The iX is the first electric SUV from BMW for the U.S. market, it’s a full-fledged luxury vehicle, deviating from the styling, proportions, and interface that BMW has used in previous SUVs. Rivals to the iX include the Tesla Model X, Audi E-Tron SUV, Cadillac Lyriq, and Mercedes EQS SUV, and those aiming for a more rugged aesthetic might consider the Rivian R1S.
The BMW iX will spearhead the next generation of BMW’s electric-vehicle lineup, evolving beyond the quirky i3 city car and the futuristic i8 near-supercar. BMW said that battery-electric vehicles such as the iX will make up more than half of its plan to sell 25 electrified vehicles (including plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids) globally by 2023. The iX will be complemented in dealerships by the i4 electric sport sedan, which also debuted last week and is sized similar to the Tesla Model 3.
Styling is going to be the most polarizing attribute to many who consider the iX. It looks to the now-discontinued BMW i3 hatchback for some of its design inspiration and carbon-fiber details. A rather conventional crossover utility profile is mashed up with some very unconventional details—like frameless doors, a very large patterned faux-grille, and taillights that don’t match those used in other BMWs before. Inside, the look is radically different, with new switchgear and a hexagonal steering wheel design.
The iX is built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform, and its dual-motor system makes a combined 516 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque, enough to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The iX M60 makes 610 hp and 811 lb-ft and can do the dash in 3.6 seconds, also adding an adaptive air suspension, a firmer suspension, and M Sport upgrades. Rear-wheel steering is also available, and even with the huge 22-inch wheels, the iX has a serene, almost pillowy ride quality.
Driving range is impressive for a large, tall EV. The iX earns EPA range ratings up to 324 miles from its 106.3-kwh battery pack which should also provide a low center of gravity for better handling. Regenerative braking can be set to at least three positions, with an available one-pedal driving mode that should recoup the most energy from the wheels and also bring the vehicle to a stop.
With a Level 2 240-volt home charger and an 11-kw on board charger, the BMW iX should charge from empty to full in less than 11 hours. On a Level 3 DC fast charger rated at 200 kw, the iX can gain 75 miles of range in 10 minutes or charge from 10% to 80% in 40 minutes, BMW said.
The interior comfort and the feature set might just win over some of those design doubters, though. The iX comes in Shadowline and Sport appearance versions, while options—some grouped into packages—include a head-up display, four-zone climate control, radiant heat, 30-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound, a panoramic sunroof, and laser headlights.
Seating space and comfort are strengths for the iX’s vast interior. A long tray beside the seats offers plenty of stow space for smaller items, and with the rear seatbacks folded, cargo space bumps from 35.5 cubic feet to 77.9 cubic feet. The BMW iX is 195 inches long, 77 inches wide, and 67 inches high overall, overall dimensions that will signal a three-row SUV to some, only the iX has two rows and seating for five. That said, the iX’s dedicated EV platform means it’s one of the roomiest five-seaters on the market; nearly as large as BMW’s bigger X7 SUV.
All versions of the iX include the Live Cockpit Plus infotainment system, with a curved display that spans from instrument cluster screen space over to a wide-format 12.3-inch touchscreen system that boasts wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. BMW’s iDrive controller banks less on its jewel-like rotary controller, to the point where you might as well get your finger out and reach for an icon on a screen. There are shortcuts and redundancies, but the myriad of icons can be daunting when trying to find something underway; this would pass after a longer learning curve.
There are two different looks to the iX; Shadowline and Sport. The former serves as the base model for the lineup, at $86,545, with the feature set including the panoramic roof (with electrochromic shading), a Connected Package Pro with data and telematics services, and the Active Driving Assistant (active cruise control with lane keep assist), which helps make sense of the rounded/hexagonal steering wheel. Step up $2,800 to the Sport and you get 21-inch Aero bi-color wheels plus dark trim and taillights.
A $2,300 Convenience package adds a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, Harman Kardon surround sound, gesture and voice controls, and supplemental propulsion sounds. A $4,000 Premium package adds those items plus multi-functional massage front seats, an interior camera, and 30-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound. A $950 radiant heating package is a standalone option, although four-zone climate control is included across the lineup.
The 2022 BMW iX50 is impressive, purely for what BMW has been able to achieve. While BMW is not new to electric vehicles with the quirky i3, BMW was smart to use those teething years to learn from electric vehicles as a whole. Those years of learning payoff dividends as the new 2022 BMW iX is a pinnacle of automotive EV engineering. The new iX is one of those stunning vehicles that does everything well; cutting edge technology, efficient powerful powertrains, and driving dynamics that usher in the next generation of electric vehicles.
Image Source: letspicsit / Shutterstock