2022 BMW iX1 electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date

The BMW iX1 is the brand's most affordable electric SUV yet, and will be sold alongside an all-new version of the conventionally powered X1...

2022 BMW iX1 front

Price from £43,000 (est) | On sale November

The good thing about any new technology is that, over time, it gets smaller. One of the first computers used by World War 2 codebreakers, for example, was aptly named Colossus, because it took up an entire room. Today, however, you hold more computing power in the palm of your hand every time you take a phone call. The same is true for electric cars, with the new BMW iX1 being the smallest electric SUV its maker has ever built.

Like the new BMW X1 family SUV (more on that later), the iX1 has aggressive front and rear bumpers, with a prominent front grille and LED lights at the front and rear. Compared with the old X1, the new model’s wheels, which you can have in sizes ranging from 17in to 20in, have been pushed farther towards the corners of the car, giving it a sportier look. The iX1 includes highlights in blue along its lower edges to showcase its electric nature; if you really want to showcase your green credentials, it’s the one to go for.

2022 BMW iX1 rear

Just one version of the iX1 will be available at launch, named the xDrive30. Powered by two electric motors – one on each set of wheels, giving the iX1 four-wheel drive – it develops 308bhp, which is enough to propel the car to 62mph in just 5.7sec. Its top speed is limited to 112mph. The most important figure, however, is 272 (miles); that’s how far the iX1 can travel on a charge, according to official figures. That’s more than entry-level versions of the rival Audi Q4 e-tron, Mercedes EQA and Volkswagen ID.4 can take you between charges, but the Kia EV6 – our reigning Car of the Year and our favourite electric SUV – can take you farther, with an official range of up to 328 miles.

Versions of the iX1 with more power are expected to join the line-up before long, as well as cheaper models with smaller batteries. Adaptive suspension is fitted as standard, to help improve ride comfort.

2022 BMW iX1 interior

Inside, the new iX1 features a 10.7in digital instrument panel and a 10.25in infotainment touchscreen, abutting each other in one long housing that takes up much of the width of the dashboard. BMW’s infotainment system usually offers swish graphics and plenty of features, but the iX1 and X1 follow the latest 2 Series Active Tourer in being controlled only by touch, gesture or voice, rather than by a rotary controller, as in other BMWs. We think this is a backward step, because using a dial controller is easier and safer than touching a screen on the move. An optional head-up display can put the most pressing information right in front of your eyes on the windscreen.

As is becoming the norm, buyers can unlock extra features after leaving the showroom, with driver aids such as steering assistance and lane-keeping assistance able to be added at a later date. The system can keep itself up to date without you having to visit a dealer, too.

Other features include dual-zone climate control, four USB-C ports for charging your decides, a 12V power supply in the centre console – plus another in the boot – and a six-speaker stereo. Audiophiles will be pleased to know that BMW’s long collaboration with Harman Kardon continues, and a 12-speaker stereo is available as an option.

2022 BMW iX1 side

As you drive along, you’ll be treated to a variety of sounds developed in collaboration with Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer; these should make simple things like pressing the accelerator pedal or changing a setting an auditory experience.

The iX1 should be a practical choice for growing families, with a boot that is able to take up to 490 litres – enough for your holiday luggage, and larger than what you get in rivals such as the EQA and Volvo XC40 Recharge. The rear seatbacks split and fold in a handy 40/20/40 arrangement, meaning you can load something long and thin onto the rear bench and still have space for two passengers. Isofix mountings for child car seats are integrated into the outer two rear seats.

A peak charging rate of 130kW means the iX1 is capable of a 10-80% top-up in as little as 29 minutes, if you can find a suitably powerful public charger. A 10-minute charge at the fastest rate should add around 75 miles of range to the iX1’s battery. Meanwhile, a full charge via an 11kW home wallbox will take about six and a half hours, or longer if you’re using a three-pin plug. 

2022 BMW iX1 front

Buyers will have five trim levels to choose from in the iX1, dubbed Sport Premier, xLine Premier, xLine Premier Pro, M Sport Premier and M Sport Premier Pro. Standard kit includes 17in alloy wheels, sports seats, heated front seats and LED lights at the front and rear.

The iX1 is being launched alongside a new X1 family SUV, which gets an equally aggressive look and more plug-in hybrid power options than before. The first of these, the xDrive25e, mates a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a combined 242bhp. It can travel for up to 55 miles on electric power – much farther than most rivals can manage – and officially returns up to 353.1mpg. The xDrive30e gets the same vital statistics, but ups its power to 322bhp.

Both models get a 14.2kWh battery that can be recharged from a three-pin plug in eight hours, or faster if you use a wallbox or public charging point.

Both plug-in hybrid options emit just 17g/km of CO2, making them seriously tempting options for company car drivers thanks to their low benefit-in-kind ratings.

If you’d rather keep things more conventional, the X1 is also available with regular petrol and diesel engines. The petrol line-up begins with the sDrive18i, which gets 134bhp from its 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. Despite being the least powerful option in the line-up, it can still reach 62mph from a standstill in 7.1sec and returns up to 44.9mpg. 

Above that is the xDrive23i, which gets four-wheel drive and mild hybrid assistance, where small amounts of electric power are used to assist the engine in low-load conditions, helping you to get up to speed faster and potentially helping you save money on fuel. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine fitted to this model produces 215bhp, which results in a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.1sec and fuel economy of up to 43.5mpg.

2022 BMW X1 front

If you’ll be covering enough miles to justify a diesel engine, you can choose from the 148bhp sDrive18d (which is the most efficient option in the range, returning up to 57.7mpg) or the 208bhp mild hybrid xDrive23d, which emits the least CO2 in the range, at 125g/km.

No matter which X1 you go for, you’ll get a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Combustion-engined versions gain a sliding rear bench, which can prioritise either leg room or boot space. With the bench pulled forwards, there’s 540 litres of space available – 35 more than in the old X1 – meaning your holiday luggage should pose no trouble.

If you’re interested in towing, the X1 can handle up to 2000kg, which is enough for a large caravan, while the iX1 can tow up to 1200kg.

Safety and assistance kit on both the iX1 and X1 includes automatic emergency braking, a system to warn you if you’re about to open your door into the path of an oncoming pedestrian or cyclist, and adaptive cruise control that can keep you a set distance from the car in front, as well as take care of the car’s lane positioning.

Prices for the BMW X1 start from £35,130 – a rise of £5000 compared with today’s car – while the BMW iX1 is expected to start from around £43,000. That’s on a par with the Q4 e-tron, and significantly cheaper than the EQA. 

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more: Best electric SUVs 2022 >>

Also consider