Competing with the likes of the Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron, the BMW iX is BMW’s new player. Having already began their electrifying journey, kicked started by the BMW i3 and i3s, we have big expectations for the new electric SUV.
First impressions? Simplistic, modern, bold, futuristic all comes to mind, especially when you look at the grille – which isn’t even a grille.
It’s actually called the “intelligence panel” – due to the number of sensors in it, for when drivers use the cruise control function, the car (like its sister, the i3, detects the cars in-front and around it). But the most interesting part of this grille is the self-healing properties.
In Supercar Blonde’s showcasing of the new car in November 2020, she explains how the huge grille can self-heal when heat is applied. So if you’re someone who lives surrounded by country roads or dirty tracks where stones fly everywhere, this is a serious game changer. If the grille gets chipped or scratched, once heat is applied or you can just leave your car in the sun, (kind of like a solar panel) the grille will heal itself. This self-healing technology is so the sensors in the grille can always see what’s going on 24/7.
Another new feature BMW have cleverly added, is under the BMW logo badge on the front of the EV, is where you can fill up the washer fluid, as there’s no need to open up the bonnet, because there’s no engine, the washer fluid has been moved out of the way of the battery.
Looking at the back of the EV, similarly to its older sister, the i3(s) – the BMW’s tail lights are extremely thin. In fact, Supercar Blonde points out that the iX’s lights are the slimmest ever on a BMW car. Gives you an idea of what the future is going to look like, right?
The shape of the car is also hard to miss with its super simplistic streamlines coating its carbon fibre tub. According to BMW, all the aero dynamic tweaks and lines they made to the car, including the refined bumpers, aero dynamic alloys and even the completely flat floor, all contribute to increasing the range by 40 miles!! With a drag coefficient of 0.25cd – BMW are showing us that’s it’s not just about the battery size!
Speaking of battery size, the BMW electric SUV contains a meaty 100kW battery powering two motors that supply a whopping 500hp! (That’s more HP than an M3!) 0-60mph in under five seconds and boasts a Tesla-beating range of 373 miles – However, this is the more expensive model of the two iX’s on offer (the BMW iX xDrive50). When I say expensive,I mean we’re talking about prices starting from £91,905. However, it’s £1000 more than the lower range Tesla model – so perhaps we are being too quick to judge?
The other iX model is the BMW iX xDrive40 – starting from £69,905, it’s not as pricey but of course, you’re not getting an as fast car, with nearly half the horsepower at 300hp, but you are still getting a decent range of 249 miles, which isn’t bad by today’s standard. 0-60mph in just over six seconds – but that’s not what an SUV is for right? Unless you are competing with the likes of Tesla’s Model X and Mercedes EQC or even the Jaguar i-pace.
So let’s talk about the charging – how long does it actually take?
The answer is not long – if you have a seriously big charger, that is.
BMW claim the iX can charge from 10%-80% in 40 minutes, but this would take a massive charger to do so, you’re looking at 120-200kW chargers, depending on which iX model you have. But realistically, there’s not enough of these big chargers around – This is why the Tesla Model X is perhaps a more convenient option as you have the luxury of having access to the 20,000 Tesla supercharger network.
However, I don’t see many BMW superchargers, do you? With the iX scheduled to come out November this year (2021) – we are lacking in superchargers! iX buyers will have to use smaller chargers which will take longer to charge. For example, on a 50kW rapid charger the BMW iX xDrive50 would take around 1hour 20minutes to get from 20%-80%.
I know what you’re thinking – but it’s still early days in the charging industry, with more charging stations (3kW-100kW) than petrol stations/forecourts – the UK are well on their way to improving drivers’ charging experiences.
Okay, so we’ve covered the outside of the iX, let’s take a look inside!
[Image reference: https://bit.ly/3d8oWCg]
Before you even look at the futuristic hexagonal steering wheel, you don’t need to look any further than the inside of the doors. If you’re feeling extra, the crystal seat adjustment function will be right up your street. Obviously this isn’t standard, the iX has the options of making a lot of the button functions in the car real crystal. Yes, real crystal! These buttons include the Start/Stop button, the gear toggle and even the BMW signature rotational controller for the driver display.
BMW have also vamped up their button style, using Shy Technology (when the technology is worked into the material). BMW haven’t held back with the Shy Technology, with all the buttons gone from the main dashboard, only a massive air vent remains – all the buttons including heated seats, aircon, etc have either been moved the centre console and infused into the material using Shy Tech, or can be found within the Mercedes EQC-like 15inch touch display, adjacent to the 12inc driver display behind the one-of-a-kind hexagonal wheel. These displays are powered by BMW’s fastest onboard computer yet – to give you an idea of the power, Supercar Blonde says in her showcasing youtube video that the computer can transmit all of the information on a DVD in about 1 second – wish we could say the same about the charging!
The iX is also the very first BMW model to have built in 5G network technology – enabling the car the provide the driver with important traffic information, including whether there’s a space in the Waitrose car park, by talking to other BMWs.
And the nifty functions don’t stop there – speakers aren’t just hidden in the door, they have also been added to the inside of the seat head-rests. And if you look up, passengers will see the panel-less electrochromic glass roof, that you can adjust the strength of, depending how much sunlight you want to come through.
Quick science lesson: Electrochromic glass uses technology similar to an LCD display, which uses liquid crystals, under precise electronic control, to change how much light can get through.
We live in a world of screens, so BMW have taken the liberty of adding an opening on the back of the driver’s and front passenger’s seat, below the USB charging ports, for iPads/iPhones to stand, so back seat passengers can enjoy a bit of Netflix on those long journeys.
Moving towards a sustainable future, BMW have made sure that this is their most eco-friendly car yet, even down to the finest detail of having the floor mats made out of recycled bottles – David Attenborough would be proud.
BMW have also taken extra measures to simplify the inside of the car as much as possible to provide more space and comfort for passengers, they have even gotten rid of the inside door handles, and replaced it with a small button and electronically opens the door for you. Gone are the days of working up a sweat from rolling down your car window!
To conclude, the iX is certainly looking to be a game-changer in the SUV journey to the electric future. Pieter Nota (Board member of BMW Group) has said that BMW consider themselves “the pioneers of electrification” and that there “is much more to come”, including the BMW i4 at the end of 2021, plus 25 new electric models by 2023, 12 of which will be fully electric.
Well we certainly can’t wait!
Let us know what you think in the comments below!