective dampers. That said, the SUV can exhibit a fair bit of body roll due to the increased weight of the battery.

BMW iX1 boot
Thanks to the modular seats, the BMW X1’s luggage area can be expanded from 17.3 to 52.7 cu ft (490 to 1495 liters). Moreover, customers can add an electronically deployable trailer tow hitch, with 1,200 kg of provisional towing capacity.

Price

In Germany, the BMW iX1 starts at EUR 47,900 (USD 51,361) for the eDrive20 variant (FWD). The xDrive30 with the M Sport packet (shown in the article) is priced starting at EUR 58,850 (USD 63,106). There’s no plan to launch the iX1 in the U.S. market, where customers demand much higher range and better features from a vehicle of the X1’s size class. The gas-powered third-generation X1 is available in the U.S., and prices start at USD 40,500.

BMW iX1 FAQs

What is the BMW iX1’s release date?

The BMW iX1 is now on sale in Europe, Middle East & Asia. It is not coming to the U.S.

Which electric cars are considered BMW iX1 rivals?

What is the BMW iX1’s price?

The iX1 is priced starting at EUR 47,900 (USD 51,361) in Germany.