It seems like every new BMW is accompanied by an all-electric variant these days, and the same is true today with the reveal of the new third-generation U11 X1. This is the iX1, the first zero-emission version of Munich’s entry-level SUV and the fifth of a new range of electric vehicles based on regular models, after the iX3, i4, i3 and i7.

As with those cars, the iX1 utilises BMW’s fifth generation of eDrive motors, replacing the regular X1’s front-mounted engine and gearbox. Just one variant is available at launch, the xDrive30, powered by a motor on each axle to provide all-wheel drive and a total system output of 200 kW (272 PS) and 494 Nm of torque.

A temporary boost function bumps up the power output by 30 kW (41 PS) under hard acceleration to 230 kW (313 PS), enabling the iX1 to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 180 km/h. The car has the smallest lithium-ion battery amongst its siblings at a still-respectable 64.7 kWh, providing a range of between 413 and 438 km on the WLTP cycle.

The iX1 can be charged at up to 11 kW on AC power, which can fill the battery in six and a half hours. This can optionally be bumped up to 22 kW, trimming this number down to three hours and 45 minutes. Alternatively, the car can accept up to 130 kW of DC fast charging, topping the battery up from 10 to 80% in 29 minutes and adding 120 km of range in just 10 minutes.

Included as part of the powertrain is a Combined Charging Unit that integrates the functions of a voltage transformer, charging electronics, power distribution and management of the motors, battery and charging. The system’s updated software, first used in the i7, smoothly reduces the charging rate after a certain point to reduce temperatures (instead of dropping down multiple steps), shortening charge times.

Further optimisation of DC charging comes by way of alternating between full and partial cooling, preventing temperatures from dropping too far. This helps to not only reduce charging times but also the ageing process of the battery cells. A more efficient heat pump is also fitted to the iX1, which can then be used to preheat the battery for DC charging, either manually or automatically when approaching the charger.

As with most EVs, the iX1 uses recuperative braking to maximise range, with an adaptive system able to take into account data from the navigation system and driver assistance sensors. This will slow the car down when it senses a roundabout or other vehicles in front, for instance, without touching the brake pedal. The maximum recuperation rate is 60 kW, or 120 kW with the brake pedal depressed.

The rest of the car is as per the standard X1, sharing the same basic structure, revised design and new technologies. On the outside, this includes trapezoidal LED headlights (with inverted L-shaped daytime running lights), large square double kidney grilles, a heavily sculpted bonnet, squared-off wheel arches, minimalist body sides (cleaned up by flush door handles) and large three-dimensional L-shaped taillights. Adaptive headlights are available as an option, incorporating Mazda CX-30-style pulsating indicators.

Unique to the iX1 are blue highlights that include L-shaped front and rear bumper corners and side sill trim. There’s also the obvious lack of exhaust pipes and the closed-off front grilles; the latter, together with the front air curtain inlets, aero wheels, tailgate spoiler, large rear diffuser and flat underbody (the underfloor battery is also sealed) allow for a drag coefficient as low as 0.26.

Inside, the iX1 gets a similar interior concept that was introduced on the U06 2 Series Active Tourer, with a large centre air vent and twin vents ahead of the front passenger. There’s also an upright storage console for a smartphone (where the optional Qi wireless charger sits) and a floating armrest with a toggle-style gear selector. The iDrive rotary controller has been ditched here, as with its MPV sibling.

Thus, your only way of controlling the infotainment system is with the 10.7-inch central touchscreen, which forms part of the Curved Display panel that also incorporates a 10.25-inch instrument display. The whole shebang runs on the latest BMW Operating System 8, offering crisp and colourful graphics, customisable instruments and integrated controls for the standard dual-zone climate control.

Also standard is the cloud-based BMW Maps navigation system with iX1-specific features, including routing optimised for charging if the car’s range isn’t long enough to complete the journey. It will also display additional information at charging stops, such as estimated remaining charge upon arrival, recommended charging time and target charge level.

Despite the battery being located underneath the car’s floor, the iX1 offers nominally less boot space than its petrol and diesel siblings at 490 litres (-50 litres), although you can still fold the rear seats down to boost space luggage capacity to 1,495 litres (-105 litres). The electric version also doesn’t get the sliding rear seats available as an option on models with pure internal combustion engines.

Keeping noise at bay are several sound-insulating measures that include improved door and tailgate sealing, a new door mirror design and quieter tyres. The iX1 also benefits from the specific mounting of the motor and associated electronics and transmission (all in a single housing) and a soundproofed and double-decoupled air-conditioning compressor. As with other electric BMW models, the iX1 gets the IconicSounds Electric driving sounds created in collaboration with renown film composer Hans Zimmer.

Under the skin, the iX1 inherits the new X1’s lighter, more rigid construction – which utilises steel and aluminium – and revised MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension. The car also gets a bespoke front sheer panel, a front strut tower brace, stronger front and rear cross members, an optimised load-bearing battery casing and the standard fitment of Adaptive M Suspension that is optional everywhere else.

The iX1 will be built alongside the regular X1 at BMW’s Regensburg plant in Germany – including the battery – with the motors and associated components assembled in nearby Dingolfing. Sales are slated to kick off in November, a month after the petrol and diesel variants.