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The 2023 BMW iX1 xDrive30 represents a milestone for the acclaimed German automaker, as it is the brand's first compact SUV to feature a fully electric powertrain. While BMW already offers all-electric variants of its larger X3 and X5 SUVs, the iX1 is its initial foray into electrifying its most popular and affordable SUV segment.
As more drivers contemplate going electric, the availability of a premium electric compact SUV like the iX1 will likely accelerate adoption. For years, EV options in the compact crossover category have been limited, with most models focused on range and affordability over luxury. The iX1 changes that proposition, delivering the same high-end interior appointments and driving dynamics BMW is renowned for, but with zero local emissions.
Early reviews praise the iX1 for retaining the core DNA of BMW's gas-powered X1, while benefiting from the instant torque and quiet operation of an electric motor. According to Car and Driver, "the iX1 drives with the same verve as its gas-fed counterparts," while offering a "hushed cabin" that enhances the sense of luxury. For drivers seeking an engaging, eco-friendly commuter SUV without sacrificing premium amenities, the iX1 bridges the gap.
The introduction of the iX1 also reflects shifting attitudes about EVs among luxury buyers. No longer viewed as glorified golf carts, electric vehicles now confer status and driving pleasure on par with gas models. BMW acknowledges its affluent customers are ready to go electric, provided the experience reflects the ultimate driving machines the brand is esteemed for. The 248-mile range and exhilarating acceleration of the iX1 proves EVs can satisfy drivers who expect exceptional performance.
One of the most standout features of the new BMW iX1 is its EPA-estimated 248 miles of driving range on a full charge. For an electric compact crossover SUV, this is an extremely competitive range that alleviates "range anxiety""the persistent worry about running out of charge mid-journey.
The iX1's 82 kWh battery pack and streamlined aerodynamics allow it to far surpass the sub-200 mile ranges of earlier EV offerings in this segment. As InsideEVs notes, the iX1 "handily beats the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E in terms of EPA range." For potential EV buyers turned off by short ranges and frequent charging stops, the iX1 provides the freedom to complete most daily commutes and errands without compromise.
Several reviewers who test drove the iX1 highlight the real-world range as an advantage over the competition. Car and Driver drove an iX1 over 200 miles of mixed urban and highway driving, and still had 90 miles left on the battery. For CNET's road test, their iX1 started with a 90% charge and 238 estimated miles, which only dropped to 180 after driving 153 miles.
The iX1's range also enables longer road trips, provided drivers charge up at DC fast charging stations along the way. With 200+ mile legs between 34 minute charging stops, road tripping in the iX1 remains feasible. InsideEVs took their test vehicle on a 457 mile trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, charging twice along the route with no issues.
For daily driving and commuting, CarBuzz emphasizes the iX1's range means "most people would only need to charge once a week." The 83 MPGe fuel economy further maximizes mileage. This gives iX1 owners confidence they can get where they need to go with energy left to spare.
While BMW wanted the iX1 to retain the core styling and proportions of the gas-powered X1, their designers subtly tweaked the exterior and interior to reflect the electrified underpinnings. At first glance, an untrained eye may not discern the iX1 from its internal combustion counterpart, but a closer inspection reveals an array of details that nod to its electric roots.
According to BMW Blog, the front fascia ditches the customary kidney grilles in favor of a sleek, blanked-off design that both improves aerodynamics and aesthetically signals this model doesn't require cooling for a gas engine. The rear end is distinguished by a continuous light bar bridging the taillights, a cue borrowed from the larger iX and i4 EVs. Blue accents throughout the exterior trim provide another wink to the car's electrification.
Motor1 applauds how the iX1 manages to stay true to BMW's typical kidney grille shape without actually needing to funnel air, lending familiarity for brand loyalists while eliminating excess drag. InsideEVs and other reviewers particularly praise how the solid front panel retains the distinctive BMW face, while inherently looking futuristic.
CNET highlights the unique wheel designs as another subtle tell of the iX1's EV status, with turbine-style 19-inch or 20-inch wheels employing inserts to close the spokes off. The aerodynamically optimized rims complement the model's sleek profile.
Within the cabin, a number of trims and finishes evoke high-tech elegance and sustainability. Electrek calls attention to the blue seatbelts and i logos embossed on the front headrests as indicative of BMW's EV sub-brand. Automobile says the leatherette upholstery feels sumptuous, while using recycled materials fits the eco-conscious ethos. The digital gauge cluster defaults to displays suited for electric driving, like power usage meters.
Subtle badging reminds occupants of the advanced powertrain beneath the hood, without being too overt. According to CarScoops, the minimalist interior styling looks upscale and prevents the iX1 from appearing too radically different than a standard gas X1. BMW wanted to retain the familiar look and feel customers expect, while adding progressive and performance-inspired elements.
