The iX is not due on sale for another year, but BMW is keen to show the world what its all-electric premium SUV looks like.
Along with many premium manufacturers, BMW is pushing ahead with all-electric vehicles and specifically premium electric SUVs. We’ve already seen the iX3, which is based on the X3, revealed earlier this year but the iX is its own platform and designed to be an electric car from the conceptual phase.
BMW plans to have 5 EV models on sale by the end of 2021 and 25 in total by the end of 2023. The adoption of electric vehicles since the worldwide lockdown due to Covid19 has increased throughout Europe unexpectedly quickly and the manufacturers that are further ahead down the electric pathway are set to make early gains in market share that could be long-lasting.
Electric power and range
The BMW iX is equipped with a battery of over 100 kWh (similar to that of the Tesla Model S and Jaguar i-Pace). The power unit also uses no rare earth raw materials so according to BMW is manufactured in a sustainable manner. The power unit is capable of producing 370 kW which will push it along to 100 kph from a standstill in 5-seconds flat. There’s no mention of how much the iX weighs but with a powerful battery like that it’s likely to tip the scales at well over 2-tons.
In terms of efficiency, the iX claims 21 kWh per 100 km which equates to 600 km of range on the WLTP cycle. The figures provided are not official yet but are based on the car’s current state of development.
Impressively the BMW iX can accept DC fast charging of up to 200 kW. Charging the battery from 10-80 percent at 200 kW occurs in under 40 minutes. Connected to a home charging system, it takes around 11 hours to recharge the battery from flat.
BMW is still seemingly convinced by the polarising front end grille on its latest cars.
The kidney grille will no doubt be another talking part in the iX’s design. The kidney grille is completely blanked off as there is no need for it to be used as a cooling device anymore. Its role has turned digital and here it functions as an intelligence panel. Camera technology, radar functions and other sensors are integrated into the grille behind a transparent surface. The iX is also fitted with 5G capability allowing it to process data faster than ever and improve certain live functions. The automated systems such as parking features and automated driving have been improved with the latest updates.
BMW has decided to give the iX a lot of open space in its design. There is no centre tunnel which allows for more legroom in the front and rear while allowing BMW designers to create a new centre console that looks like a huge floating armrest.
The infotainment screen and surrounds look devoid of any button clutter at all, ushering all interaction to the centre rotary dial or the touchscreen system. It looks clean and minimalist which BMW is calling ‘shy tech’. The shy tech approach for the interior can be seen in a number of features, including speakers integrated out of sight, thinly-styled air vents, heated surfaces and the recessing of the BMW Head-Up Display’s projector into the instrument panel so it is almost invisible.
Coming to SA?
BMW plans to put the iX into production in the second half of 2021. There is no information yet on whether it will be available locally yet but with the positive push from BMW to move towards electric, there is the intention to spread its electric lineup beyond Europe. SA will first see the iX3 on sale locally in Q4 2021 with perhaps this iX only arriving in 2022.