BMW iX1 review: interior, dashboard & infotainment
Excellent interior quality and technology help justify the iX1’s price tag, but it’s a shame BMW’s faithful iDrive controller is absent
If there’s one area where BMW distinguishes its electric cars from their rivals, it’s the interior – and the iX1 is no different. It might technically be BMW’s entry-level EV now, but there’s no shortage of premium-feeling materials and exceptional technology here that combined, help to justify the iX1’s price tag.
BMW iX1 dashboard
Material quality is excellent in the iX1, as is the build quality, but we’d expect nothing less from a BMW. The dashboard is topped with a curved panel incorporating a pair of displays. Like so many other modern EVs, the iX1 has ditched physical dials and buttons for the climate controls, though the temperature controls are displayed constantly on the touchscreen so changing the cabin temperature isn’t too fiddly. On the centre console that extends from the arm rest you’ll find the gear selector, a smattering of buttons and a large volume control – but there is no iDrive clickwheel in the iX1.
Equipment, options & accessories
The iX1 is offered with one powertrain but two trim levels: xLine and M Sport, and prices start from just over £53,000 at the time of writing. Standard kit is generous though, as every model comes with the dual-screen infotainment setup, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, LED headlights and multi-zone air conditioning. Meanwhile safety kit on-board includes front-collision warning, cruise control and Parking Assistant.
M Sport trim adds £2,750 to the iX1’s price tag, as well as bigger 19-inch wheels as standard, gloss black trim, body colour wheelarches and a more aggressive front bumper to give the iX1 a slightly sportier look, compared to the more rugged xLine model. It also gets you some extra goodies like Adaptive M suspension that lowers the ride height by 15mm, Alcantara upholstery, adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry, a leather M Sport steering wheel and wireless smartphone charging.
Being a BMW, there’s a plethora of options available on the iX1 including a Frozen Pure Grey paint from BMW Individual, different interior trim, leather upholstery and goodies like a panoramic sunroof, towbar and a Harman Kardon sound system – which was thought was excellent fitted to our test car.
There are plenty of option packs, too, such as the Comfort Pack that adds a heated steering wheel and adjustable lumbar support for the driver. There’s also the Technology Pack (standard on M Sport models) and Technology Plus pack if you want adaptive LED headlights, a head up display and heated front seats. Finally, there’s the M Sport Pro pack for M Sport models which adds 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, sun protection glass, the Harman Kardon sound system and extended gloss black exterior trim.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Every model gets a 10.25-inch instrument panel and a 10.7-inch central touchscreen for all your media, navigation and climate control. You also get the new iDrive 8 operating system we first saw in the iX flagship SUV, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity as standard.
There is no denying the system gives the baby BMW a hi-tech feel. The curved displays are packed with features and the graphics look sharp, plus the responsiveness and load times are first rate. But like some of BMW’s other recent models, the iX1 has done away with the faithful clickwheel controller on the centre console, which is such a shame because it made the infotainment so easy to use while on the move. Instead, everything – including the climate controls – is operated via the touchscreen. The result is a pang of disappointment every time you reach for the iDrive dial that isn’t there.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe BMW iX1 is powerful, refined and practical. It’s expensive, but it’s also more fun and engaging to drive than its closest rivals
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe iX1 fails to crack the 300-mile barrier so many of its rivals manage with relative ease, but rapid charging speeds are competitive at least
- 3Running costs & insuranceRock-bottom company-car tax and comprehensive servicing packs count in the electric X1’s favour here
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe iX1 is fun to drive, engaging and powerful, though the ride is a little firm for our tastes
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainment - currently readingExcellent interior quality and technology help justify the iX1’s price tag, but it’s a shame BMW’s faithful iDrive controller is absent
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe fully electric iX1 is just almost as spacious as a petrol or diesel-powered X1, and boasts more boot space than most of its key rivals
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThere’s no Euro NCAP crash-safety score just yet, but BMW’s history with electric cars bodes well for reliability