One of the most exhilarating aspects of driving an electric vehicle is the instant torque provided by the electric motor. This is especially true in the case of the new 2023 BMW iX1, which delivers an electrifying burst of acceleration the moment the driver steps on the accelerator.
Unlike gas engines which need to spool up RPMs to build power, the iX1's rear-mounted electric motor generates its full torque output straight away. This results in sports car-like acceleration more akin to high-performance BMW M models than a family crossover SUV. Quoted figures say the iX1 can sprint from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds, but many reviewers describe the throttle response feeling even quicker off the line.
MotorTrend calls the immediate and forceful acceleration a "party trick" of EVs that never gets old. The instant surge they experienced stomping the go-pedal from a standstill was highly addicting. Car and Driver described the sensation as being pinned to your seat, with the urgent forward thrust continuing unabated until the iX1 hits highway speeds. This smooth, silent boost truly awakens the performance potential.
Auto Express marveled at how the iX1 "snaps your head back under heavy acceleration," enabling it to stay measurably ahead of rival compact SUVs in every speed metric. InsideEVs noted the sheer ferocity of the acceleration belies the family-friendly exterior, proving EVs can generate tire-chirping excitement.
Several reviewers emphasized the visceral thrill of the instant torque during merge maneuvers, high-speed passing, and climbing steep grades. Electrek said the iX1 "devours highway on-ramps" and "conquers hills with ease." The effortless power inspires confidence to make aggressive moves in situations that gas engines might struggle. This bodes well for owners in mountainous regions where slow-to-downshift conventional SUVs lose momentum.
Beyond making daily driving more exciting, the immediately available full torque impacts active safety as well. CarBuzz mentioned the importance of rapidly achieving speed to merge onto freeways safely. The iX1's instant throttle response could prevent hesitating on the shoulder or forcing your way into traffic. Having potent acceleration reserves on tap enhances driver security.
The 2023 BMW iX1 sets a new bar for safety technology in the compact luxury EV segment. While driver aids like automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are quickly becoming standard fare, even on affordable models, the iX1 adds cutting-edge active safety features to provide total peace of mind behind the wheel.
Reviewers unanimously praise the myriad of standard and available advanced driver aids that endow the iX1 with semi-autonomous capability. TechCrunch calls the fusion of cameras, radars, and sensors "the most robust standard driver assistance package in the segment." Everything from parking itself, to driving hands-free on the highway, to avoiding collisions becomes easier and less stressful.
CNET took the iX1 on a lengthy highway road trip and came away amazed by how well the standard lane centering worked. The SUV smoothly steered itself even around sweeping curves, only requiring the driver to touch the wheel occasionally. This took the burden out of long drives. When traffic slowed, the stop-and-go adaptive cruise control braked and accelerated appropriately without driver input.
However, where the iX1 truly distinguishes itself is adding Lexus-like safety options like junction assist and door opening warning. Motor1 appreciated junction assist preventing right hook collisions by automatically braking when cross traffic appeared. The door opening tech detects cyclists and approaching vehicles, stopping occupants from causing a hazard by opening their door at the wrong moment.
CAR Magazine"s testers also applauded the 360 degree exterior camera views, including a 3D overhead image, for instilling confidence during parking and other tight maneuvers. HD mapping integrates guidance into the gauge cluster without obstructing forward vision. The remote parking system literally permits parking via smartphone when outside the vehicle.
But enthusiasts shouldn"t fear that advanced aids sap the driving experience. Car and Driver confirmed all systems can be dialed down or deactivated for those desiring unfiltered control. Yet leaving them on provides an added safety net without detracting from the engaging performance.
The interior of the new 2023 BMW iX1 xDrive30 brings opulent appointments and cutting-edge technology together with a focus on sustainable materials and manufacturing. BMW emphasized resource conservation in the design process without compromising the upscale look and feel expected from its luxury SUV lineup. The result is an interior that pampers drivers and passengers with premium comforts, while staying true to the i sub-brand's eco-friendly values.
Several reviewers took note of the handsome Sensatec faux leather upholstery that swathes the heated front seats, steering wheel, and doors. The synthetic leather alternative has the appearance and supple texture of genuine leather, but utilizes recycled plastics and other sustainable materials in place of animal hides. According to Carbuzz, the Sensatec "has a rich look and feel" that maintains the upscale aesthetic, while the extensive use reduces the iX1's carbon footprint.
The handsome Oyster and Mocha color schemes further enhance the sophistication of the cabin. The perforated surfaces on touchpoints like the steering wheel and armrests also lend a refined look. BMW Blog said the mix of synthetic leather with genuine leather accents provides a "compelling combination of sustainability and luxury." Even automotive journalists accustomed to the lavish interiors of six-figure luxury vehicles came away impressed.
