What is it?
The EV fight in the luxury space has now begun in earnest. Mercedes opened the show with the EQC in 2020, Jaguar with the i-pace, Audi with the e-tron earlier this year and now BMW with the iX. It’s an all-electric SUV (as one would expect in this era) and is also our first glimpse of the BMW range of the future. We’ve had a chance to get up close with the iX and here is everything we learnt about the car.
How is it on the outside?
On the outside, the BMW iX is very much a BMW SUV in terms of the silhouette and overall design but with touches that show you where BMW is taking its cars for the future. The most dominating aspect of the iX’s face is the signature kidney grille which is massive and while no longer an actual grille is something you will not miss. Moving outwards from the grille, you get these slim full-LED headlamps and these two ‘L’ shaped elements (electric blue for our show car) that sit on the bumper. There are no other design elements on the face and that should more or less ensure that maximum attention to the new age kidney grille.
In profile, the iX shares its design with the current generation X5 thanks to the shape of the roofline, as well as the area under the D-pillar having wide haunches. You get a contrast coloured design element for the bottom of the doors and these very funky looking 21-inch silver wheels that have aerodynamic inserts between the actual spokes for reducing rolling resistance.
The rear design feels most like any of the current ICE powered BMW models thanks to the shape, size and layout of the elements. Like the front, the tail lamps too are slim full-LED units (wraparound of course) and sit on the edges of the body while the BMW logo is below the glass and sports a blue ring thanks to the electric nature of this car.
How is it on the inside?
Step inside, the iX and it almost feels like you are getting into a concept car. There’s a sense of familiarity with everything you see but in a very minimalistic layout indicating (once again) where BMW wants to take its cabin design in the future. The highlight of the dashboard is the massive two-piece screen that’s oriented towards the driver with almost all functions being routed through the infotainment side of the display. The steering is flat bottom but feels much like what BMW offers in its current range of vehicles which is a good thing as it will be one of the elements that will feel familiar to those looking to move up in the BMW family.
Our media vehicle had the whole cabin trimmed out in a suede-like material which has been made from other recycled cloth and the actual India spec vehicle, when launched, will get full leather upholstery in a variety of colour options. However, the layout, elements and colour schemes will remain unchanged for the car that will be delivered to the customers.
Given the car’s length and wheelbase, space is not an issue at all both in the first and second row. In the latter, the floor is flat with even a slightly raised area under the front seats for maximum comfort for the rear occupants. While space is not an issue, we did find that the rear seat base is a bit low and the middle occupant for the second row will have to contend with a large console that houses the aircon vents and charging sockets.
One of the features we liked was the button-operated door opening mechanism on all the doors. They are located on the door and even have a backup mechanism just above the door pockets. The boot is massive and with the rear seats folded down, you have an almost flat and wide space that’s more than capable of holding a lot of cargo if you figure out how to smartly package everything.
A common trend by manufacturers in the electric space has been to offer interior design very similar to that of their conventional range for a variety of reasons that include cost, brand identity to help existing buyers transition to their newer vehicles. BMW, in the iX, has taken this philosophy and interpreted it in a way that has allowed them to bridge both their current vehicle design as well as what is coming down the road from them in the future.
What’s on the feature list?
The iX gets all the usual niceties one would expect in a car of this class, segment and price bracket. This list includes multi-zone climate control, dual full HD digital displays, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, frameless windows, parking assist plus, head-up display, virtual assistant and wireless charging. On the safety front, there are eight airbags, a stability programme, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, TPMS and BMW’s Active Protect Assist as well as Driving Assist.
What about the battery and powertrain?
The iX in this xDrive40 gets two electric motors that produce 321.5bhp/630Nm with a single-speed transmission sending power to the rear wheels. The xDrive is primarily an RWD system with the front getting power only in low grip situations. You get a 76.6kwh battery pack that has a WLTP range of 425km and the capability to take advantage of a charging system of up to 150 kW. BMW says that when charged at this level you can regain a range of 95km in just 10 minutes.
All buyers will get an 11kW wallbox/3-phase charger and an emergency 2.3kW/single charger as a part of the deal when buying the car. All of BMW’s dealerships across the country have been fitted with fast charging capability as well as the capability to service the iX offering the chance of pan India ownership right from the beginning.
Price and competition
BMW at the time of writing this story, has priced the iX at Rs 1.16 crore (Introductory all-India ex-showroom) with deliveries starting in the first quarter of 2022. It’s the first of its new generation EVs and will be joined by an electric Mini and the i4 sedan by the second half of 2022. The iX is a rival for the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi e-Tron, Jaguar i-Pace, Porsche Taycan as well as future models from Maserati.
Photography: Kapil Angane