This may look like your run-of-the-mill BMW iX1 painted in Space Silver Metallic but there’s one subtle change at the front. The kidney grille has received a new look inherited from the long-wheelbase iX1 built and sold exclusively in China. However, we’re dealing with a regular iX1 for the UK market – as denoted by the right-hand-drive layout.

Mind you, this isn’t a Life Cycle Impulse for the iX1. After all, the electric crossover was unveiled in June 2022 and hit the market in October of the same year. Having been on sale for roughly a year and a half, it’s far too early for the LCI treatment. It’s unclear why BMW has made this change without telling anyone, but we reckon it’s to align the grille design with that of the iX2.

BMW iX1 with the old kidney grille design

We checked more than a few configurators across Europe and discovered that BMW has already updated them to feature the iX1’s shiny new grille. In hindsight, the new grille isn’t actually all that new since it was first applied on the standard-wheelbase iX1 when the single-motor, front-wheel-drive eDrive20 debuted in September 2023.

It eschews the vertical bars of the original design in favor of rhombs that shrink in size as they get closer to the center of the grille. This new look lends the electric crossover a more modern fascia while separating the zero-emission variants from the gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid X1 models. BMW applies the new grille on both the iX1 eDrive20 and xDrive30 models, with or without the M Sport Package. The German luxury marque also offers these two grille designs on the X2, one for ICE versions and the other for the EVs.

This iX1 is a lesser front-wheel-drive version but it does have the optional M Sport Package, Shadowline dark accents, and 19-inch wheels (871 M Style) featuring a two-tone color.

Another update for the “U11” could arrive in the months to come as BMW will reportedly start production of an X1 sDrive20d in July. We’re already hearing reports the next-generation iX1 could move to the Neue Klasse platform and adopt the “NB5” internal codename. It’s allegedly scheduled to go on sale around 2028.

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