BMW iX1 review: performance, motor & drive
The iX1 is fun to drive, engaging and powerful, though the ride is a little firm for our tastes
|0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels||Power|
The iX1 might be a family SUV, but floor the accelerator and it feels hot-hatch quick. There’s even a boost function that gives you maximum power output for 10 seconds, at which point your passengers might be searching for something to hold onto. The performance doesn’t tail off as much as you might expect at higher speeds, either, and it's far more fun to drive than its Audi, Mercedes and Volvo rivals.
BMW iX1 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The iX1 weighs over two tonnes, but every model features two electric motors providing four-wheel drive, plus 313bhp and 494Nm of torque; enough for 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. It’s not quite as speedy as the dual-motor version of the electric Volvo XC40 or C40 coupe-SUV, but it’s by far the fastest-accelerating X1, regardless of which fuel you pick, and more than quick enough for a family car.
Behind the left hand side of the steering wheel is a paddle which engages the ‘boost’ mode and if you’d like, acceleration can be accompanied by a sci-fi-esque soundtrack provided by legendary film composer Hans Zimmer, which is a nice touch. This definitely adds to the engagement, but you can turn it off if you like.
The iX1 is a fun, engaging car to drive, regardless of its heft or family-car credentials. However, it’s not a flawless driving experience. Our test car came in xLine trim, not the M Sport spec with its more focused suspension set-up, but we still found the ride to be particularly firm. As a result, the car felt a little jittery on some surfaces at higher speeds, while going over speed bumps and larger potholes was quite noticeable. Considering how flat the iX1 remains on twister roads and cornering, it wouldn’t hurt if BMW softened the suspension a bit.
During more relaxed driving, you can’t hear any whine from the electric motors, but we did encounter a little more wind and road noise than we might have liked. It wasn’t too bad and it wasn’t as much as you’d hear in the cabin of a Mercedes EQA, so overall, the iX1 is very refined indeed. The steering doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback, but it’s predictable, not too quick, and has a good amount of weight to it.
The calibration of the brake pedal could do with some work though. The first part of the pedal travel doesn’t slow the car all that much, but press it a little firmer, and the brakes bite aggressively. Thankfully, drivers get a choice of five levels of brake regeneration, the majority of which can be selected through the touchscreen which is more fiddly than in rivals like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that feature steering wheel-mounted paddles. At least the strongest brake energy regeneration mode is accessed simply via the ‘B’ mode on the gear selector and allows for full one-pedal driving.
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 & drive - currently readingThe iX1 is fun to drive, engaging and powerful, though the ride is a little firm for our tastes
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainmentExcellent 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