2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport review

2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport

Bruce Newton

Posted April 22, 2024


BMW’s most affordable battery electric vehicle is a five-door five-seat compact SUV with a luxurious interior, enjoyable driving manners and a responsive powertrain. But the BMW iX1 is also expensive and lacks the battery range and recharging smarts to go with the rest of the package.

BMW is rolling out new battery electric vehicles regularly and the iX1 has the honour of being the German luxury brand's cheapest EV since the ground-breaking i3 hatch of 2013. But where that vehicle was startlingly radical, the iX1 is an homage to common-sense and conservatism. The iX1 shares its platform and looks with the ICE-powered X1, simply swapping out the petrol engine and drivetrain for dual e-motors and battery pack, and increasing the price tag by a significant amount.

Here we're testing the all-wheel drive iX1 xDrive30 M Sport, the most sporting model in the line-up.

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BMW iX1 3/4 shot

The BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport is the most sporting model in the line-up. Images: Bruce Newton


 

How much does a BMW iX1 xDrive30 cost?

The 2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport tested here is priced from $84,900 plus on-road costs. The iX1 xDrive30 XLine is the same price. The newest model in the range, the iX1 eDrive20 is priced from $78,900 plus ORCs. All three BMW iX1 model variants qualify for an FBT-free novated lease.

Both the xDrive30 variants are dual motor all-wheel drive, while the eDrive20 is single motor rear-wheel drive.

M Sport specific equipment includes 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheel design, M roof rails, Alcantara/Sensatec (artificial leather) upholstery an M Sport steering wheel and plenty of other dress-up bits.

Items shared with other BMW iX1s includes dual-zone climate control operated via a heat pump, remote access and keyless start, powered and heated front seats with memory for the driver and a power tailgate.

Also on the spec list of the BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport are a 10.7-inch touchscreen and a 10.25-inch instrument display sitting behind a single piece of curved glass on the dashboard. Infotainment is run by BMW’s Operating System 8 and brings with it a wholesale reduction in buttons and dials.

Standard infotainment features include wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, embedded satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio. The iX1 comes standard with an unbranded six-speaker audio system.

The BMW iX1 is protected by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and a conditions-based servicing program. A basic service package will set you back $2200 over six years.

BMW iX1 xDrive30 exterior design

Check out the exterior of the 2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport and you might think it’s a bit familiar.

Apart from looking generically like lots of other mid-size and large BMW SUVs, it looks specifically like the petrol-powered BMW X1 because they share the same body, right down to the millimetric measurements.

Both the electric iX1 and ICE-powered X1 BMW models measure 4.5 metres long, 1855mm wide and have a 2692mm wheelbase. The iX1 is a little lower and has a little less ground clearance than an X1.

This identikit packaging is reflective of the BMW policy of platform sharing between ICE and EV – so X1 and iX1, X3 and iX3 and so on.

The iX1 looks generically like lots of other BMW SUVs.
The iX1 boasts 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels.
The iX1 is protected by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

What is the BMW iX1 xDrive30 like inside?

It wasn’t that many years ago we were deriding BMW for a stingy approach to interiors. That’s certainly no longer the case, with BMW’s cheapest electric vehicle feels very upmarket.

There’s a pleasing combination of natural and artificial leathers in the BMW iX1, a curved screen combining infotainment and instrumentation that dominates the dashboard, and angular door grabs and slotted pulls that are design statements as much as functional tools.

Our test BMW iX1 came with a $4700 options pack that included trick front seats with a massage function, Very comfy indeed.

The back-seat of the BMW iX1 is spacious enough to fit 180cm passengers in the outboard seats without too much compromise on legroom. Sadly, the shared platform retains a transmission tunnel so the middle seat is definitely a less comfortable experience.

Rear seat passengers also get a reclining backrest, plentiful storage choices including string nets on the seatbacks, generous doorbins and a fold-down armrest with double cupholders. The direction and volume of the climate control vents can be adjusted, but there are no temperature controls. There are two USB-C outlets to plug devices into.

By comparison, occupants of the front seat get a much more complex interior to deal with. The deletion of the traditional iDrive controller – along with other hard buttons and dials – is just a step too far.

