The BMW iX is an all-electric SUV with an electric driving range of up to 380 miles and a ‘lounge’-style interior, as seen in the BMW i3.
BMW was a leader in the world of electric cars back in 2013 when it launched the i3, but the brand hasn’t given us any other all-electric cars ever since. That has now changed with the appearance of the i4, and the iX. Whereas the i4 is essentially a 4 Series Gran Coupe both outside and inside, the iX is an all-new design and it appears to try and merge the i3 design approach with a large SUV. So does this work?
In our eyes, the latest BMW X5 has attractive styling which has successfully evolved over the years. So, just like the i4 being an evolution of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, it would be reasonable to imagine that the iX would feature some of the curves of the X5. But no; the iX instead appears to be the result of some experiment to enlarge a BMW i3 into an SUV. The result is a ‘lounge’-like interior, and a boxy exterior, with a very large grille – especially for an electric car. Design is a subjective thing, but what you can’t argue with is that the iX is a departure from BMW’s recent styling approach.
The interior also has many features that appear to be influenced by sparkly jewellery; again this is a matter of personal taste, but some might say that the interior – and perhaps the overall car – is a bit blingy.
Other news is the size of the battery – the iX xDrive50 has a very large (and therefore heavy) 105.2 kWh battery with a 380-mile range (with the iX xDrive40 having a 71 kWh battery with a 257-mile range). Both models have an electric motor on the front and rear axles, giving all-wheel drive.
This is a big SUV, or SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) in BMW speak – so you’d expect it to be spacious, which it is for passengers – although it’s only a five-seater – and the boot is a decent 500 litres with the rear seats up, or 1,750 litres with the seats down.
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The BMW iX xDrive40 weighs 2,365 – 2,440 kg, or 2,510 – 2,585 kg in the case of the iX xDrive50, so this is a heavy car. So let’s agree now that we’re not going to be able to describe the driving experience as agile, and we won’t be talking about rewarding BMW handling. But the iX is comfortable, with excellent ride quality.
All the main features of an electric powertrain are present, such as refinement and instant torque. The 0-62mph acceleration time of 4.6 seconds or 6.1 seconds (iX xDrive50 and iX xDrive40 respectively) is accompanied by a sporty/futuristic Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
The xDrive50 has a power output of 523hp with a huge 765Nm of torque and the iX xDrive40 produces 326hp with 630Nm of torque. Despite all the power and torque, with electric all-wheel drive, the iX is very surefooted. However the iX can also operate in rear-wheel drive only for increased efficiency if all-wheel drive isn’t needed. There are three levels of brake energy recuperation, which have to be accessed via the touchscreen.
When driving you’re always aware of the ‘lounge’-style interior environment, which is a different approach to the more conventional i4 interior. BMW’s excellent iDrive system remains (now with Operating System 8) with very clear information including navigation, which appears on the touchscreen, the instrument display in front of the driver and in the head-up display. However the iDrive rotary controller sits on a wood-effect background, and the writing for the different shortcut buttons – and other controls – isn’t very clear compared to BMW’s more usual white writing on black background.
Our relatively short drive at the launch event didn’t allow us to live with the new Operating System 8 for any length of time, but BMW says that a key feature is the greater capability of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. BMW also claims that the iX comes equipped with the most extensive set of standard driver assistance systems ever seen on a BMW.
The BMW iX xDrive50 has a towing rating of an immense 2500 kg.
The BMW iX xDrive50 has an impressive electric driving range of up to 380 miles and the iX xDrive40 has a 257-mile range.
The iX xDrive50 can rapid charge up to 195 kW, although the iX xDrive40 can only charge at up to 150 kW. This allows the battery charge to be increased from 10 to 80 per cent in around 35 minutes in the BMW iX xDrive50 or 31 minutes in the BMW iX xDrive40 (with a smaller battery). This means that a ten-minute rapid charge can provide extra range of 90 miles in the case of the iX xDrive50, and over 59 miles for the BMW iX xDrive40. The iX can also charge at 11kW, ie. three-phase workplace charging.
A heat pump aims to ensure that the battery range doesn’t suffer too much in winter when the heating is on.
BMW iX retail customers get subscription-free access to ‘bp pulse’ and ‘IONITY Plus’ packages for the first 12 months of ownership.
How to charge an electric car
The BMW iX is available as iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive50 variants with Sport and M Sport trim choices.
The iX xDrive40 Sport is priced at £69,905; the iX xDrive40 M Sport at £72,905; the iX xDrive50 Sport at £91,905; and the iX xDrive50 M Sport at £94,905.
Standard specification of all models includes 21-inch alloy wheels.
The BMW iX M60 is due at a later date, with over 600hp of power.
The BMW iX is a very competent car, providing a useful electric driving range of up to 380 miles, and a comfortable driving experience. Performance is impressive despite the weight of the car. The ‘lounge’ interior offers a different style to the more conventional BMW interiors found in the likes of the i4. The boxy exterior also offers a different approach to the more curvy styling of the X5. With prices ranging from £69,905 to £94,905, the iX isn’t cheap. The BMW iX is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.