With the BMW 8 Series and the more controversial 3 and 4 Series out of the way, BMW has finally pulled the sheet of the iX – the production version of the Vision iNext Concept. This large, all-electric BMW is fully connected and semi-autonomous, but the model that you see here is just a prototype as BMW claims the iX is still in its “series production development phase.”
The BMW iX is based on an all-new architecture that was developed specifically for battry-electric vehicles, and while it will make its debut with the iX, it will eventually be used on an entire fleet of BMW branded EVs. There are plenty of new innovations and benefits over BMW’s current electric architecture, but the most important is probably the benefit the company is the most proud of – the level of computing power has been increased so much that the iX and any other vehicle riding on this architecture will be able to process 20 times the data volume.
If you want to talk about size, the iX is actually somewhat small for a “flagship” model. Unlike the massive 8 series, for example, the iX sits a little lower in the hierarchy. It’s the same length as the X5, has the same wheel size as the X7, and sits precisely as high as the X6. On paper, these dimensions make it seem like it would look a little weird, but as you can see from the pictures, it’s a fine-looking piece of machinery.
Naturally, it has absorbed BMW’s current design language, so those big bulky kidney grills from the 3 and 4 Series are here, albeit in more of an electrified form. The grille is actually home to a range of sensors, radar technology, and even a camera – all of which will be used by the semi-autonomous driving system. As BMW’s Senior Design VP, Adrian an Hooydonk, put it:
“The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotional design. The car is technologically complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated. The BMW iX offers a mobile living space in which people will feel at ease, where the car’s intelligence is only there when you need it.”
The BMW iX’s Interior Is More Interesting Than the Exterior
The exterior is certainly interesting, but the interior will certainly garner some unique attention. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that hexagonal steering wheel – it’s the first to be found in a production vehicle. BMW says it “improves ease of access and gives the driver a better view of the information display.” The cabin also features the largest glass surface of any BMW built to date, and the unique two-tone interior layout is certainly worth noting. On that note, we’d be slacking if we didn’t point out that certain things don’t really look “normal.”
Take the way the door handles transition into the door trim, for example, or how the HVAC vents in the center awkwardly stop 15-percent or so past the halfway point of the dash. The joined instrument cluster and infotainment center also look like they were added as an afterthought with the supporting arms being visible – not something you’d really expect from BMW. We wouldn’t go so far as to say it looks bad, but it’s definitely unexpected.
The BMW iX is Powerful But Not Too Powerful
This is an electric flagship SUV, so it’s not designed to offer gut-grabbing amounts of power or crazy acceleration. It’s not a slouch, though. There are two electric motors that are capable of delivering “more than 500 horsepower” or 375 kilowatts. BMW claims the iX can hit 62 mph (100 kph) in under 5.0 seconds. The motors are powered by a 100-kWh battery pack that is said to offer enough juice for a 300-mile journey on a single charge. This range is said to be measured by the EPA’s GTP-75 test procedure. For those of you in Europe, you can expect some 600 km, based on Europe’s WLTP testing procedures. These are, of course, not set in stone and are “based on the car’s current stage of development,” so the range could get better or it could get worse.
As far as charging goes, BMW seems to have broken a lot of ground here. The BMW ix is capable of DC fast charging at up to 200 kilowatts, which is enough to get you to a 70-percent charge in around 40 minutes. BMW also claims that a 10-minute quick charge can get you 75-miles (120 km) of juice. As of now, there’s no word on exactly when the iX will hit the production line, but BMW says it’ll be ready to start production in the second-half of 2021 with the official market launch happening at the end of 2021 – making the iX a 2022 model.