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    BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

    4,771 Views
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Front Three Quarter
    BMW iX1 Right Side View

    Why would I buy it?

    • Strong performance
    • Real-world range
    • Overall package

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Misses few feel-good features
    • No iDrive controller

    What is it?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    It’s the electric X1. Not a born EV like the bigger BMW iX, but the electric conversion of the third-gen X1 we drove a few months ago. This one has got the Volvo Recharge twins in its sight and is the only German entry-level SUV available in an all-electric avatar, at least here in India, as there’s no electric equivalent of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3 yet. While the standard X1 is a no-brainer, can this all-electric BMW iX1 be the only car in your garage? Let’s find out.

    Right Side View

    Taking cues from the standard X1, the iX1 is quite understated for an EV. For a casual bystander, there’s no standout giveaway to hint at the iX1’s electric nature compared to its ICE-powered brethren. It even has the regular ‘kidney-grille’ up front, done up in the usual chrome, but instead of louvres for air vents, it is closed up, as EVs don’t need cooling from a radiator grille.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    At the back, the 3D taillamp jutting out of the body work with added cuts and creases and protruding bumper design makes this electric X1 quite a handsome-looking bloke. You can have it in three colours for now – white, black, and what we have here – grey. It’s not exactly a fan-favourite Nardo Grey but its understated and stately.

    Is the cabin of the BMW iX1 any good?

    Dashboard

    As with the exterior, the cabin of the new iX1 is familiar too. First up, it carries the new BMW design language for the cabin with a curved display stacked on top of the dashboard. The centre console is now hollow and floating. But the biggest complaint I personally have here – which I also did with the standard X1 – is that BMW has decided to eliminate their iconic iDrive controller. Even the centre console is designed for LHD cars but the layout has remained unchanged for our RHD market.

    Front Row Seats

    That said, this new steering wheel design is fantastic. It is meaty to hold, is wrapped with leather and has metallic inserts for the bottom spoke. I am not a huge fan of the buttons layout BMW has decided to go with this steering wheel, but that can be overlooked given how gorgeous this steering wheel looks. Coming back to the curved display, it houses two screens stacked on either side with the infotainment screen measuring around 10.25-inch running BMW’s latest OS8. Now this OS is not very user-friendly and has gotten unnecessarily complicated. It has many unnecessary tiles inside the main menu. So even finding common controls can become a task. But this new OS also has ‘modes’ which transform the persona of the entire cabin.

    Second Row Seats

    As for the second row, it’s right after you step in that the electric nature of the iX1 becomes apparent. Since this is not a born EV but an ICE platform converted to accommodate the EV architecture, the batteries are placed underneath the floor. And that means the floor height is raised resulting in a slightly odd seating angle. The rear passenger’s knees are too high for comfort, but a good recline angle for the backrest does help with the sitting posture.

    Infotainment System

    Although the iX1’s feature list is a long one, it does miss out on a few feel-good features expected at this price point. This includes HUD, ventilated seats, or even ADAS. There’s basic collision warning and lane keep assist with automatic parking, but no autonomous braking or adaptive cruise control here. A proper ADAS suite should have been part of the equipment list, but BMW has decided to skip it. And the boot space, at almost 500 litres is more than adequate as well. But there’s this typical problem of the spare wheel taking up most of the usable space. And no frunk is a bit of a bummer in a modern EV, right?

    Is the BMW iX1 good to drive?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Behind the wheel, the iX1 feels like how a proper BMW should. It is not very different from the standard X1, except the one we drove was a diesel and made around 150 horsepower, whereas, the iX1 here makes double – almost 308bhp and close to 500Nm. So the acceleration is – as expected from an EV – neck-snappingly quick. This iX1 feels much faster off the line than its bigger sibling, the iX. Maybe that’s down to the weight, but the way the EV power management is done in the iX1 makes it a very dependable and fun-to-drive SUV.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Adding to the blistering acceleration is the ‘boost’ paddle shifter on the steering. It unleashes all of its power output (or even more) for a boost of 10 seconds. The acceleration that follows is surely very addictive. On the flip side, the way to control the brake energy regeneration in the iX1 is complicated. There’s the usual low-medium-high, but apart from that, the adaptive regen allows the car to coast more rather than braking every time you let go of the accelerator. There’s also a one-pedal mode for which the gear selector needs to be slotted into B.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Even the steering response is quick and the iX1 feels nimble on its feet. The weight distribution has always been BMW’s forte and they have done it again here in the iX1. Moreover, the AWD system helps as well, so when you do chuck it into a corner, the iX1 manages to hold the line in a much better and more controlled manner than expected. The steering wheel itself is weighted a bit on the lighter side, but still feels right to maneuver, be it in the city or out on the highway. As for the ride, it is firm but far from jarring. Some irregularities do filter inside the cabin at times, but the slow-speed ride isn’t uncomfortable and only gets better once the speed increases.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    With a 66.5kWh battery pack, the iX1 has a claimed range between 400-440kms. When subjected to CarWale’s real-world range test, the iX1 covered 412kms between 100 per cent to zero. It also supports 130kW fast charging so a 10-80 per cent charge is possible in under 30 minutes, provided you find a charger that fast.

    Should you buy the BMW iX1?

    Front View

    Although it has the same disadvantages as the standard X1 – like the complicated touchscreen, some missing features, not-so-great cabin ergonomics, and a slightly weird seating angle for the rear passengers, the iX1 has many likeable aspects too. It is fantastic to drive, there's a good amount of driver's involvement despite it being an EV, it is nimble and is the right size to drive in the city without feeling ungainly, the range it offers, and of course it does look handsome as well.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    And as for it being your first premium EV, well I don't see a reason why you shouldn't consider the iX1. There are no EVs from luxury carmakers at this price point yet, except the Volvo Recharge Twins. So where the X1 is the gateway into the big leagues, the iX1 can be your starting point in the world of luxury EVs.

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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