The first BMW SUV developed as an electric model from the ground up was unveiled this week as the BMW iX. Derived from the BMW iNext concept (BMW Vision iNext), the BMW X5-class pure electric luxury SUV targets customers of the Tesla Model Y and the Audi e-tron.
The BMW iX can be compared to the BMW X5 in length and width, and it is almost as low as the coupe version of the same – the BMW X6. From the standpoint of design, it is like no BMW that’s on sale today, be it the exterior or the interior. The BMW iX places the foundation stone for the brand’s design language for next generation EVs.
The BMW iX sports sleeker and sharper design compared to other BMW SUVs. At the front, the large electric SUV looks ahead with the slimmest headlights ever on a mass-production BMW and an intelligent vertical kidney grille whose surface has a 3D pyramid structure. The bonnet has pronounced 3D sculpting extending up to the headlamps and the grille, and the bonnet lines converge on the latter.
The twin headlights are Adaptive LED units with matrix function and a new type of BMW Laserlight module. As for the vertical grille, this is the newest iteration of BMW’s ‘like it or leave it’ kidney grille, and the company calls it “a technologically lavish advertisement for intelligent mobility.”
The kidney grille is blanked off and serves the function of an intelligence panel; the sensors and the camera needed for autonomous driving are discreetly mounted behind what’s easily the most controversial part of the car’s design. If the tech or its form didn’t impress you, know that it is a self-healing panel – an additional polyurethane coating ensures that minor scratches would disappear within a day at room temperature or just 5 minutes if warm air is supplied.
The BMW iX flaunts 22-inch ‘Air Performance Wheels’ that are 15 per cent lighter than conventional alloy wheels, flush door handles and frameless windows – a first for a BMW SUV car. Also worth mentioning are electric door openers operated at the press of a button – even the BMW Group flagship RR Cullinan doesn’t offer this feature. Virtual mirrors from the BMW iNext haven’t transitioned to production, but the conventional mirrors are slender and have a slim geometry that aligns with the new type of proportions for this series-production BMW SUV.
The rear-end portrays the BMW iX’s minimalist theme with a small amount of joints and character lines, accentuating its width and gives it a powerful presence. Complementing the highly sophisticated appearance are the tail lamps, which are the slimmest for a series-production BMW.
BMW has positioned the reversing light and fog lights along with the reflector in a similar noticeably slim strip in apron. The secondary light units are placed at the outer edges of the SUV – these include the rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators, and so, all the relevant light signals are visible even when the tailgate is ajar.
The interior of the iX is miles ahead of any BMW cabin in showrooms today featuring a lounge-style ambiance. This is where the BMW iX has the most visible advantages over the Model X and makes the latter’s cabin seem mundane and outdated. The company has reduced displays and controls to the essentials, which benefits in two ways: uncluttered look and added space.
The dashboard panel may appear odd in the first look, but the beautifully curved display panel seamlessly combining the virtual instrument cluster and infotainment system displays overshadow it. There’s no center tunnel interrupting the width in the front area and one can shift from a driver seat to the passenger seat and vice-versa without needing to step out. Racing aficionados would appreciate the hexagon style steering wheel, which is a first for a Bimmer.
BMW has paid attention to the selection of the interior materials and trims, and the efforts seem to have paid off. Polished crystal applications, natural leather upholstery, blue & black color scheme and wood trim make the iX look appealing and comfortable.
Shy tech, as seen on the kidney grille, is present in the cabin too. The midrange speakers, for example, are hidden in the seats. Another fine example is the discreet recessing of the head-up display projector into the instrument panel, which makes it invisible. Also worth mentioning is the rocker switch for gear selection that takes the place of a conventional gear selector lever.
The BMW iX employs a completely new aluminum spaceframe architecture and a ‘Carbon Cage’ – both firsts for a BMW. CFRP components have been used on the side frame, rain channels, cowl panel, rear window frame and roof frame, which together form the Carbon Cage.
The BMW iX employs the fifth-gen BMW eDrive motors, one at the front and one at the rear. BMW hasn’t reached the final figures, but it is confident of achieving a combined power output in excess of 370 kW or 500 hp from the motors. That would be sufficient to propel the all-electric SUV from 0-62 mph in under 5 seconds. BMW plans to offer the iX with a 100 kWh (gross) battery pack and is targeting a range of more than 600 km in the WLTP cycle.
First BMW iX deliveries are scheduled to commence in late 2021 globally.The BMW iX will compete with the likes of the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQE SUV. Though BMW India has not given guidance on the launch of the iX, it is keen to launch electric vehicles when the charging infrastructure improves in the country. EVW believes that the skeletal infrastructure that EESL is laying out would convince the brand to drive in EVs in the second half of 2022.
BMW iX FAQs
What is the BMW iX release date?
The iX global deliveries commence in late 2021 and it is expected in India in the second half of 2022.
What is the BMW iX range?
BMW plans to launch the iX with a 100 kWh (gross) battery pack and is targeting a travel range of 600+ km in the WLTP cycle.
Which cars could be considered BMW iX rivals?
iX rivals will include the Tesla Model X, the Audi e-tron and the upcoming Mercedes EQE SUV.