After BMW introduced the new iX model, which is exclusively electric, the traditional struggle came against what it looks like.
It has to be different, after all, to show you what the future will look like. Everything is subordinated to this. Put it next to the Model X from the American carmaker and it will be clear who is the bearer of progress here. We have tried the most powerful version so far, called xDrive50.
The look can really shock some people, but that’s exactly what the carmaker is currently promoting. The large anterior kidneys might not even be in the front, but instead of the cooling function, they are home to all front sensors. The large sensor field has a special surface that has a self-healing ability. In the case of scratches, it is sufficient to heat the polymer with a heat gun or hair dryer and the surface will return to the factory state.
The use of materials is interesting. Composite plastics and carbon are in many places. For example, the entire boot lid is plastic. This is not only because of the weight, but also because of the shapes into which it would not be possible to form sheet metal. It includes complete lights, which could represent the invisibility of the car after opening, but BMW also thought of this case and the trunk lid, which is almost 120 centimeters wide, has a few more lights under it. We have already seen this on the first generation Opli Insignia station wagon and it works as it should, so this idea is proven in practice. We have looked at a few more aspects that are either unique or at least interesting.
The faucets are located under the floor and are completely flat. After all, all-wheel drive does not need any gimbals or physical connections. Here, the brain in the form of a control unit and the cable connection between the individual components are enough. That’s why there’s an extremely lot of space in the back. The floor plan is iX at level X5, height X6 and the interior size on the rear seats is close to X7.
A very interesting feature on the rear seats is the ability to turn your legs towards the center and get even more space. The backrest part is also adapted to this position, which is extended at an angle at the sides, so that sitting at an angle is also comfortable. Any tall figure can fit in the back. She doesn’t mind the coarser contours of the floor. The batteries themselves are 140 millimeters high, which means that the floor is slightly thicker than in ordinary cars.
The luggage compartment also comes to the fore. It doesn’t look so huge at first glance, but it can hold 500 liters in the standard seating arrangement. It is less than the X5, but the space is pretty regular and can be packed for a holiday trip.
All iX versions have xDrive all-wheel drive. It consists of two electric motors, which is quite logical and expected. The more powerful version of the iX xDrive50 has a total output of 385 kW (523 hp). Even more interesting is the torque of 765 Nm. The transmission has only one forward gear and one reverse gear.
Although the performances are interesting, the weight has jumped above the values achieved by the X5 with the V8. It is up to 2585 kilograms. To this is added a payload of 560 kilograms and in total this electric SUV is worth 3145 kilograms.
Two and a half tons reach 100 in full seconds at full acceleration in Sport mode. It is felt in my hands that the weight is not at the level of Caterham, but that does not change the fact that the brutal acceleration will surprise many drivers unfamiliar with the immediate haul of electric cars. Sport mode not only talks about the more extreme reactions of the steering wheel and accelerator pedal, but also about setting the air suspension to a stiffer style. The recuperation represented by mode B on the glass gear lever is very strange at first. Energy recovery is really massive and the car slows down so that the use of otherwise efficient brakes is usually unnecessary.
For electric cars, the most important factor is how far they travel and how fast they can be charged. The BMW iX xDrive50 has a larger battery than the xDrive40. The capacity reached a total of 111.5 kWh. Li-Ion batteries have 10 modules, which is, in case of failure, changed separately. This is a contribution to better recycling. After the analysis, it is even possible to detach the individual modules and replace the cell, but this is a more complex process possible only at a specialized workplace in the factory.
And now the drive. Official data says that the iX xDrive50 can handle up to 623 kilometers on a single charge. It can be real. However, there were also significantly fast crossings and German unlimited motorways in the test route, on which we reached the highest speed set by the limiter. After 240 kilometers, 46 percent still remains in the battery, which, when testing the dynamic parameters, can definitely be considered an excellent value. After all, consumption finally reached 22.6 kWh per hundred kilometers. In reality, however, this car could be driven in less than 20 kWh per hundred kilometers.
Charging is a chapter in itself. From 10 to 80 percent, the battery gets in half an hour and five minutes. But realistically, depending on the charger, it can be replenished up to 150 kilometers in 10 minutes. However, we are still at the level of theoretical recalculations according to data from the WLTP cycle.
After starting with the button on the combined control center, there is silence. The control center with wood and crystal is beautiful, especially when the sun’s rays hit it. Then the refraction of light gives all the colors of the rainbow. The only disadvantage is that the control wheel has lost the ability to enter the address by touch.
But back to silence. In the standard mode, the silence is complete, the engines cannot be heard and the sound from the wheels is suppressed quite decently. Aerodynamic noise is minimal thanks to the coefficient of air resistance of only 0.25. However, if you are one of those who need sound, then Hans Zimmer, a well-known composer of film music, created for BMW Iconic Sounds. They are perfectly suited to the expression of the car and perfectly complete the atmosphere when accelerating and driving.
However, the silence is interrupted by music from the apparatus. That is, in the case of Bowers & Wilkins presentation vehicles. Here is the biggest shock of the 4D Sound Experience. Under the seat is a small subwoofer that gently vibrates the back of the seat at a certain frequency of sound in the song. Written, it may seem strange, but in real feeling, this is the fourth dimension of sound expression.
What makes the iX an advanced vehicle speaks not only from the fact that it can handle the third level of autonomous driving, but also from everyday use. When using the iPhone with the iOs 15 system, it has the option of uploading the car key directly to the wallet in the mobile phone. So you can lock your car with your mobile phone and you don’t even have to pull it out of your pocket. Just come to the car and it will unlock.
The second stage is the MyBMW application, with which you can even take a 3D photo of the car’s surroundings even from a distance. It takes a while, but the result is impressive. This is really the future. Interestingly, BMW did not put the iX in the standard handle. Instead, they are just buttons outside and inside. However, for emergencies, there is still a classic mechanical release on each door.
The new iX uses a new information and entertainment platform system numbered 8.0. It uses voice control and the option of widgets and various shortcuts has been added to the screen. At first it doesn’t look like extreme progress, but the return to 7.0 shows how far the eight has moved. In fact, it’s the difference between Windows 7 and 8, just in BMW, everything worked on the first try.
The top model of BMW’s electric range has a base price of 80,876 euros, but if you want more range and more battery capacity, you have to reach for the xDrive50, which costs 100,526 euros. This will not be the most powerful alternative, as the M60 version will come at the beginning of the year.