BMW

2023 BMW iX1 xDrive 30 review

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BMW’s approach of taking existing model lines and offering a choice of petrol or electric versions, opens up opportunities for buyers who might have previously found the EV niche unfilled. In the case of the new iX1, you get everything good about the roomy new X1 combined with everything good about electric vehicles.

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What we love
  • Plenty of room to move, front and back
  • Looks and feels more substantial than a ‘small’ SUV
  • Plenty of power in reserve for overtaking
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What we don’t
  • Doesn’t feel as agile as the petrol X1
  • Infotainment has lost its simple interface
  • Boot space takes a (minor) hit

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2023 BMW iX1 xDrive 30

The BMW X1 was, in its previous generation, something of a hidden gem among small SUVs. Compact on the outside yet surprisingly spacious inside, the old X1 impressed, but some of the design and interior details needed attention.

In the new-generation 2023 BMW X1 range, those areas have been addressed. But wait, there’s more. The new X1 is larger still on the inside (but also a touch bigger outside) and alongside the petrol X1 models is a new iX1 – a fully-electric compact SUV without sacrificing the space and versatility of other models in the range.

A more bluff and blocky design follows the SUV trend of cars looking more solid and substantial. On the inside, the iX1 scores some of the design details and features found throughout the latest BMW range, with attractive interior detailing and crisp and clear interior displays.

Crucially, though, the iX1 xDrive 30 model shares top-rung positioning. As the electric range-topper it’s a technological halo for the range, and until the X1 M35i arrived a few weeks ago, it was the quickest and most expensive X1 variant you could buy.

How much does the BMW iX1 cost in Australia?

BMW offers two distinct iX1 models in Australia, starting with the front-wheel-drive iX1 eDrive 20 priced from $78,900 before on-road costs. It comes with a 150kW/247Nm single motor and 64.7kWh battery, and a 475km claimed range.

Moving up to the iX1 xDrive 30 model shown here kicks the starting price up to $84,900 before options and on-road costs. The high-spec model adds a dual-motor powertrain and 230kW/494Nm outputs, but an unchanged battery with 460km of claimed driving range.

The iX1 comes in either M Sport or xLine design packages at no extra cost. Standard on the xLine tested here are features like 19-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights and LED tail-lights, keyless entry and start, faux-leather seat trim, power-adjustable front seats with heating, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control, a 10.7-inch infotainment touchscreen, 10.25-inch digital instrument display, head-up display, and a full suite of safety and driver assist tech (more on that further down).

Also fitted to our test car is a $3616 Enhancement Package that adds in premium audio, a panoramic sunroof and front seat massaging. Details like interior colour (of three available) and wood or metallic interior detailing are no-cost options, or you can opt for a set of 20-inch alloy wheels (not fitted here) for an extra $1539 (all options shown before on-road costs are tallied).

EV-specific standard features include adaptive suspension (optional on petrol models) and 22kW AC charging capability, plus three years’ complimentary access to the ChargeFox network for charging away from home.

Note too, as a 2023 model the car shown here features the vertical chrome grille bars. Newer stock in the country will switch to the tessellated grille design as seen on the iX and iX2 electric SUVs (click here for an image of this pattern on the iX1).

Key details 2023 BMW iX1 xDrive 30
Price $84,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Sanremo Green
Options Enhancement Package – $3616
– Harman Kardon audio
– Panoramic sunroof
– Active front seats with massage
Price as tested $88,516 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $96,335 (Melbourne)
Rivals Volvo XC40 Recharge | Mercedes-Benz EQA350 | Lexus UX300e

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How much space does the BMW iX1 have inside?

To go with the bigger, broader external dimensions is a new interior with genuinely family-sized space.

The tall roof line means that both front and rear seats offer plenty of head room. Up front, the low horizontal dash and low console design make for a spacious feel. The tall glasshouse and big windows help there too.

