After the flop of the i3, BMW didn’t want to talk much about the electric revolution for a long time. But now the German automaker has plucked up the courage to build a similarly revolutionary car – except the iX is at the complete other end of the scale.
Berlin (dpa) – BMW is bringing a new all-electric SUV to the market that it hopes will challenge the likes of the the Audi E-Tron, the Mercedes EQC and EQS, and the Tesla Model S and Model X.
Designed as an electric car on its own platform and as a clean alternative to the conventional luxury SUV, the all-wheel-drive iX is also intended to appeal to previous buyers of the BMW X5 or X7.
With a length of almost five metres, it’s as long as an X5, even if it is a bit flatter and sleeker. Inside, with a wheelbase of exactly three metres, it even offers more space than a 7 Series, which benefits back-seat passengers in particular.
The boot on the other hand is rather average at 500 litres and there’s no frunk in the front where a conventional engine would be.
Although the performance of the iX does not reach the level of an internal combustion engine, it still enables the SUV to run comfortably in the fast lane.
The top model, the iX xDrive 50, comes with 385 kW / 523 horsepower, which can push the 2.5-ton car from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The top speed is 200 km/h.
The iX xDrive 40, which costs around 20,000 dollars less than the xDrive 50, provides 240 kW / 326 hp.
With the iX you shouldn’t have to worry about frequent stops to re-charge the battery. The basic power-pack has 71 kWh and is, according to BMW, good for 425 kilometres.
However, there’s also the option of a 111.5 kWh battery, which is one of the biggest batteries yet installed in a car. That has a range of 630 kilometres.
Of course the reality is always rather different, especially if you drive the car hard. But thanks to its intelligent route planner and well-measured recuperation, a good 400 kilometres should always be possible.
Charging is also quick, if you can find a powerful enough charger. The car can take up to 200 kW and in the ideal situation the iX will take in enough power in ten minutes to travel for 120 kilometres.
The car looks and feels like a BMW with its kidney-shaped grill and confident driving behaviour. However, in some ways it is a very different kind of Beamer.
The steering wheel has a very idiosyncratic shape, it’s more airy between the seats, and where switches, sliders and other controls used to be there’s now a stylish emptiness.
That’s because they have mostly been replaced by voice or screen controls. The large curved display contains a 12-inch digital instrument panel and a 15-inch infotainment screen.
The idea behind this is that driving has never been so relaxed. It’s for the same reason that the air suspension irons out even the smallest bump in the ground and special foam in the tyres silences the last bit of road noise.
The iX looks different, internally and externally, is a pleasure to drive, and offers significantly more space than a comparable X5.
The average buyer though is likely to be daunted by the car’s cost. When it comes to the price tag, the iX is very much a typical BMW. Prices in its home market start steep at around 77,300 euros and if you add additional options you can quickly find yourself paying twice as much.