The petrol BMW X1 is a confusing and frustrating product from Munich.
The brand’s smallest SUV is pretty good at the sensible stuff – boot space, leg room, interior versatility and economy – but an anodyne engine, a clunky gearbox, infuriating infotainment and uninvolving handling mean it’s notably bad in many areas that are traditional strengths for the brand.
BMW’s strategy for most of its EVs is for them to be closely related to ICE cars, hence the all-new BMW iX1 is essentially just an electric X1. And by and large, replacing that sub-par engine and gearbox with a 66.5kWh battery and a pair of 188bhp motors does make it a more pleasant drive.
A system output of 308bhp means it’s properly fast. In fact, a single-motor version would in all likelihood be sufficient (and yield some useful efficiency benefits), but BMW has not confirmed any plans to offer one.
In contrast with the X1 xDrive23i, drivability is well resolved, too. The pedals are calibrated to allow smooth driving and you can choose from three levels of regenerative braking, plus a one-pedal mode. A coasting mode is absent, however.
Thanks to four-wheel drive and astute traction control, the iX1 has no problems in putting down its mighty power and can even send a bit more power to the rear axle for a more dynamic corner exit, despite the two motors being identical.