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Storage spaces are plentiful. There’s storage under the centre armrest, and its floating design means you can stash handbags, tissue boxes, or lunchboxes between the seats easily. Cupholders sit down low, but not out of reach, and the wireless phone charger pad sits upright at the forward end of the console, with a little lock-in bar (like a show ride) to keep your phone in place. Bottle holders and map pockets in the doors, and a decent glovebox, complete the picture.

The driving position moves away from BMW’s old low bum, feet-forward stance and adopts a more natural and upright seating position. This makes it easier to get in and out of, plus helps boost outward visibility.

The rear seat has an adjustable backrest but no fore-aft slide. It’s comfy and quite flat – which helps for putting three across the back. There’s a pull-down armrest with cupholders in the middle section, and bottle holders with maps pockets in each door.

The rear seats get air vents in the back of the centre console but not their own temperature controls. There’s also a pair of USB-C charge points in the rear to go with the two up front.

If you want to free up more space, the rear seats fold in a 40:20:40 split, allowing you to drop the centre section and maintain outboard seats for two occupants, or pull down a wider outboard section on either side. The boot floor sits level with the folded seats, and there’s storage underneath, but it’s a hinged floor so you can’t get it out and set it lower – you can only store items under it.

Boot space measures 490 litres with the seats up (50L less than a petrol X1) and expands to 1495L with the seats folded (105L down on an X1). There’s no under-bonnet storage in the iX1, but if you carry charge cables with you, these can be managed under the boot floor.

2023 BMW iX1 xDrive 30
Seats Five
Boot volume 490L seats up
1495L seats folded
Length 4500mm
Width 1845mm
Height 1642mm
Wheelbase 2692mm

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Does the BMW iX1 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

BMW’s infotainment trickle-down has been fast. If you think the flagship products, like the i7, are impressive, then the X1 and iX1 aren’t far behind. The bright, high-definition 10.7-inch main display and 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with beautiful co-ordinated themes combine with lag-free loading for a thoroughly high-tech experience.

The infotainment provides access to wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto functionality (or you can plug in if you prefer), plus embedded navigation, digital radio, and over-the-air software updates. Access to the My BMW app also allows a paired smartphone to remotely check vehicle status, lock and unlock the vehicle, send navigation destination to the vehicle, check charging status, precondition the cabin, and more.

If you stick with the factory navigation, rather than using smartphone apps, the vehicle is able to precondition the high-voltage battery for ultra-rapid charging when an appropriate charger is set as the destination, meaning it should be possible to pull up, connect up, and accept the car’s 130kW peak rate with little ramp-up.

Fans of BMW’s iDrive rotary controller may be disappointed to see the interface isn’t present in the iX1. All features and functions can be accessed either through the touchscreen or voice commands. For me, I always preferred the simple, eyes-on-the-road simplicity that the iDrive controller provided, but BMW has packed in so many infotainment controls now that it’s a much less clear-cut system to use overall.

Climate controls no longer have physical switches and dials either, instead there’s a persistent temp control at the base of the screen, which can be expanded into a climate menu. BMW’s interface here is a little frustrating. At first glance, it may not be clear how to move ventilation from feet to face, for instance, and some of the buttons are undersized for ease of use in a moving car.

One of the Enhancement Package upgrades see the standard six-speaker sound system swapped for a Harman Kardon 12-speaker system with subwoofer. Without the standard system to compare it to, it’s hard to say how much better it is, but in testing we found it would cut out when asked to overlay deep bass and high-pitch tones at the same time with the volume cranked up – at more typical volumes, though, it works just fine.

A driver’s head-up display gives line-of-sight info without taking eyes off the road, while an augmented reality navigation system (on the infotainment screen) can help point the way on unfamiliar roads.

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Is the BMW iX1 a safe car?

Because of the added weight and potential structural impact of making the X1 into a battery-electric vehicle, the iX1 was subjected to additional frontal offset, side impact, and oblique pole tests in order to verify the integrity of the battery and safety of the high-voltage electrical systems in the event of an impact.

