Small compact SUVs/crossovers are some of the biggest sellers currently, and the X1 has been a pretty big seller for BMW. For this new generation, there is the iX1, currently, the smallest fully electric vehicle BMW sells since the i3 has been retired. I’m happy to report that BMW has not neglected its towing capabilities and it can pull a braked trailer up to 1,200kg. But how does it compare to its immediate competition at this £50K price point?
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Key BMW iX1 Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 1,200 kg
- Availability – Late 2022
- Price – Starting £48,000
- Range (EV Database) – 230 miles
- Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 115 miles
- Maximum DC Charge Rate – 130 kW
- Rapid Charge 10% to 80% – 29 min
- Check Used BMW iX1 Specs
BMW iX1 HP & Torque
- XDrive30: AWD, 308 HP and 364 lb-ft of torque
BMW iX1 Towing Capabilities
With a 1,200kg towing capacity the BMW iX1 will be able to tow certain small single axle caravans. Larger than just teardrop trailers/campers, the BMX iX1 will be able to tow some small 2-beth touring caravans.
What’s notable is the BMW iX1 can actually tow more than its larger sibling the BMW iX3 which can only tow 750 kg which is obviously rather odd. Furthermore, the iX1 in the initial xDrive30 spec has AWD which is not even an option currently on the larger iX3, its just available with RWD.
Furthermore, the iX1 is more powerful (308 HP) than the iX3 (282 HP), and the iX1 has more pulling power (torque) as well. On towing capacity, power and traction the smaller iX1 is just a better electric tow car than its larger SUV sibling the iX3.
While the iX1 beats the iX3 in many regards, it does have less range (230 vs 240 miles) and a lower DC rapid charging speed (130 vs 150kW). However, let’s leave the BMW vs BMW crossover comparison for the moment, what about the wider electric tow car competition for the BMW iX1?
In terms of the wider competition for the BMW iX1 with a 1,200kg towing capacity, it falls behind many of its similarly priced rivals offering 1,500kg (Volvo XC40, Polestar 2) and 1,600 kg (IONIQ 5, EV6).
An obvious rival in the electric crossover segment is the Tesla Model Y. The BMW iX1 does have a cheaper initial price point of just under £50K compared to the Tesla at £55K. However, the Tesla’s towing capacity (1,600kg), DC charging speed (250kW) and real-world range (270 miles) are significantly better.
At this point in time, the 130kW DC rapid charging speed is below average, especially for a new car on the market. It’s notable less than the IONIQ 5 and EV6 which are in excess of 200kW, and the Volvo XC40 and Polestar 2 at 150kW.
Likewise for the range at a real-world estimate of 230 miles, its ok, but not great either. With a usable battery capacity of just under 65kWh its around 10kWh down compared to much of the wider competition for the BMW iX1.
BMW iX1 vs BMW i4
Ok, let’s say you want to own a BMW battery electric vehicle (BEV), you want to tow and you have got around £50K to £60K to spend, hence the BMW iX is off the table, what’s your best option?
Well, as you can tell from my comments above, I’m not a fan of the BMW iX3, it’s just not a good option at all as an electric tow car. Is your only option the iX1 then? Nope, really you should consider the BMW i4 eDrive 40.
Yes, with the i4 eDrive 40 you would lose the crossover body for a 4 door ‘gran coupé’, you would also have to live with RWD as opposed to the AWD of the iX1. However, personally, I still think it would be the better option.
The BMW i4 eDrive 40 has a longer real-world range (295 miles), it can charge faster at DC rapid charging stations (200kW) and on top of all that it can tow a lot more at 1,600kg. Price-wise at just over £51K while the i4 Drive 40 is more expensive, its not significantly more so than the iX1.
BMW iX1 Preview
At this point in time, we are still many months away from the release of the BMW iX1 and automotive journalists are yet to get behind the wheel. However, I’ve got a preview of the iX1 below by Rory Reed from Autotrader.
My Thoughts On The BMW iX1…
As I’ve stated above, I think the iX1 is an improvement over the iX3, but to be honest I don’t think that’s saying much. Though, as the iX1 falls short of the i4 in many areas, if I was going to purchase a fully electric BMW for towing, I would skip the iX1 in favour of the i4.
However, what if you’re willing to consider offerings from other brands how does the iX1 stand up then? Well, for around £50K a 1,200kg towing capacity is not that competitive, and neither is its real-world range or its DC rapid charging speed.
There just isn’t really any area where the BMW iX1 stands out as a reason to choose it over other available options as an electric tow car.