Until now, it was up to the 7 Series flagship to showcase the technological advances developed by BMW in each new generation. This is no longer the case and now the new iX electric SUV takes over from the representative saloon as the maximum exponent of the advances planned for future models of the Bavarian brand. From the beginning, it must be clarified that the iX is a new concept model and that it does not share anything with the rest of the range. Designed from scratch, it introduces the concept of sustainability in all phases of its development because its entire manufacturing process uses renewable energy and is built with recycled materials that can be reused in a circular economy industrial system.
Another important advance that the iX provides is its connectivity, which takes a very noticeable leap by incorporating 5G technology into its operating systems, greater processing capacity (20 times more), and a new generation of sensors that pave the way before the arrival. of autonomous driving.
This deployment also enables other advances, such as remote mechanical monitoring, which allows variables such as tire wear or inflation pressure to be controlled from the workshop. And also the correct functioning of the mechanical organs can be solved telematically or by notifying the owner of the need for maintenance.
Likewise, the new connection capabilities make it easy to temporarily hire numerous functions, such as driving assistants necessary for long trips, and download them into the car when the customer wishes.
Up to 631 kilometers
The BMW iX is offered in two versions depending on its battery, which can be 71 or 105.2 kWh (net capacities). The first is called iX xDrive40 (87,150 euros) and yields 326 hp with a range of 425 kilometers (WLTP), while the second iX xDrive50 (104,150 euros) goes up to 523 hp and approves a range of 631 kilometers.
BMW iX All-wheel drive
Both are 4 × 4 tractions as they have two engines, one on each axle, and debut BMW’s fifth generation of electrified technologies, achieving an efficiency of 93% when it comes to taking advantage of the available energy.
Despite the large dimensions of the iX, its performance achieves very sporty values, with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h of 6.1 seconds and falling to only 4.6 in the most powerful version. But it generally maintains very reasonable official consumptions that range between 18.8 and 23 kWh / 100 km. And they are very close to the real ones, as confirmed by those registered during the first contact in a varied route of highway and county road with frequent unevenness: 19.7 kWh.
Regarding battery recharging, it supports fast direct current (DC) charges of up to 200 kW, with which it recovers from 10 to 80% of its total capacity in 40 minutes and achieves an extra 120 kilometers of autonomy in just ten minutes.
Big but easy to drive
The iX is an exclusive full-size SUV, 4.95 meters long, with a striking body with a somewhat futuristic appearance and more typical of a prototype or concept car displayed at a motor show than of a production model. Shapes that technically achieve outstanding aerodynamics (Cx = 0.25), a decisive characteristic in electric cars to guarantee optimum efficiency on the road.
At the wheel, it is surprising for the ease of driving despite being a very large car with a high weight (up to 2,510 kilos in the higher version). Stability is very good thanks to the well-established rigidity of the chassis and the efficient suspension that, optionally, can be air-damped to further improve dynamism and comfort.
On the open road, the iX has a very consistent feel and inertia is barely noticeable, keeping it flat to the ground even when cornering at high speeds. But under braking and in tight turns on mountain roads, the considerable weight imposes its dynamic limits.
The new BMW electric only has one gear, but three driving modes can be selected: Personal (tailored to the driver’s preferences), Sporty and Efficient. And you can also select a B mode that allows you to drive with a single pedal, without using the brake.
BMW iX The grill that repairs itself
Everything in this car is special and different from what you are used to. From the monocoque body, made of steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum, to the wheels with aerodynamic Air Performance rims (21 or 22 inches) and the tires, which have an interior foam to dampen rolling sounds and do not disturb inside the cabin.
The iX is not lacking in other striking innovation details that set the tone for future automotive applications. For example, the characteristic front grille, which is now a key part of driving because it interfaces with the road by incorporating various assistance systems on its back and is also covered with a special polyurethane layer that repairs itself. when it is damaged by some friction or impact.
The bodywork draws attention to various details that make the difference from the usual cars. For example, the windshield washer reservoir is filled through a hidden socket under the hood logo, since this can only be opened at the official dealer to avoid accidents with the powerful electric current stored in the high-voltage battery.
The door handles are also different than usual since they do not protrude from the sheet metal and, both from the outside and the inside, are activated by pressing a button. In addition, the rear camera that controls vision in reversing has an automatic cleaning system that is hidden in the logo on the tailgate.
And inside, a series of cameras allow occupants to take pictures while traveling, but also serve as an effective anti-theft system for the owner, recording, and warning of any intrusion.
Sound by Frank Zimmer
And inside it also breaks the classic aesthetics of the German brand. A highly technological-looking dashboard featuring a heated multifunction steering wheel that is hexagonal for the first time at BMW, and two wrap-around displays, one 12.3-inch for instrumentation and the other 14.9-inch touchscreen for multimedia information and with which can handle countless functions, making almost all the buttons on board disappear.
The seats, also newly developed, and the habitability takes special care of the occupants and surprises the materials used in the trim, especially the textiles present in coverings that are normally plastic.
Up to thirty Bowers & Wilkins system speakers ensure perfect sound from the audio system, but also counteract rolling noises and offer occupants a unique listening experience with five selectable artificial sound modes created by famous composer Frank. Zimmer.
On the roof, the large glass panel (optional) is the largest ever installed on a BMW. It increases the feeling of spaciousness and is another of the technological innovations of the iX since it is made up of laminated glass that automatically darkens in sunlight thanks to an electrochromic mechanism.
And behind the practical aspect has not been forgotten, since it has a 500-liter boot that can be enlarged to 1,750 by folding down the rear seats.