The outcome of those tests sees the iX1 added to the X1’s safety 2022 score assessment. The X1 and iX1 range carries an 86 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupants, 76 per cent for vulnerable road user (pedestrian) protection, and 94 per cent for safety assist systems.

The iX1 comes with seven airbags: dual front, seat-mounted side, and full-length curtain airbags are fitted, along with a centre airbag between front seat occupants to reduce the risk of head-clash in a side impact.

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What safety technology does the BMW iX1 have?

Standard driver assist features on the iX1 xDrive 30 include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure and lane-change warning, lane-keeping assist and lane-centring assist, autonomous emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert with brake intervention as part of the standard equipment list.

A high-resolution and very detailed 360-degree camera system is fitted, along with BMW’s semi-automated park-in and park-out tech, adaptive LED headlights with auto high beam, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, and tyre pressure monitoring.

BMW offers a good calibration of its lane assist systems, never fighting the driver, and acting as a good helping hand without overstepping the mark. Speed sign recognition tech had a good strike rate, and if you use the speed-limit assist feature it’s just a button-press to confirm the detected speed matches the one you want to set. Simple and easy to manage.

How much does the BMW iX1 cost to maintain?

BMW provides a five-year, unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty for private buyers. The high-voltage EV battery has an eight-year, 160,000km warranty policy.

BMW’s Service Inclusive prepaid packages are available for the iX1 as either four-year or six-year packs priced at $1263 and $1800 respectively. BMW refers to servicing as ‘condition based’ with the car notifying owners when it needs attention, rather than any set interval.

Our standardised insurance quote for an iX1 xDrive 30 xLine came to $3924 per year based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

The same details for a Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Motor came to $2880, while the slightly more expensive Mercedes-Benz EQA350 returned a $3584 quote.

At a glance 2023 BMW iX1 30 xDrive
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Battery warranty Eight years, 160,000km
Service intervals Condition-based servicing
Servicing costs $1263 (4 years)
$1800 (6 years)

Is the BMW iX1 energy-efficient?

As a fairly block-shaped SUV, you might not expect stellar energy efficiency from the iX1, but BMW says it’ll pull a reasonable 16.2 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres.

Interestingly when driven at the car’s local media launch, a mostly higher-speed run with less stop-start traffic got a real-world 18.5kWh/100km, but in our week with the car this time driving was mostly stop-start city crawling to and from work. While the opportunity to harvest energy (and drive consumption down) increases, the effort of pushing over two tonnes of small SUV around had a bigger impact.

Energy consumption for a week of commuting settled at 19.5kWh/100km – a slightly better result than we’ve seen from rivals like the Mercedes-Benz EQA and Volvo XC40.

Energy Efficiency Energy Stats
Energy cons. (claimed) 18.3kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 19.5kWh/100km
Battery size 64.7kWh
Driving range claim (WLTP) 460km
Charge time (11kW) 6h 30min
Charge time (50kW) 1h 29min (estimated)
Charge time (130kW max rate) 29min (claimed 10–80%)

What is the BMW iX1 like to drive?

For now, the iX1 holds the title of BMW’s smallest electric SUV, but it’ll soon be joined by the iX2 – on the same footprint, but a little sleeker in profile. In saying that, the iX1 driving experience isn’t like a small car at all. This behaves a lot like a medium SUV on the road, in part because of the X1 range’s increased dimensions, but also due to the extra weight that comes with the electric shift.

The added serenity of the dual-motor electric drivetrain makes for peaceful and even relaxing driving on the daily commute. You might hear some of the outside world seep in, but you won’t hear much from the car itself except for the Iconic Sounds faux acceleration noise composed by Hans Zimmer.

‘Composed’ feels like a bit of a stretch, it’s one long droning synth note, and it takes the fresh feel of the iX1 and makes it sound like you’re riding around in a vacuum cleaner. You can thankfully turn the needless noise off.

Otherwise, the experience is pleasant. While the combined 230kW and 494kW claim seems robust, the ramp-up of acceleration is gentle enough to make it easy to trundle around the suburbs. If you treat the accelerator more abruptly while rolling, the acceleration on tap can be surprisingly swift, but from a standstill the whole package feels more relaxed, and I actually don’t mind that.

