BMW has a long history of creating amazing art cars. It all started back in 1975 with the BMW 3.0 CSL designed by sculptor Alexander Calder, which now has the status of an automotive legend. In 1979, after a few more art cars were designed by different artists, the Bavarian brand unveiled the M1 painted by Andy Warhol himself. The industry is changing, however, and BMW’s marketing efforts are focusing on electric mobility, and the latest art car to come from Munich is the iX1.

The iX1 is a small electric crossover, which was unveiled more than a year ago. It is not going to be available in the United States but in other regions around the world, customers can choose a dual-motor electric powertrain with a peak output of 313 bhp (230 kilowatts) and 364 pound-feet (494 Newton-metres). It serves as an alternative to the regular combustion-powered X1 models, offering a range of up to 272 miles (438 kilometres) on a single charge thanks to a 64.7-kilowatt-hour battery package. 

Gallery: BMW X1 art car

The iX1 you see in the gallery above isn’t an art car just for the sake of being such. With its debut, BMW celebrates a new long-term partnership with the Stadel Museum, which is one of the most renowned and oldest museum foundations in Germany. The design of the cute crossover comes from artist Marc Brandenburg, who has artistically implemented the aspects of time, space, and speed in the design of the vehicle. BMW’s latest art car is currently exhibited in the Stadel Museum located in Frankfurt, Germany.

The iX1 becomes the first crossover art car. Its predecessors have mostly been performance and sports cars, including legendary models such as the M3 (E30), 635 CSi, 525i, and 850i CSi. In fact, BMW doesn’t consider the iX1 a fully-fledged member of its art car lineup as it is more of a design exercise to celebrate the new collaboration with the Stadel Museum. Since 1975, a total of 19 art cars have been created by BMW in collaboration with different artists. The next in the pipeline is scheduled to follow next year and to be designed by Ethiopian painter Julie Mehretu.