Mon | Oct 2, 2023

BMW X1 drives into electric lane

Published:Sunday | July 30, 2023 | 12:05 AMKareem LaTouche - Automotives Coordinator - -
One of the standout experiences of the iX1 is the ride quality.
One of the standout experiences of the iX1 is the ride quality.
The radiator grille is done for aesthetics, as there is no engine.
The radiator grille is done for aesthetics, as there is no engine.
The front fascia is in keeping with other BMW designs.
The front fascia is in keeping with other BMW designs.
BMW iX1 xDrive30.
BMW iX1 xDrive30.

The BMW iX1 xDrive30 is a compact electric SUV that combines style, performance, and sustainability. When it first debuted in 2009, it had a rear-wheel layout and was the company’s smallest SUV. Seven years later, the company switched to a front-wheel-drive configuration while the silhouette stayed relatively the same. The thing I remembered most about this generation on the local market was the diesel engines that they came with and the loud noise they made. Now, BMW has gone in the total opposite direction with the iX1, a vehicle that is fully electric and makes no noise.

The exterior design of the iX1 is sleek and futuristic, with a large kidney grille that houses the sensors and cameras for the driver-assistance systems. It also creates the illusion of having air vents, however, given that there is no engine, this is purely for aesthetics. The headlights and taillights are slim and LED-based, giving the car a distinctive look. The iX1 also features aerodynamic elements such as air curtains, wheel arches, and a rear spoiler that reduce drag and improve efficiency.

The interior layout of the iX1 is spacious and minimalist, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system that are seamlessly integrated into the dashboard. The floating display also does not have the traditional canopy that covers the dial cluster, which helps it to accomplish a futuristic appearance. BMW ditched the rotary knob in the centre console that was associated with the previous iDrive setup. Now, there are designated buttons, which work just as good, but I must admit, I had grown accustomed to the old mechanism.

The iX1 offers plenty of storage space, which ranges from 490 - 1495 litres, depending on how the seats are configured. Adding to the spaciousness is the panoramic sunroof that adds to the sense of openness. The materials used in the cabin are high-quality and eco-friendly such as recycled plastic, leather, and wood.

The sound system of the iX1 is one of the most impressive ones I have heard thus far. With a Harman Kardon surround sound system that delivers crisp and clear audio, I could feel the rhythm of the music in the seats. The iX1 also supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a head-up display that projects key information on to the windshield, however, this was not on the model I test -drove. The iX1 also has a voice assistant that can control various functions of the car with natural-language commands.

The driving modes of the iX1 are adaptive and customisable, with three options: Comfort, Eco Pro, and Sport. Comfort mode offers a balanced and smooth ride, Eco Pro mode optimises the battery range and efficiency, and Sport mode enhances the acceleration and handling of the car. The iX1 also has a regenerative braking system that recovers energy when decelerating or braking.

The overall feel of the vehicle is agile and responsive, with a powerful electric motor that delivers 313 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque. The iX1 can accelerate from 0 to 100mph in 5.6 seconds and has a top speed of 180kmph. The iX1 has a battery capacity of 64.7 kWh and an estimated range of 417 - 440km on a single charge. The iX1 can be charged at home or at public charging stations, with a fast-charging option that can replenish 80% of the battery in 30 minutes.

The BMW iX1 is a compelling choice for anyone looking for a compact electric SUV that offers style, good ride handling, and luxury.

Price of tested model: $11.29 m

Battery capacity: 232 Ah

Energy capacity: 64.7 kWh

Max. system output, kW/hp: 230 / 313

Max. system torque Nm: 494

Power configuration: AWD

Body Type: compact SUV

Competition: Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQA and Volvo XC40 Recharge