BMW Australia’s growing range of electric vehicles will expand further in the first quarter of 2023 with the just-revealed iX1 small SUV, an entry point to replace the defunct i3 hatch. 

    The new, 4.5-metre-long iX1 will slot into the range underneath the iX3 SUV, as well as the i4 GT and the radical iX range flagship.

    “In its third model generation, the BMW X1 also offers a gateway to BMW i-style electric mobility for a wide target audience,” the company says, adding it’s the first compact model “based on a flexible vehicle architecture to feature an all-electric drive system”. 

    This means its platform or architecture (called FAAR internally) can house EVs, plug-in hybrids, and regular combustion engines alike. 

    The German-built (car and batteries are both produced at the Regensburg plant) iX1 will give Bimmer an answer to similar competitor models such as the Mercedes-Benz EQA, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and the Tesla Model Y – if the latter ever does actually arrive here.

    Other small- to mid-sized electric SUVs arriving new to the Australian market in 2022 or 2023 include the Genesis Electrified GV70, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Renault Megane E-Tech, and the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra twins. 

    The BMW iX1 is no entry level EV on spec, with some pretty impressive performance stats: front and rear axle electric drive motors, allowing e-AWD, and system power and torque of 230kW and 494Nm. That’s sufficient for a claimed zero to 100km/h time of 5.7 seconds.

    Meanwhile the battery allows a driving range on the European WLTP cycle of between 413km and 438km. The iX1 supports both single- and three-phase AC charging at a rate of up to 11kW, though you can optionally increase this to 22kW. It supports DC charging at up to 130kW.

    As with other electric BMWs, the iX1 features BMW IconicSounds Electric, synthetic engine noise created by famous composer Hans Zimmer.

    The iX1 is the latest BMW to receive the brand’s new Operating System 8 and Curved Display, which features a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system in one display.

    Meanwhile, on the electrified front, BMW will also offer X1 xDrive25e and xDrive30e plug-in hybrids with claimed EV-only driving range of between 78 and 89km – however, there’s no current timeline on if or when these could come to Australia.  

    Priority production, as always with PHEVs, goes to regions with binding emissions-reduction schemes such as Europe.

    MORE: Everything BMW X1

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers