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First drive: BMW iX1

Date: 14 December 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

Electric is expected to be the biggest-seller in the new X1 range - we take it for an early drive.
Standard equipment:
20in alloy wheels, sports seats, LED headlights, power tailgate, digital widescreen display, aluminium exterior trim.
Electric: 313hp
Equipment grades:
xLine, M Sport
Single-speed automatic

BMW is growing its i all-electric range rapidly and the latest addition is an all-electric version of its smallest X badged SUV, the X1. 

Sitting on the same new UKL platform, the iX1 also benefits from the same longer wheelbase. So, think longer, taller and obviously the overall length has grown too - maybe a bit close for comfort to its big brother the iX3. 

The longer wheelbase means that like the X1, the iX1's interior feels almost as roomy as an SUV from the class above. This equals a comfortable, multi-adjustable driving position, that will please even the tallest drivers. 

Legroom is equally impressive in the back of the iX1. The battery pack under the floor means the 40:20:40 split/fold rear seat doesn't slide as it does in the ICE-powered car - it's also mounted higher, so taller passengers might struggle to get comfortable in the back. 

Boot space also drops compared with the ICE model, from 540 litres to a still decent 490 litres.  

These compromises aside, even in the prototype that we drove, the iX1's interior looks and feels more premium than ever before. BMW's latest curved infotainment display - made up of two screens - seems well suited on top of the iX1's dashboard. The first display is for the instruments and measures 10.25in, and the other is for the infortainment and measures 10.7in. Elsewhere, the floating centre console houses the gear selection button and driving modes. 

Outside, if you choose the xLine equipment grade, you get blue highlights on the more rugged, off-road trim - that we're told can be deleted. 

The M Sport grade version that we drove on the other hand, looked the same as the ICE-powered models - apart from the badging.   

The BMW iX1 xDrive30 is powered by one electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear - equalling four-wheel drive, each combined with power electronics and transmission in a single, compact housing. 

The drive units deliver a combined output of 313hp (including temporary boost) and overall torque of 494Nm. 

The iX1 also benefits from BMW's fifth generation eDrive technology, so it's 64.7kWh high-voltage battery, which is positioned in the car's underbody, means that BMW are quoting a range of up to 270-miles. 

Also, when it comes to charging, the iX1's combined unit allows single- and three-phase AC charging up to 11kW, which can be optionally increased to 22kW (three-phase AC). As such, the battery can be fully recharged from empty to full in 6.5 hours - or 3 hours 45 minutes as an option. 

DC charging capability of up to 130kW,also means the iX1 can be charged from 10 to 80% in 29 minutes, or the range can be increased by 75 miles in an incredible 10 minutes.

The iX1 is available in xLine and M Sport grades. We were told fleet demand would be mostly focussed on the iX1 M Sport grade, with its 2% BIK figure and £54,960 price. 

Rapid, grippy and amusing best describe the drive - there's a 'Boost' paddle behind the steering wheel and when pulled like a gear, you get 10 seconds of peak acceleration. Although, it's largely irrelevant in everyday use. As an aside, Sport mode is found in the 'My Modes' section of the drive modes, with names such as, 'Expressive' and 'Relax.' We tried the 'Relax' and the driving settings certainly lived up to the name.  

The biggest compliment we can pay the iX1, is it feels remarkably like the ICE version to drive. Again, the steering is precise - but over light and lacking in feedback. 

There is some body roll, but the xDrive four-wheel drive system gives welcome confidence and grip in corners. 

Our M Sport test car rode on the biggest 20in wheels, and perhaps the giveaway for the heavy battery was a weightier feeling and that the suspension is working hard to mask road imperfections from the bigger wheels. It is only a minor issue that affects the car sometimes.

BMW is expecting the majority of the X1s (66%) that it sells to be EVs. On this evidence, we're not surprised as the iX1 is a very well-rounded (not so) small SUV.

BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport 

P11D: £54,905

Residual value: 47.8%

Depreciation: £28,616

Fuel: £4,853

Service, maintenance and repair: £2.358

Cost per mile: 52.37p

Range: 267 miles

CO2 (BIK %): 0g/km (2%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £18/£37

Luggage capacity: 490 litres

Battery size/power: 64.7kWh/ 313hp


  • Spacious interior and boot
  • Fun to drive
  • Premium feel
  • Steering lacks feel
  • Interior overcomplicated by lack of physical controls
  • Expensive