BMW iX Revealed: 500bhp Electric SUV

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BMW iX 3

Most leading manufacturers – in particular the ones from Germany – are making big claims about being pioneers of our future cars. Mercedes has the futuristic, Avatar-inspired Mercedes Vision; Audi seem to have been more into the movie ‘I, Robot’ when you consider it’s ‘AI’ concepts; now, the BMW iX that looks as though it was pulled straight from…you decide which sci-fi film motor it resembles…is here to throw its hat in the mix.

The BMW iX is expected to be available from 2021, but is it the right car for you? Find out everything we know about it – from technical specs to price – in this article.

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What is the BMW iX?

BMW iX 5

In its simplest form, the iNext is an electric family SUV. Nevertheless, what makes it way more than just another jacked-up EV is far more than simply a manufacturer’s promise to deliver more range from a bigger battery.

Range is the hot topic for electric cars, but this is arguably fuelled (ironically speaking) by drivers’ concerns over switching to one of these models from a standard petrol, diesel or hybrid unit, rather than being a focal point for vehicle innovation.

This is where the BMW iX hopes to take the market by storm and really ‘wow’ us with fully-autonomous driving systems, crazy artificial intelligence interfaces and a design that genuinely looks futuristic – almost like what the i3 did way back in 2013.

The iX will be based on the Bavarian manufacturer’s brand-new platform that supports internal combustion engine (ICE), plug-in hybrid and all-electric models. It will be about the same size as the current X5, making it the largest electric SUV in the brand’s entire range.

Read on for more details about what the iX’s onboard tech features include and how much you can expect to get one for.

Exterior design

BMW iX 6

We need to address the elephant in the room here, and by that we mean the huge vertical grille which – rather menacingly – stares you in the face when you look at the iX from the front. It’s rather divisive, so some of you out there might like the bold, expressiveness of it, while others might just think it looks downright ridiculous.

Besides from the BMW badge on the front and rear, there isn’t a great deal about the car that’s instantly recognisable as a Bimmer. A lot of this is to do with the fact that the iX is using a brand-new platform and so its underpinnings are entirely different from existing ‘X’ models.

BMW is quick to point out the reasons behind the benefits of the new look, which may be enough to swing your decision about whether to get one.

These include:

  • Improved aerodynamics due to lightweight design – aluminium spaceframe and carbon cage used for added stiffness.
  • Discreetly positioned tech that doesn’t defer from the car’s design – for example, the door handles don’t protrude, the windscreen washer fluid reservoir is concealed underneath the BMW badge and the rear-view camera is integrated into the logo on the rear.
  • An “intelligence panel grille” – camera technology, radar functions and an array of other sensors are fitted into the huge grille on the front of the iX, which explains its prominent size. In fact, no part of the grille is used for the purpose of electric drive system cooling, as it only requires a small amount.

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Interior design

BMW iX

Everything about the interior of the BMW iX is centred around creating a relaxing, spacious ambience that’s synonymous with these futuristic models. Unfortunately the method of creating this wasn’t as dramatic as the concept model suggested, where hand-woven fabric upholstery draped the rear seats.

That isn’t to say the production version is disappointing – far from it in fact. As standard there’s a panoramic glass roof that allows floods of light into the cabin and BMW has even conscientiously included a new lounge-like new design for the seats that have integral headrests for increased comfort.

For those up top, this openness is accentuated by the removal of a central tunnel and creating an uncluttered dashboard that isn’t dominated by complex buttons and switches.

Price and features

BMW iX 1

According to a BMW press release, €400M has been invested into upgrading its Dingolfing factory (which produces the current 7 Series, 8 Series, M5, M8 and more) to produce the iX.

So, given this large investment on the part of BMW, you can expect a pretty hefty price tag for what will be its grade-A family car. In the same breath, the asking price guarantees you access to one of the most modern, tech-savvy Bimmer’s ever.

See below key feature highlights and pricing for the iX.

  • Starting from £70,000-£100,000 (exact price TBC).
  • 500bhp two-motor drivetrain.
  • 375-mile WLTP driving range on a single charge.
  • 120kWh battery expected with rapid charging.

BMW iX onboard systems

BMW iX 2

Although the concept car promised us ‘Shy-Tech’ that would transform surfaces of the car into touch-sensitive user interfaces that could control its systems, we’ve seen a different result in the production model.

Here there’s a wooden surface in the centre console that houses tiny electric switches for things such as changing driving modes and controlling the infotainment system. It still looks avant-garde and ultra-modern, aided by the new transparent, crystallised iDrive controller that also has touch-sensitive surface on top.

Initial images look promising for the iX’s infotainment system too, which protrudes from the dash and has a sleek, frameless build. BMW has also revealed that the car comes as standard with a head-up display, something which seems to be standard on any plush family car that wants to be taken seriously.

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