• Not a Tesla
  • Well-rounded daily commuter
  • Nice interior ambience
  • Can do with a bigger battery and range
  • First model year gripes with software issues
  • Prices have gone up and may not come in under LCT threshold

About the BMW IX1

A K purchased this BMW IX1 new with additional options for $89,500 (including all on-road costs). A K would buy this car again because: “In short, it’s not a Tesla. (cue the hateful fanboy comments…).

In all honesty, the BMW iX1 does not have the longest range, isn’t the fastest, nor is it the most spacious inside. Yet, BMW manages to present a brilliant package in a compact EV SUV that looks decent (at least not as hideous as some recent BMWs), has decent performance/handling, decent range as a daily commuter, a nice interior and pretty good value compared to other prestige EVs.

I ordered in November 2022 and was price protected against recent price rises. The purchase price came in under the LCT threshold, so could take advantage of FBT-exempted novated leasing.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

No scratches, no dodgy paint job, no inconsistent panel gaps and the steering wheel hasn’t fallen off.

Jokes aside, there were two issues noted on delivery:

1. The car was pulling slightly to the right which the dealer promptly rectified with a wheel alignment adjustment.

2. There has been intermittent AC charging issue where the car would stop charging mid-charge and throws an error code. The dealer has diagnosed the problem and promised a software update in July should fix the problem. Meanwhile, the car charges fine on DC and I am lucky enough to have a couple of fast-DC charger nearby.

The car also has a 3-year ChargeFox subscription which gives the owner free charging with one of the biggest charging network in Australia.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

Despite the problems above, the support and service from my dealer and BMW have been faultless. They gave me a loan car while the problem was being diagnosed, and has also offered a loan vehicle to swap out my car until the software fix is available.

I suppose these are the risk of buying a car in its first model year, but in return the iX1 is still a relatively rare sight on the road, and I was able to get it before the price went up!

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

A LONG seven months wait, but there’s pretty much standard on any car that is remotely desirable these days.

The purchasing experience was a positive one. I was able to negotiate a $5000 discount even in this post-pandemic climate, and with a couple of accessories thrown in to sweeten the deal. There was no artificial inflation of “dealer delivery fee”, no agency fixed-price schemes and certainly didn’t buy it on a webpage!

The dealer kept me informed along the waiting process. I knew when the car was going into production, and the shipping vessel that it was on, so I was able to track it on maritime websites.

On the day of delivery, the sales manager spent an hour going through the car and helped me connect my phone and set up the digital keys etc. There were also a scattered of gifts from the merchandise department in the boot – the kids loved the baseball caps!

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Being the range-topper, the car is loaded with a high level of equipment.

The only option at the time of purchase was 20in wheels which I didn’t get. They look nice but I much rather have a slightly better range and ride comfort with the standard 19in wheels.

BMW is also trialing a subscription model for additional features with the new X1/iX1. The only thing that I can “subscribe” is steering wheel heating – ie the car has the hardware for the feature but you have to pay extra to use it.

I mean it’s only $350 for life… (less if you go for the one month, 1 year or 3 years options).

Apart from that, the car is well-equipped as one would expect with a circa $90k car. Some of the highlights include massaging and heated front seats, a faux leather lined dash (along with faux leather seats), 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless smart phone integrations and a panoramic sunroof that opens and has a built-in powered cloth shade.

And, unlike some EV brands, a 22kW rated AC charging cable and a 240V 8A “granny charger” are included. There’s also the included three-year ChargeFox subscription.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

The numbers on paper are 230kW and 494Nm which some may say is only “okay” in the modern EV age, considering the two tonnes kerb weight.

On the road, it is more than enough. It will pin you back (rather than slam your head) into the seat especially if you activate the boost mode with the pedal behind the steering wheel. 0-100km/hr is around the mid-5.0s.

As I said, this is not the fastest EV on the road, but BMW has managed to tune the iX1 to deliver a driving experience that is “rapid” without being “manic”. I think that’s what most people will want as a daily driver.

In terms of economy, I have seen figures as low as 16.5kWh/100km and as high as 23kWh/100km. I have averaged around 18kWh/100km in the first month of ownership – bearing in mind I am in Melbourne and the mornings had been quite chilly in recent weeks.

Real world range is about 300-320km with a 80 per cent battery charge (recommended).

This is fine as a daily commuter but it may fall short if you want to take it on a road trip.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

It has an instrument screen in front of the driver and a head-up display, so you don’t need to look towards the screen in the middle to check your speed.

The central 10.7-inch infotainment screen runs BMW iDrive 8 operating system and is easy enough to get used to and has all the functions one would expect – eg SatNav, DAB, etc. However, most people will probably end up using smart phone mirroring, which is wireless for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The built-in navigation does have the advantage of augmented reality overlaying turning arrows on a video image of the road from the front camera, and also navigation directions displayed on the HUD.

Safety features and driver assistance techs are all up to date with the obligatory adaptive cruise control, lane centring, blind spots warning etc. all included.

The reversing assistance is a fantastic feature that enable the car to automatically steer itself in reverse for the last 50m that it was driven forward. Great for backing out driveways, carparks etc.

BMW has also included “digital key plus” with the iX1. Once set up, you can unlock and drive away with just the smartphone in your pocket. You can also send a digital key to your family or friend and remotely let them use the car.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

I think this is where a manufacturer such as BMW can distinguish itself from all the other EVs. Let’s face it, there’s little to distinguish the “character” of an EV motor and battery across different manufacturers, unlike internal combustion engines and gearboxes.

In my opinion (probably biased), the iX1 ride and handling balance is top notch. The car feels planted and composed. The adaptive suspension can be firmed up noticeably in Sport, but also comfortable and compliant in normal mode especially with the standard 19-inch wheels.

As with all EVs, the heavy battery on the floor of the vehicle significantly lowers the centre of gravity. Despite the high riding SUV body, the car corners nice and flat but you do feel the weight of the car.

Again, this is a great daily driver but not a car you would take to the race track.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

When shopping for the car, I did give the Tesla 3 and Y a decent consideration.

They certainly have better performance and efficiency. The dealbreaker for me was the single (albeit large) central screen, the deletion of radars/sensors and an over reliance on the camera systems, and the questionable dealer support network. Also, I have owned a number of BMWs before, so I am a bit biased.

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