2024 BMW iX1 — iXcellent
It is third time’s the charm for BMW’s smallest sport activity vehicle (SAV) as the BMW X1 adds electric propulsion to its trim levels with the iX1 xDrive30.
For those interested in a compact premium all-electric SAV then look no further.
The iX1 now looks even closer to its other BMW SAV siblings, just smaller. However, BMW’s current design language is to give each X model slight variations for better differentiation. There’s a little bit more muscle in the body lines.
The EV platform allows a host of features, among them the Butler-like entry procedure. Puddle lamps greet as one approaches, the doors unlock, and the HVAC starts automatically with the infotainment ready to go before a button has been pressed in the interior and one drops into the comfortable seats to grab the sporty M Sport steering wheel.
In keeping with the future theme, there’s a three dimensionality to the sizeable cabin, having a sharp angular design paired with premium materials from front to rear. The massive BMW curved display takes centre stage as does the floating centre console. Niceties such as ambient lighting, a multitude of USB-C ports, wireless charging, and the harman/kardon stereo system are layered on top of a level of refinement only available to modern EVs to produce effortless motoring. Other than the safety noises at lower speeds inside is basically quiet.
Things are made even more effortless by the expansion of the iDrive 8 voice assistant. It’s directional, able to tell which seat the command is coming from, and has a greater range of actions, like being able to operate a wider range and formerly mechanical functions. Want to open or close windows, just ask.
ON THE ROAD
Where the BMW iX1 has bested itself and rivals is the driveability. The iX1 is smooth and fast, blessed with the instant torque of the two 190bhp motors driving its wheels. Average traffic can be dispatched on a press of the accelerator.
Pushing the dual motors, front and rear, is a 64.7kWh battery. There won’t be any range anxiety with a quoted 440 kilometre range. Most won’t have a problem getting close to that figure as Auto achieved 400km during its testing. For reference, this is Kingston to Montego Bay and back on a single charge.
Since the iX1 comes with a home wall box — BMW quotes 6.5 hours to a full charge on the standard 11kWh system, trips to public charging will be infrequent. Should that be the only option, it won’t be a problem using faster 50kWh Level 3 chargers now available as the vehicle can handle up to 130 kWh. From a 34 per cent battery, the iX1 took one hour and one minute to charge, taking under 14 minutes to hit 80 per cent at which point the charging curve slowed to preserve the battery. Still, it finished ahead of the displayed estimated time, meaning owners must be alert or get billed extra, $500 per hour, for idle time at the charging station. Cost for a 100 per cent charge: $3,699.90.
The EV drivetrain moves the weight lower in the chassis amplifying the typical BMW behaviours. Approaching corners there is some light body roll to give drivers the necessary feedback that they’re in a corner, otherwise there is an abundance of all-wheel drive grip and a complaint suspension keeping the vehicle composed over all surface types.
The iX1 is a full-force example of what the EV platform can bring to the automotive space. It is just as refined as its larger more upscale brothers, while still containing a similar level of technology and features. With the range and current charging network, there’s precious little reason to opt for the petrol powered variants and, unless one needs the space, there’s no need to look further up the X model line-up.