BMW has a new electric flagship. With the i8 supercar headed for the showroom in the sky, and the quirky i3 best suited to well-heeled city dwellers, the new iX will spearhead the Bavarian brand’s aggressive push into the world of electric vehicles.
While most of BMW’s upcoming electric vehicle range is based on models with a combustion engine, the iX is sure to grab attention with its distinctive design and electric-only status.
Born from the 2018 Vision iNext concept, the production iX has a unique platform and an aluminium spaceframe structure with liberal lashings of carbon-fibre.
It’ll go head-to-head with the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC when it arrives in Australia, offering up to 600km of range from its 100kWh battery pack and completing the 100km/h sprint in less than five seconds.
Among the car’s many distinctive design features, the iX has a body that mixes curved and flat surfaces, a tall double kidney grille, thin lighting strips, prominent blue highlights, frameless door windows, and a clamshell tailgate.
Thanks to its flat undercarriage, flush-fitting door handles and closed-off grille, the iX has a drag coefficient of 0.25 – a pretty impressive number for a large crossover.
In completing the journey from iNext concept to iX production, BMW has kept the same basic design while losing some elements, like the rear-hinged doors.
As with the exterior, the interior is also a marked departure from the BMW norm with a “lounge-like” cabin featuring BMW’s largest ever panoramic roof, and front seats with integrated headrests.
The material for the seats – whether it be fabric or leather – is also liberally applied to the doors and dashboard top.
According to BMW, the centre console has been “crafted to look like a high-quality piece of furniture” and optionally features a crystal-like finish for the infotainment touch controller. Glass-look pieces are also used for the electric seat controls and volume rocker switch.
Ahead of the driver is a hexagonal steering wheel, and a large freestanding curved block housing a 12.3-inch instrumentation display and a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, which controls most of the car’s features.
Traditional physical buttons have been pared back to the window switches, door locks, demisters, volume rockers, and cruise control settings, although there are capacitive buttons on the steering wheel and centre console.
Standard features include LED lights, 20-inch alloy wheels, a 2.5-zone climate control system, and a head-up display.
Options include 21- and 22-inch alloy wheels, Laserlight matrix headlights, titanium bronze highlights, open-pore wood trim, a heated steering wheel, and a large panoramic glass roof with electrochromatic shading and no supporting struts.
Also available is a Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 30 speakers – eight of which integrated into the headrests – and a ‘4D Audio’ setup with magnetically-controlled shakers in the front seats.
In terms of size, the iX is said to be around the length of the 4.92m X5 and as tall as the 1.7m X6.
The iX has a two-motor all-wheel drive system making a total of 370kW, and should be able to complete the 0-100km/h dash in under 5.0 seconds.
Equipped with a battery rated at 100kWh gross, BMW believes the iX will have a range rating of between 480km and 600km depending on the testing cycle used – the more generous figure comes via WLTP, while the US EPA FTP-75 standard nets lower figures.
The iX supports DC fast charging up to 200kW, which can top the car up from 10% to 80% within 40 minutes. A full charge takes 11 hours using BMW’s 11kW wallbox.
BMW says the iX "will launch in Australia in the second half of 2021", with pricing yet to be revealed.
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