ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW BMW iX
The arrival of the iX is the pinnacle of BMW electrification strategy; a SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) with a decent range of 612km (380 miles).
Alas, all too often with many EVs they are let down by poor range. With this new member to the BMW EV family comes the premiere for the new generation- iDrive powered by Operating System 8, the most extensive set of standard driver assistance systems ever seen on a BMW. The range includes a choice of iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive50 variants with both Sport and M Sport trim choices available. The iX is the first model based on a new, modular, scalable toolkit on which the future of the BMW Group will be built. Conceived from the outset for purely electric mobility and sustainable manufacturing techniques, the new iX combines locally emission-free driving pleasure and sporting agility with a highly usable operating range and luxurious spaciousness.
BMW see this new model as their technology flagship which brings together the company’s latest developments in the strategic innovation fields of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification and services to create a premium mobility experience that is unmatched in its segment.
Looking at power and performance, the iX xDrive50 has a combined output of 523bhp and the iX xDrive40 produces 326bhp, (the model I tested) and is able to cover up to 414km (257 miles) on a single charge. Powerful performance is instantaneous and all with zero tailpipe emissions and both versions are equipped with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, making the newcomer the very first all-wheel-drive pure electric vehicle produced by BMW. Looking at the performance figures for the two variants, rest to 100kph (62mph) 4.6 and 6.1 seconds respectively and top speed for both 200kph (124mph). The battery range is complemented with flexible charging that is designed to be as convenient as possible. DC power can be taken on board at a rate of up to 195 kW iX xDrive50) or 150 kW (iX xDrive40). This allows the battery charge to be increased from 10 to 80 per cent in around 35 minutes in the iX xDrive50 or 31 minutes in the iX xDrive40. Both variants will be available in Sport or M Sport trim levels, with the extensive standard specification including 21 inch alloy wheels, Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, climate comfort windscreen, four-zone air conditioning, heated front seats, wireless phone charging and Shadow Line exterior trim and an array of options, including dedicated Packs. The iX M60 which, with an expected maximum output in excess of 600bhp, promises an exceptionally sporty all-electric driving experience, so watch this space.
Now to looks, and it’s a new departure for BMW and on a personal level, the jury is still out. Certainly the styling is imposing with distinctive SAV proportions the precisely crafted details create a distinctive appearance that exudes luxury. Length: 4,953 millimetres, width: 1,967 millimetres, height: 1,695 millimetres (xDrive50 = 1,696 millimetres); these allow it to combine the functionality of the X5 with the dynamism of the X6 and the imposing appearance of the X7. Standout exterior features include the almost completely blanked-off BMW kidney grille, the surface of which is the product of innovative manufacturing techniques and which incorporates camera and radar sensors. The full LED headlights are also the slimmest units ever to feature on a series-produced model from this German carmaker. I give full marks to the interior, the spacious cabin and newly developed seats with integral head restraints set a luxurious tone and the absence of a centre tunnel creates extra legroom and plenty of space for both storage and a centre console designed in the style of a high-quality piece of furniture. The control panel with active haptic input as well as a rocker switch for gear selection adds some very modern touches. As well as the new Curved Display, the polygonal steering wheel and frameless projector integration for the optional Head-Up Display further add to the focused driving experience. There is also a choice of three different types of upholstery trims for customising the interior. Behind the wheel I got a real feel of luxury and with the host of driving aids, this BMW does deliver the ultimate driving experience.