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In-depth reviews

BMW iX1: performance, motor & drive

The iX1 is fun to drive, engaging and powerful, though the ride is a little firm for our tastes

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.5 out of 5

Model

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

eDrive20

8.6s

109mph

Front

201bhp

xDrive30

5.7s

112mph

Four

313bhp

The iX1 might be a family SUV, but floor the accelerator and top models feel 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. Slower, single-motor models are expected in due course.

BMW iX1 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

While the BMW iX1 was only offered with one powertrain at launch, in September 2023 an entry-level single motor model was introduced. Badged the iX1 eDrive20, this gets a 201bhp front-mounted electric motor and reaches 62 mph in 8.6 seconds. We’ve not yet driven this variant, but we suspect that’ll feel more than fast enough for most owners.

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Despite weighing well over two tonnes, the dual-motor iX1 xDrive30 will sprint from 0-62mph in a pretty respectable 5.7 seconds. This feels much quicker than you might expect – mainly thanks to the four-wheel-drive grip and instant torque from the electric motor – and in our eyes is almost too fast for a family car. Dual-motor versions of the Volvo XC40 Recharge are even more ballistic.

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As it stands, all models get a paddle behind the left hand side of the steering wheel that 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. This definitely adds to the engagement, but you can turn it off if you like.

Handling

The iX1 is a fun, engaging car to drive, regardless of its heft and family-car credentials. However, it’s not a flawless driving experience; our dual-motor test car came in xLine trim (not the M Sport spec with its stiffer suspension set-up) but we still found the ride to be particularly firm. The car felt a little jittery on some surfaces at higher speeds, while going over potholes and speed bumps resulted in a large thud echoing through the interior. Considering how flat and composed the iX1 remains when cornering on twister roads, it wouldn’t hurt if BMW softened the suspension a bit. 

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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 – not quite as much as you’d get in a Mercedes EQA, though. The BMW’s steering doesn’t offer much in the way of feedback, but it’s predictable and has a good amount of weight to it, making the car easy to push to its limits.

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 rather aggressively. Thankfully, drivers get a choice of five levels of brake regeneration – the strongest of which is accessed simply via the ‘B’ mode on the gear selector. This allows for full one-pedal driving and is our preferred setup when sitting in stop-start traffic or when driving around town.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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