This is a car BMW has needed for a long time, an affordable, practical electric vehicle that a vast majority of BMW customers can afford. Up until this point, the only all-electric vehicles BMW ever made were either expensive or impractical. Now, though, the BMW iX1 offers something that not only many families can afford but that many families can actually use.

Obviously, the iX1 is based on the third-generation BMW X1, which also just debuted. While that means the iX1 is still based on a conventional chassis, and not a bespoke EV architecture, BMW’s new FAAR front-wheel drive platform was developed with electrification in mind. Plus, its front-wheel drive layout offers more space for a battery pack in the floor than a rear-drive layout, while also providing more passenger space. So while the iX1 might not be as optimized for an electric powertrain as the top-shelf iX, it’s better suited to EV-duty than the i4.

308 HP and 438km Range

At the start, there will only be one model–the BMW iX1 xDrive30. Being an xDrive model, it has two electric motors, one at each axle, which combine to make 308 horsepower (230 kW) and 364 lb-ft (494 Nm) of torque. BMW claims a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h). Providing the electricity to make that happen is a 64.7 kWh (usable) battery pack which, according to the WLTP cycle, should provide 413–438 km (257 – 272 miles) of range.

Interestingly, the BMW iX1 lacks the charge speed of its older, more expensive siblings. Both the BMW i4 and iX can charge at 200 kW but the iX1’s max charge speed is just 130 kw. Although, due to its small-ish battery pack, it can refill its battery relatively quickly, even without hyper-fast charging. At that 130 kW charging speed, BMW claims 10-80 percent state of charge can be replenished in 29 minutes. Or, if you’re in a pinch and pressed for time, it will recharged 75 miles worth of driving range in just ten minutes, while charging at top speed.

An Attractive Design

Visually, there isn’t much different about the BMW iX1, versus the standard X1. It looks identical from the outside, save for a couple of blue highlights. However, that’s likely going to turn out to be one of its strongest attributes, as customers will be able to simply choose their X1 powertrain of choice and not have to choose between different designs. The familiarity to the standard X1 will also give new customers an easier transition into electric vehicles.

It’s also just a good looking crossover. It’s boxier and sharper looking than the outgoing car, while also being a bit more upright and SUV-like. The previous-gen X1 was fine looking but that’s about it–fine. It sort of looked like any other front-wheel drive crossover on the market and this new one, while not exactly paving an entirely new path for front-wheel drive crossovers, does distinguish itself as something sportier.

BMW thankfully gave both the X1 and iX1 reasonably sized kidney grilles–which are boxier than usual–sharp headlights, a more upright front end, and sharp hood creases. The BMW iX1 gets blue bits where the front air intakes usually go, on the side skirts, and on the rear bumper. Its big wheels fill out its wheel arches, making it look sporty, its flush door handles are placed well, and its Hofmeister Kink is among the best I’ve ever seen on a BMW crossover or SUV. Overall, the BMW iX1 is probably one of BMW’s best looking SUV-type vehicle, and potentially even the best looking one, in the lineup.

Premium Interior Design

Inside, the BMW iX1 is again quite similar to its standard X1 sibling though, again, that’s not a bad thing. The design is open and spacious, with an emphasis on practicality and ergonomics but it isn’t to drab. In fact, it’s a smart looking, premium interior with some really nice touches. For instance, the metal bottom spokes on the steering wheel are sculpted nicely, the way the wood trim wraps around the dashboard to meet the door trim is lovely, and the checker board-pattern on the speaker grilles looks cool. I also really dig the cantilevered arm rest, a la BMW iX. Except the cupholders are far better placed in the iX1 than in the iX.

Pricing for the BMW iX1 will start at 55,000 euros in Germany, which isn’t actually super cheap but it does offer a lot of car for the money. It’s an all-electric, surprisingly premium, BMW crossover with a good range, nice power, and a great interior. Sadly, the iX1 won’t be coming to America, which is a shame as it’d not only be the perfect i3 replacement but it would also likely get a lot of American BMW customers into EVs. Still, for European customers, the BMW iX1 should be one of the best new Bimmers on sale.