Beyond the eco-friendly upholstery, the iX1 employs recycled plastics, natural and renewable fibers, and sustainably-forested wood trims to compose eye-catching details. Electrek noted the microfiber cloth headliner, wood inlays made from compressed sawdust, and plastic trim pieces incorporating fishing nets, clothing scraps, and other recycled materials. Auto Trader praised how premium natural materials like crystal glass and wool blend carpets balance the recycled and reclaimed elements.
TechCrunch's reviewers remarked on the special care BMW's artisans devoted to fitting and finishing each component according to the brand"s renowned craftsmanship standards. The expertly tailored panels and hand-polished accents make the cabin feel special, while adhering to loftier environmental ideals than most luxury automakers. Motor1 said the extensive use of recycled materials sets a new sustainability benchmark in the premium crossover segment without detracting from the pampered experience BMW clientele expect.
One of the key considerations for drivers considering an electric vehicle is charging times. While charging at home overnight or at work during the day may be convenient for some, the ability to quickly recharge the battery when completing longer journeys or needing to top up mid-day is essential to alleviate range anxiety. This is where the DC fast charging capability of the 2023 BMW iX1 xDrive30 comes into play.
Utilizing DC fast charging, the iX1 can replenish its battery from 10 to 80% capacity in just 34 minutes. For drivers needing to cover long distances with intermittent charging stops along the route, this ultra-fast recharging allows them to get back on the road with an ample charge in about the same time it takes to use the restroom and grab a quick bite.
Reviewers who tested the iX1"s DC fast charging capabilities came away impressed by the convenience. Car and Driver"s test vehicle regained 158 miles of range in the 34 minutes advertised, giving them confidence they could comfortably complete a 500 mile trip in a single day. InsideEVs noted that on a LA to Vegas road trip, two 34 minute charging stops along the route kept their battery above 20% for the entire drive.
For MotorTrend"s test driver, having multiple DC fast charging options along their route made them feel secure knowing they could quickly get the battery over 50% if running low. Even Electrek, who expressed disappointment at the iX1"s slower charge rate compared to Porsche and Audi models, appreciated the BMW could still recover over 150 miles of range during a typical fast food stop.
The iX1"s rapid charging speed compares favorably even to Tesla"s much-touted Supercharger network. While the maximum 200kW charge rate trails Tesla"s 250kW capability, the iX1 can charge continuously at peak speed for longer periods. Auto Express reported the iX1 achieved its 34 minute time to 80% consistently, whereas equivalent Teslas needed nearly 50 minutes after the charge speed dropped off prematurely.
For owners without home charging options, the BMW"s rapid DC charging offers a major advantage over competitors. Autocar"s city dweller tester relied solely on public charging infrastructure. The iX1"s ability to regain 80% during their standard lunch break made keeping the battery topped up throughout the week simple and stress-free.
The 2023 BMW iX1 sets a new standard when it comes to intuitive technology and seamless connectivity tailored towards the modern commuter. As today's drivers demand devices that integrate smoothly into their digital lifestyles, the iX1 obliges with an array of clever features and capabilities that reviewers found extremely user-friendly.
For TechRadar testers, the iX1's crisp 12.3" digital gauge cluster immediately impressed with its simple menus, logical layouts, and easily digestible EV-specific displays like power usage. But pairing their phone to the SUV unlocked even more of the system's potential. Favorite playlists, recent calls, and navigation destinations automatically populated on the dashboard when syncing their device. The integration felt effortless, enhancing everyday usability.
CNET praised BMW for avoiding feature overload. Despite the plethora of available technology, every system from the voice assistant to the wireless charging pad worked reliably using straightforward controls. Settings and commands drivers access frequently live on the main menus, while secondary functions sit just a tap away without cluttering the interface. Reviewers found the learning curve minimal for even complex capabilities like monitoring charging status via the MyBMW app.
For road trippers, the iX1 provides peace of mind by enabling remote access to key functions through smart devices. Car and Driver used the app to pinpoint the location of public chargers along their route in advance, then simply tapped the address on their phone to send it directly to the SUV's navigation system. Their test vehicle even notified them via smartphone when finished charging and ready to resume their road trip.
When it comes to entertainment, the Harman Kardon sound system transforms the iX1 into a concert hall on wheels. But Electrek said even more impressive was how Apple CarPlay and Android Auto completely take over the central touchscreen with a familiar interface. Playlists, messaging, maps, and other apps from one's phone appear fullscreen for easy access while driving. The presentations look so slick, it feels like the apps were designed exclusively for the vehicle.