After years of trying and failing with worthy attempts like the i3 luxury hatchback and i8 supercar, BMW Australia seems to have finally found the right formula for electric vehicle (EV) success with the coming iX1.
A premium electric vehicle (EV) without the sticker shock of other German luxury-branded alternatives, the boxy yet handsome crossover will start from an import-duty beating $82,900 before on-road costs when it launches locally in about February next year.
According to BMW Australia head of product and market planning, Brendan Michel, keen pricing should help make the iX1 the brand’s best-selling EV, period, in quick succession.
“It is our new price point into BMW EV range,” Mr Michel said. And next up is the i4 eDrive40 sedan, which is $99,900, and this is $17,000 below that… so no doubt.
“And traditionally, over the past four or five years now, the X1 (on which the iX1 is based upon, albeit the latest and third-generation U11 series launching next month in Australia) has constantly been in our top three or four highest selling models; and now that we’ve got a battery EV in that line-up now, it’s going to only help.
“It could easily (make the X1 range as a whole) our number one best-selling car next year.”
The only fly in the iX1’s sales-spinning ointment is the same box of issues affecting all new-vehicle manufacturers over the past two years – namely achieving sufficient supply to meet the expected skyrocketing demand for EVs globally.
“It’s really hard to tell at the moment, and too hard to talk volume due to difficulties with production, supply chain and logistics wise,” Mr Michel added. “But I’m sure that every single one they send here will be snapped up very, very quickly.”
While starting off from $82,900 is still undeniably expensive in anybody’s language, it positions the BMW EV SUV within striking distance of the updated Hyundai Ioniq 5 for 2023 as well as the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y. All have been met with massive orders from Australian consumers as well as those the world over.
BMW’s i8 was the world’s first volume hybrid EV supercar.
More specifically, with only the dual-motor all-wheel drive xDrive30 to be offered initially, the single-grade iX1 is hitting the market in a smart way with a strong specification.
In fact, for the Ioniq 5 to match that, buyers will need to forgo the base Dynamiq with a single motor and rear-drive from $75,000 and stretch to the mid-range Techniq from $79,500 or flagship Epiq from $85,000.
That’s right, folks, this is a BMW EV SUV that is sandwiched between two Hyundais. And the same applies to the Kia EV6 GT-Line twin-motor AWD range-topper from $87,590, as well as the Tesla Model Y Performance AWD Dual Motor equivalent, which breaches the $100K barrier.
The i3 was a ground-breaking electric hatchback from BMW.
Similarly, while the entry-level Model Y (from $72,300), Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric (from $72,990) and Lexus UX 300e (from $74,000) remain substantially cheaper in their base iterations, again, these are front-wheel-drive EVs. And you’ll need $79,490 for the Swedish-branded SUV to run on all fours with an electric motor on each axle.
However, as with the Tesla, the Ioniq and EV6 use a dedicated pure electrical architecture with technological advancements that – in reality – you’ll need to step up to the hugely impressive iX SUV from $135,900 to try and equal in a BMW.
In fact, all of the Bavarian brand’s EVs below the iX (including the iX1 and larger iX3 from $114,900) use modified internal combustion engine platforms. The same applies to the aforementioned Volvo and Lexus EVs too, along with most of Audi’s current EVs in Australia.
Another factor working in the iX1’s favour is that it also comfortably slips beneath Mercedes-Benz’s new EQB, that commences from $87,800 in 250 single-motor FWD guise (or $2900 more if you add its unique seven-seater configuration); for AWD, you’ll need the $106,700 EQB 350 4Matic five-seater.
Yes, you can argue that the smaller Mercedes EQA 250 remains cheaper at $78,513, but – that’s right – to match the xDrive30, you’re in $96,900 350 4Matic territory.
So, BMW is in with a real chance of establishing its burgeoning EV range in Australia with the keenly priced and thoughtfully specified iX1.