BMW has been producing electric cars longer than most, but the iX represents a new generation and a significant step forward on several fronts. It also ushers in a new look which has garnered plenty of column inches. We will get the looks out of the way first. Styling is subjective, but the iX has clearly been designed to make a statement. It is polarising, but it is also distinctive so if you like it there really isn’t anything else on the road that looks like an iX.
Under the skin, BMW has started with a clean sheet, designing a bespoke EV platform that can swallow the big battery packs needed to power a full size SUV. In this instance you get 71 kWh (usable) battery pack which is an impressive 40% more energy dense than the 2020 i3 battery. This equates to a slightly underwhelming official range of 257 miles. If you give BMW enough money you can have a 105,2 kWh pack which delivers an excellent 380 miles, which feels more fitting, but the big increase in range comes with a big increase in price.
Charging is taken care of via a 11 kW onboard AC charger or with the 71 kWh battery pack the Ultra Rapid compatible 150 kW DC CCS socket. This is sufficient to gain around 59 miles in 10 minutes or a 10% – 80% charge in 31 minutes. This does mean that although the range is good rather than excellent you can get back on the road quickly if you can find an Ultra Rapid charger.
The iX also introduces the 5th generation eDrive which eliminates rear earth minerals whilst also being more space and energy efficient. Production is taken care of by the Dingolfing plant which produces the 5, 7 and 8 Series, which utilises 100% green power. The same is true for battery manufacturing and aluminium production partners, whilst the cobalt and lithium are purchased directly by BMW from Australia and Morocco before being delivered to battery providers.
Despite intelligent use of aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastic, the iX still pummels the scales at 2,440 kgs unloaded or 3 tonnes fully loaded. This does have the benefit of enabling a maximum towing weight of 2,500 kgs, so if you have a full size caravan the BMW will be up to the job, but you will have to factor in a reduction in range.
If you still aren’t sure about the exterior, the good news is that you can’t see it from the driver’s seat. Instead you get a front row seat to an executive interior which includes a massive curved display which combines a 12.3 inch information display and a 14.9 inch control display together behind a glass surface angled towards driver. It looks great and thanks to the BMW iDrive controller it is easier to use than purely touchscreen systems. In another first, it also ushers in the 8th generation operating system which promises a smoother and faster experience.
The iX does deliver Ultra Rapid charge capability, a first class interior, and a 2,500 tonne towing capability. BMW has also thought through the GHG emissions associated with production of both the car and the battery packs whilst also sourcing cobalt and lithium carefully. However the entry level 71 kWh battery is hampered by the substantial kerb weight delivering a real world range of between 170 – 250 miles which leaves you feeling a bit short changed. The solution of course is the 105 kWh pack, but the issue is that will leave you very short of change. It feels like the sweet spot is somewhere in between, but for now you pays your money and takes your choice.
Estimated real world range: 170 – 257 miles
Official range: 257 miles
Official electricity consumption: 207 Wh/km
Battery pack: 76.6 kWh (gross) 71 kWh (net) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty (>70% SoC)
Recharge time: 7 kW charge approx 11 hours 30 minutes; 11 kW charge approx 8 hours; Rapid CCS 50 kW approx 1 hour 10 mins (10 – 80%); Ultra Rapid CCS 150 kW 31 minutes (10 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.