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BMW iX1 eDrive20 Review: Smaller is Better

Our highly positive experience with the ICE X1 levels up our excitement for the iX1
James Wong
James Wong
02 May 2024
There is a point where power would taper off quickly, but for the sort of speeds we’d do in Singapore it’s enough.
What we like:
Decent dynamics
Above average interior space
Sits in Cat A
What we dislike:
The petrol X1 is just as compelling, if not more so

I’m a big fan of the small BMWs built on the UKL2 architecture. Despite being front wheel drive (how far along are we in that debate now?), they oddly feel more satisfying to drive than some of BMW’s larger rear-wheel drive models. I’m guessing that as cars get more complicated, bigger and heavier, the smaller models feel more and more like the BMWs of yesteryear.

The X1 sDrive16i which we test drove last year surprised us with its peppy Cat A drivetrain as well as its effervescent character on the road. With the iX1 being built on the same platform, we held high hopes.

How does the iX1 look outside?

Actually, pretty similar to the X1. But that’s good. It’s a sharper design than the last generation X1, and is more pleasing to the eye than some of BMW’s more controversial models. What sets the iX1 apart from the ICE X1 is the closed-up kidney grilles and some blue highlights around the BMW roundels. That’s pretty much it.

How is the iX1 on the inside?

Also rather identical to the X1. It’s built to a high quality with decent materials, and has the fancy Curved Display as well as a wireless phone charger. Cabin space is smaller than the Audi Q4 e-tron we drove, but it’s still surprisingly spacious. There’s no compromise in space versus the ICE X1.

How is the iX1 to drive?

The good news is that the iX1 feels eager on the road, despite only having 147 hp and 250 Nm. The output figures don’t sound like much, but the iX1 is powerful enough for zippy overtakes. There is a point where power would taper off quickly, but for the sort of speeds we’d do in Singapore it’s enough.

The iX1 sits in Cat A COE as well, just like the X1. In fact, they have the same the same 0-100 km/h timing of 10.5 seconds. However, its instantaneous torque does make it feel a tad more effortless.

Among its competitors, despite having light steering the iX1 is still one of the most engaging cars to drive. It feels lithe and rigid, feeling like a smaller car than it really is.

Compared to the X1, the similarities do end somewhere and that’s in the damping department. The iX1 is heavier and thus puts a burden on its suspension. Consequently, the ride is that bit more unsettled versus the ICE version, but it’s not something you’d notice unless you drive both cars back to back.

What is the range of the iX1?

Range is up to 474 km on the WLTP cycle from its 64.8 kWh battery, which is useful, and the car can be recharged by AC (up to 22 kW) or DC (130 kW).

Would you pick the iX1 or the X1?

The iX1 ultimately is a great car but whether it surpasses the brilliant X1 is not so clear cut. I think the petrol car does have its merits and you’d not be remiss to pick it over the iX1, and vice versa.

Photos by James Wong


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