Another year, another cool car BMW won’t be selling in the US However, this time it isn’t going to only hurt enthusiasts. Instead, it’s going to hurt the average BMW customer, as the Bavarians are keeping the BMW iX1 on their home side of the Atlantic. And I think that’s a huge mistake.
The second-gen BMW X1 was a hugely popular car for the brand in North America. Customers here are in love with small premium crossovers, which is why every premium brand makes at least one. BMW has two, the X1 and X2. Mercedes has two, the GLA Class and GLB Class. Audi has one, the Q3. Lexus has two, the NX and UX. Acura has one, the RDX. You get the point. And all of them sell well, hence their continued existence despite the crowded market. So it seems that any small, premium crossover will sell well in North America.
So what was BMW’s thinking then for not selling the electric iX1 here? I honestly can’t figure it out. And what’s frustrating me most is the fact that I just drove the new BMW X1 (review coming very soon) and I can already say that the iX1 would crush it here in the ‘States.
There’s a lot to like about the new BMW X1 but its weakest link is its powertrain. Not that it’s bad, it’s actually pretty good. But it’s just another 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The market has enough of those. In fact, just about every one of the aforementioned cars uses such an engine. The BMW X1 xDrive28i, the car we get here in North America, makes 241 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque from its little four-pot. While the BMW iX1 gets dual electric motors, making it all-wheel drive, to make 308 horsepower and 364 lb-ft of torque. So you get more power, better efficiency, and zero emissions. What’s not to like?
Offering the BMW iX1 would also give the Bavarians an entry-level EV that’s also a great family car. The idea of a practical, electric, luxurious, spacious, comfortable, crossover from BMW would be extremely attractive to American customers. We’ve watched the market for years, seen what sells well and what doesn’t, and spoken to brands about what their customers say they want and we’re confident an iX1 would sell well here in the ‘States.
So not selling the BMW iX1 here in the Americas is a big mistake. It would be awesome, it would sell well, and it would allow BMW to offer the only EV in the crowded segment.