2024 Bmw Ix1 108 1667576672

2023 BMW iX1 Is the Bavarian Brand’s Smallest EV

We hoped that the move to electrification might shrink the world a bit by allowing different parts of the world to share the same models, especially EVs based on existing combustion engines. Still, while BMW will sell gasoline-powered versions of the new X1 in the United States, there are no plans to bring the all-electric iX1 across the Atlantic.

It wasn’t long ago that BMW seemed to be at the forefront of the electric revolution. The adorably flashy carbon-bodied i3 hatchback and the three-cylinder PHEV i8 sports car were both pioneers. But in recent years, the company has shifted to a more timid approach, one where — outside of the all-electric iX — BMW has introduced a new line of “i”-branded cars that are EV versions of existing models. Like the iX3, i4 and i7, the new iX1 is one of these, matching an all-electric powertrain to the third-gen X1, which has just gone on sale in Europe.

The iX1 is launched in dual-motor all-wheel-drive form, with xDrive30 branding (BMW hints that it will introduce a less powerful two-wheel-drive version later). The motors turning each axle are identical but for a slightly lower gear ratio for the single speed reduction at the rear. Combined peak output is 308 horsepower and 364 pound-feet of torque. Power comes from a 64.7kWh battery pack under the floor that gives a range of 266 miles under Europe’s flattering WLTP test protocol – likely under 240 miles under the EPA’s stricter procedure. The battery supports DC fast charging of up to 130 kW, which can take it from 10 percent to 80 percent in a claimed 29 minutes. The water-cooled suit will also adjust its temperature to an optimal 77 degrees Fahrenheit when it approaches a fast charger programmed into the navigation system.

The iX1’s interior feels well finished and impressively spacious for a car that’s just over 177 inches long. Full-sized adults will be able to sit in the front and back without complaint, and there’s room 24 cubic feet of cargo space – virtues that will remain for the US-bound, gas-powered X1 xDrive28i, which actually gets a bit more cargo room at 25.7 cubic feet.

The iX1 gets a 10.3-inch digital instrument display as standard, plus a 10.7-inch curved touchscreen, both of which run the new BMW 8 operating system. It looks nice and works quickly, but it does mean the demise of both physical heating controls and the useful row of customizable function keys that BMW previously offered. Swiping down from the top of the screen brings up a version of the function keys, but you have to take your eyes off the road. Similarly, although a My Modes button on the center console has survived the obliteration of conventional switchgear, pressing it only brings up options on the screen, with another input then required to select one.

This EV’s performance is punchy and delivered with minimal drama. The iX1’s accelerator pedal is a little top-loaded in its responses, especially in Sport mode, where the aggressive mapping makes it difficult to achieve a smooth takeoff. BMW claims a 5.7-second zero-to-62-mph time. Full thrust is reserved for Boost mode, which is activated for 10 seconds by pulling a tension wheel behind the steering wheel, but we didn’t notice a noticeable difference versus just stepping on the accelerator. There’s also a one-pedal mode accessed by pulling the blunt gear selector to “B”.

2024 bmw ix1

BMW

The iX1 also comes with a switchable soundtrack, with the so-called IconicSounds Electric option creating a futuristic and vaguely engine-like hum in the cabin that varies according to throttle position. It felt less sophisticated than some competing offerings, but we still preferred the quiet with it turned off.

That’s because refinement is impressive. The cabin is well-insulated at both city and highway speeds, and despite a chunky 4600lb curb weight – more than 800lb heavier than the X1 xDrive28i – ride quality remained good even over the bumpy UK roads where we drove the car. The iX1 rides on passive dampers, but, like those in the G20 generation 3 series, their effort can be changed hydraulically under large suspension travel.

What’s sadly missing, as in several other recent BMWs, is the sense of dynamic connection that used to come standard with any of the company’s products. The iX1’s steering is completely devoid of low-speed feedback, and its biased handling balance is easily driven into understeer. The retired i3 was smaller and slower, but was also sharper and better to drive.

The priorities of driving enthusiasts don’t seem to be very high on the list of iX1 features. The point is made by three new switchable modes that have joined the familiar Personal, Sport and Efficient settings: Expressive, Relax and Digital Art. Choosing Expressive changes the dashboard display and activates the driver’s seat massage function; switching to another mode didn’t turn off the knee, which had to be done through a tour of various menus. Relax, an ambient soundtrack began to play. And Digital Art has given both display screens another redesign. Honestly, everything felt like gimmicks.

Should we feel aggrieved at being denied the iX1? Definitely, given its combination of relatively strong performance, cool design and competitive pricing – at least in Europe. In Germany, the pre-tax price comes to just over $45,000, meaning it costs almost exactly the same as the entry-level Kia EV6 and undercuts the Mercedes EQA350 4Matic. Better news for us is that the rest of this X1 has been significantly upgraded over the outgoing model, which bodes well for the petrol version to come here.

Specifications

Specifications

2023 BMX iX1 xDrive30
Vehicle type: front and rear motor, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE
Base: $46,000 – German USD equivalent, will not be sold in North America

POWER TRAIN
Front Motor: Upstream Synchronous AC, 188 hp, 182 lb-ft
Rear motor: upstream synchronous AC, 188 hp, 182 lb-ft
Combined power: 308 hp
Combined torque: 364 lb-ft
Battery pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 64.7 kWh
On-board charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC fast charging rate: 130 kW
Transmissions, F/H: direct drive/direct drive

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 106.0 inches
Length: 177.2 inches
Width: 72.6 inches
Height: 63.6 inches
Passenger volume: 101 feet3
Cargo volume: 24 feet3
Combat weight (C/D east): 4600 lbs.

PERFORMANCE (C/D IS)
60 mph: 5.5 sec
1/4-mile: 13.7 sec
Top speed: 112 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D IS)
Combined/City/Highway: 97/99/96 MPGe
Range: 230 miles

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