An engineering achievement
BMW really hit the ground running when it came to electrified vehicles. There was the eye-catching i8 hybrid sports car and, but it was the smaller i3 which really put the company on the EV map. With a smart interior and a great powertrain, it was the premium electric car of the moment.
But that was a little while ago now. And though BMW made a big impact initially, it seemed to stall a little without any new EV models. However, that’s set to change as the brand is ramping up its all-electric presence, and one of the key ways it’s planning to do that is with the new BMW iX.
It’s the first in a whole new wave of BMW EVs and it arrives with a noticeably different exterior design – though that’s something we’re coming to expect from BMW now. It’s packed with technological advances, too, while underneath is a platform that has been designed solely for EVs, rather than adapted from existing petrol or diesel-engined vehicles.
Impressive range and performance
The iX employs two electric motors – one on each axle – which in turn provide all-wheel-drive traction. There are two model options as well – the xDrive40 and xDrive50 – with the former bringing 321bhp and 630Nm of torque and the latter 516bhp and 720Nm of torque.
We’re focusing on the more potent xDrive50 today, which brings an impressive 0-60mph time of just 4.4 seconds, as the instant torque brought from the electric motors means there’s zero delay between pressing the accelerator and rocketing forward.
A large 76.6kWh battery means that the xDrive40 can deliver a range of between 231 and 264 miles, while the enormous 111.5kWh battery in the xDrive50 can return a range of between 341 and 391 miles. Charging speeds are 150kW and 195kW respectively, which means that both can be topped up from 10 to 80% in just over half an hour.
A smooth operator
The weight of batteries means that most EVs are significantly heavier than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts. The same is true for the iX, but BMW has somehow managed to counteract this additional weight and make the car’s ride almost magic-carpet-smooth. With air suspension, it glides over lumps and bumps in the road effortlessly, while when cornering there’s a surprising lack of body roll considering the car’s size and weight.
A raised ride height means that you get a good view of the road ahead, while expertly light steering means that the iX is easy to pilot in urban environments too. While plenty of window width also helps to enhance visibility.
Spacious and sophisticated
As the BMW iX has been designed on a platform made specifically for EVs, it can make the most of the additional space afforded by an electric platform. As a result, it benefits from a flat-floor construction which helps to make the whole cabin feel genuinely spacious. The overall material quality is exceptional, too, while the driving position is perfect.
The BMW iX also debuts BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment system, and it’s one of the highlights of the car. The curved display incorporates a pair of screens, with one replacing the traditional instruments ahead of the driver, and the second managing the main infotainment system. Both are clear to read, and simple to use, with an operating system that’s easy to get used to.
Innovation at a premium price
Prices for the BMW iX start at £69,905 for the xDrive40 and £91,905 for the xDrive50 in entry-level Sport trim. This specification brings 21-inch wheels as standard as well as LED headlights and tail lights. A gloss black trim helps to extend the premium feel of the car, while ambient lighting and four-zone air conditioning are added as standard. The innovative curved display is included too, as is a Harman Kardon sound system and wireless charging tray.
Move up to M Sport – priced from £72,905 for the xDrive40, and £94,905 for the xDrive50 – and you’ll get an Anthracite interior headlining, a full M Sport exterior styling package, and air suspension. The latter is added to both the front and rear of the car on xDrive50 models, and just the rear on xDrive40 cars.
Tech mastery with divisive design
The BMW iX arrives as BMW’s flagship EV and it certainly lives up to the challenge. Not only is it impressively comfortable, but it’s well made, both inside and out, and exceptionally fun to drive, especially on windy roads. The top-spec model brings a huge amount of range, while the lower-powered model will easily slot into everyday life for those making the change to all-electric.
While the BMW iX’s looks (especially the grille) might be a point of contention for many, it’s well worth trying it for yourself. You just might like it.