If you do get a little excited on a tight and winding road, you’ll find the iX1 feels led by its front wheels, tramping and torque-steering out of bends. This isn’t the sporty one in the family, it just carries big outputs. For a sharper drive, try the X1 M35i instead.

BMW has given the iX1 very light steering, which makes it easy to manage low-speed work like parking or three-point turns. As speed picks up, it’s settled and doesn’t wander, but drivers who know BMW for its engaging steering and vehicle handling may find the iX1 a bit more neutral.

Via the touchscreen it’s possible to set the level of energy recuperation via regenerative braking, but there’s no easy way to do so on the move. I like the adaptive function, which can slow the vehicle more quickly when there’s surrounding traffic, but coasts freely if you lift off the accelerator with nothing up ahead.

There’s also a one-pedal drive mode, by using ‘B’ mode on the gear selector, so you can flick between strong regen and whatever default setting you’ve chosen, but not the steps in between.

The suspension has a firm feel to the way it rides out bumps and dips, but it does so without crashing or bashing over uneven surfaces. The iX1 is a chunky unit compared to a regular AWD X1 and carrying an extra 415kg. There are adaptive dampers fitted as standard to help keep things smooth, but the underlying ride is firm, and can be made firmer, with no true ‘soft’ setting.

Overall refinement is good but perhaps not great. At freeway speeds, some road surfaces kick up enough tyre noise for occupants to need to speak up to chat to each other. On long drives, this can get tiresome.

Key details 2023 BMW iX1 xDrive 30
Engine Dual electric motors
Power 140kW front
140kW rear
230kW combined
Torque 247Nm front
247Nm rear
494Nm combined
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed
Power-to-weight ratio 114.4kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2010kg
Spare tyre type Tyre repair kit
Tow rating 1200kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.9m

Should I buy a BMW iX1?

I think the BMW iX1 is a very likeable EV. It’s nice and roomy inside, and offers a good balance of near-mid-size spaciousness and small SUV external dimensions, making it practical but easy to manage.

The interior looks and feels high quality, and some of the bits BMW has borrowed from more expensive models really give the iX1 a boost, both in terms of appearance, but also tech and functionality.

All of this would be great in isolation, but the iX1 faces stiff competition from traditional rivals like the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes-Benz EQA and EQB, while also needing to answer to the almost unbeatable EV value of the Tesla Model Y.

The iX1 xDrive 30 has its place, though, and would be well worth a look if you’re in the market for a plush, but not too big, electric family SUV.

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How do I buy a BMW iX1 – next steps?

If you’re interested in the iX1, you’ll need to decide if you need or want the extra grunt of the xDrive 30, or if the front-wheel-drive eDrive 20 model will suffice, keeping an extra $6000 in your pocket (or off your lease) in the process. Either way, both variants of the iX1 small SUV are priced below the $89,332 Luxury Car Tax threshold for “fuel-efficient” vehicles – as well as the cut-off for a Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemption where applicable.

BMW has limited stock in dealers, with MY24 vehicles on the way. If you can’t find the car you want, it may be a case of ordering and holding tight for stock to arrive. You can also browse all BMWs for sale through Drive’s dealer partners at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.

Locate the BMW dealer nearest you at this link, or keep up to date with the latest iX1 news and updates via our news desk.

Ratings Breakdown

2023 BMW iX1 xDrive30 xLine Wagon

7.8/ 10

Performance

Safety Technology

Ride Quality

Infotainment & Connectivity

Handling & Dynamics

Energy Efficiency

Driver Technology

Value for Money

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Fit for Purpose

Kez Casey migrated from behind spare parts counters to writing about cars over ten years ago. Raised by a family of automotive workers, Kez grew up in workshops and panel shops before making the switch to reviews and road tests for The Motor Report, Drive and CarAdvice.

Read more about Kez CaseyLinkIcon

This post was originally published on this site

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