Too much time is spent dabbing and swiping in the screen, even the BMW iX1's willingness to be modified and customised via drag and drop tiles and short cuts is exploited.

Even the air-conditioning system needs to be operated through the screen (or via voice control), while adjusting the regenerative braking requires six steps.

The BMW iX1's boot is a decent 490 litres opening up to 1495 litres with the 40:20:40 bench seat dropped. But there is no frunk, which is a unique feature to many electric cars.

 

BMW’s cheapest (albeit not cheap) electric vehicle feels very upmarket.
The boot is a decent 490 litres.
A curved screen combining infotainment and instrumentation dominates the dashboard.

Is the BMW iX1 xDrive30 good to drive?

The 2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport is powered by a synchronous e-motor on each axle that combine to produce 230kW and 494Nm.

Add in a sports-tuned independent suspension including adaptive dampers, electric-assist steering and a combination of regenerative and mechanical braking power and the BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport produces an enjoyable drive.

It’s not quite the traditional BMW experience, though. The BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport weighs two tonnes.

But BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport's quietness, low centre of gravity (thanks to its battery pack), e-motor surge (whether in eco, normal or sport modes) and innate BMW chassis tuning ability make this car fun to drive in town or on the open road.

That’s whether you’re driving or passengering, because the ride quality is also comfortably compliant in a firm BMW way.

Where the driving experience falls down is when it comes time to recharge. BMW claims a power consumption average of 18.3kWh/100km and a range out of the 67kWh lithium-ion battery pack of 439km (WLTP).

Add in a DC fast-charge rate that tops out at a claimed 130kW and you can see the BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport is not cutting edge for driving range or recharging. The Tesla Model Y does these elements of driving and owning an electric car better.

The BMW iX1 is more impressive when it comes to AC charging, claiming a top whack of 22kW.

 

The iX1 is not cutting edge for range or recharging.
BMW claims a power consumption average of 18.3kWh/100km and a range out of the 67kWh lithium-ion battery pack of 400km.
The iX1 is more impressive when it comes to AC charging, claiming a top whack of 22kW.

What safety features does the BMW iX1 xDrive30 have?

While unrated when it launched in Australia, the BMW iX1 has since joined the X1 in having a five star ANCAP rating based on 2022 protocols.

Other key safety equipment includes front, front-side and curtain airbags, as well as a centre-front airbag to prevent head knocks. Autonomous emergency braking comes with evasion assist and pedestrian and cyclist detection. Active cruise control with stop and go is also part of the package.

Cameras and sensors allow the BMW iX1 to brake for crossing traffic front and rear, actively steer to stay centred in its lane, warn and counter-steer when veering from its lane and adjust its speed to keep it legal.

The BMW iX1 also includes a head up display, multiple camera angles including surround view, a drive recorder and a suite of parking and reversing aids including the ability to reverse autonomously for 50 metres – very handy when negotiating a winding, narrow driveway in the dark.

Going forward in the dark, adaptive LED headlights come with high-beam assist.

 

rear shot of BMW iX1

The BMW iX1 can reverse autonomously for 50 metres.


 

How does the BMW iX1 xDrive30 compare?

There are an increasing number of logical rivals for the 2024 BMW iX1 starting with the top-selling Tesla Model Y, which is cheaper, bigger and has better recharging and range capabilities.

In xDrive30 guise it also starts at a higher price than other rivals on-sale now including the Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz EQA, the Lexus UX300e and its over-priced sibling, the Lexus RZ 450e.

More competition is on the way including the Audi Q4 e-tron and BMW’s own iX2 (same platform as the iX1, but with less headroom in the rear).

Should I buy a BMW iX1 xDrive30?

The 2024 BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport is a battery electric vehicle for BMW fans, not necessarily those looking for the best mid-size electric car.

It lacks the powertrain skills of a Tesla Model Y (or Model 3), but retains much of the driving enjoyment BMWs traditionally offer. The car's interior quality is another highlight.

But pricing of the BMW iX1 xDrive30 M Sport is simply too high. That’s reflective of luxury brands more widely - and not just BMW.

In the end, this is not an especially memorable EV for a number of reasons and therefore not highly recommended.

The good news is based on the EV concepts BMW is currently showcasing, there are better things to come from the German brand.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.


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