2022 BMW X1 snapped in Germany, to spawn BMW iX1 electric SUV [Update]

BMW’s electric offensive, which includes the launch of 9 new electric models by 2025, has the BMW iX1 as its protagonist. The BMW X1, the entry-level crossover in the BMW SUV range, will move to its next-generation in 2022, as confirmed last November. Plant Regensburg in Germany will start manufacturing the new BMW X1 in 2022, which will come available both with a combustion engine and a fully electric powertrain (as the BMW iX1).

2022 BMW X1 rear spy shot spied
The third-gen BMW X1 will lead to the BMW iX1 compact electric SUV, to be produced in Germany. This isn’t the first electric X1 as BMW’s Chinese JV produced limited units of the older generation branded as the Zinoro E1.

New spy shots carried by the web media recently reveal that BMW testers and engineers now run prototypes of the electric X1 on European roads, signifying that the project has progressed. Earlier spy photographers were capturing the combustion model.

The BMW iX1 (codename: BMW U11) will be a basic electric vehicle converted from the third-gen BMW X1 due next year. TopElectricSUV.com reader Ricardo Liebsch Allegro recently spotted a prototype of the 2022 BMW X1 in Germany, which is the donor car of the BMW U11. In this story, we discuss all the known aspects and the expectations from BMW’s crossover EV.

Design & Features

The BMW X1 will get an evolutionary redesign with its second lifecycle makeover. Ricardo’s pictures show that the roofline will slope into the rear at a steeper angle making the 2022 BMW X1 and the BMW iX1 sportier.

BMW iX1 front view rendering TopElectricSUV
The BMW iX1 will have minor yet noticeable body changes from the BMW X1. Pictured is TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the electric SUV.

Road tests of BMW’s upcoming electric SUV have commenced, and underneath the thick camouflage, prototypes could be testing out new battery packs of BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive technology. The little design details which peek out of these prototypes point to a more aggressive styling with larger kidney grilles and headlamps. For the BMW iX1, though, the kidney grille is expected to be blanked out (like the BMW iX3) with blue accents. It is not expected to follow the tracks of the iX.

Note that our rendering (above) is constructed inspired by observations made from spy media. The shape of the lights, grille, lower pockets, tow hook cap, windshield, and other elements indicates the production model.

With stronger styling, multiple range options, lower price, and wider availability than the iX3, the BMW iX1 is poised to become the best-selling BMW electric car. According to a report from CAR magazine, the iX1 will have a bespoke cockpit, which could mean bigger and/or more advanced screens and HUD, a distinctive steering wheel, and a differently designed center console.

Platform & Strategy

The third generation of the BMW X1, which goes by the codename BMW U11, will be underpinned by the modular FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur – which, when translated to English, reads as Front Wheel Drive architecture). The FAAR, a multi-energy platform, is designed from the ground up to be compatible with internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric.

BMW’s management says that the consumer views the multi-energy platform differently from the media or experts who consider EV-exclusive architectures superior. “This purpose-built conversion topic in my opinion is nothing which the customer really discusses. The customer is discussing the design, the brand, and the connectivity and the powertrain,” Jochen Goller, President & CEO, BMW Group Region China, mentioned at the BMW Group Analyst and Investor Day 2021 in March.

BMW Group EV roadmap 2021
An investor presentation from May 2021 confirms the electric vehicle launches BMW Group has laid out until 2023, including the X1 and 7 Series.

Thus far, BMW’s offerings in the entry range of electric vehicles have been muted. The BMW i3, which completed 7 years on the market in 2020, has over 200,000 units to its name. For customers seeking a larger product with all-electric capability, the next (and only) offering is the recently launched BMW iX3 (if you count out the Mini Cooper SE). However, even with the iX3, the USA will not get this BMW electric SUV, with its availability restricted to China and Europe.

In future, models such as the high-volume BMW 5 Series and the X1 as well as the BMW 7 Series will be available with four different types of drivetrain – all-electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol and diesel.

Excerpt from the BMW Group Report 2020

The push to launch an affordable BMW electric vehicle in the U.S., such as the iX1, could not come sooner as the brand is seeing sales of its electric range drop in the States (BMW has stopped reporting sales numbers of its EVs in the USA, it only releases the percentage of drop). Since the i3 has no planned successor and given the global market’s heavy appetite for crossovers, the iX1 could be the right successor globally.

German auto journal Automobilewoche had reported that the BMW iX1 should replace i3, though as its successor, it only fits requirements to a limited extent. As an SUV, the electric X1 would be bigger and more spacious than a city runabout. Nevertheless, the ‘i’ SUV is visually upgraded and aerodynamically enhanced, providing it somewhat an independent character. Automobilwoche adds that production of the BMW iX1 is scheduled to start at the end of 2022. Expect customer deliveries to begin in the first half of 2023.

BMW Group announced on Nov 18 that the Leipzig and Regensburg factories are currently setting up equipment to produce battery modules and high-voltage batteries starting in 2021. This development is directly related to the iX1 as the car is to be made at this location.

Performance & Charging

2020 BMW X1 PHEV charging
The iX1 is expected in two range options with the higher model delivering up to 400 km (249 mi) in WLTP. Image of the BMW X1 PHEV used as illustration. Image Source: BMW Group

According to bmwblog.com, the BMW iX1 will have at least two variants, FWD and AWD. The base variant should get a single motor and its maximum power rated at 180 PS or 177 hp. The top-end variant, possibly with one motor at each axle, will offer a maximum output of 250 PS or 246 hp. The base variant’s motor could be an updated version of the i3s’ 184 PS/181 hp unit.

The BMW iX1 should feature the same 400-volt system as the current wave of electric Bimmers. BMW Group is expected to have its 800-volt battery system ready when it introduces Die Neue Klasse EVs in 2025. Don’t expect the iX1 to support rapid charging at 350 kW; 200 kW could be the maximum charging capacity for the compact electric SUV.

Release Date & Price

What is the BMW iX1 electric release date?

Customer deliveries of the BMW iX1 are expected to begin in the first half of 2023.

Which electric cars are considered as BMW iX1 rivals?

The BMW iX1 will rival the Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Mercedes EQB & Lexus UX300e.

What is the estimated BMW iX1 price?

The price of the base BMW iX1 is expected around 64,000 USD/53,000 EUR.