BMW has finally unveiled what it hopes to be a very competent competitor to Tesla’s current offerings. The concept has been known as the iNEXT for the past few years, but today it was finally shown off with an official designation, iX.
The sizing of the iX looks to be a bit larger than what we at first anticipated. While many were expecting a medium-size crossover, the iX is will actually be of comparable size to both the BMW’s X5 and X6:
The exterior of the BMW iX represents a distinctive re-imagining of the powerful proportions of a large BMW SAV. The BMW iX is comparable with the BMW X5 in length and width, and is almost the same height as the BMW X6 on account of its flowing roofline. The size of its wheels, meanwhile, brings to mind the BMW X7.
BMW did not take the opportunity to use their electric cars to experiment with departing from their current design language. The iX is unmistakenly a BMW from any angle you look at, down to the gigantic new kidney grills that they are slapping on all their new models (despite, you know, not needing large amounts of airflow to a non-existent engine). Since there is no engine, BMW has stated that much of the airflow in the grill has been blocked out and has instead made the grills a hub for all of the vehicle’s technology.
Since the electric drive system of the BMW iX requires only a small amount of cooling air, the kidney grille is completely blanked off. Its role has duly turned digital and here it functions as an intelligence panel. Camera technology, radar functions and other sensors are integrated seamlessly into the grille behind a transparent surface.
If I were to give my opinion, I am not a fan of the looks of the iX, as I am not a big fan of the design that BMW is currently going towards throughout their entire lineup. The proportions of the car look a little off to me and I will never ever not bring up how comically large the once iconic BMW kidney grills have become.
However, the iX does do well to look modern and makes good use of blue accents around the car that give hints to the SUV’s electric powertrain. And at the very least it does well to be aerodynamically competent with a drag coefficient of just 0.25.
While I am critical of the exterior, I do happen to be a fan of the interior in the iX. The iX makes well to separate it’s entire from that of the standard BMW’s much more than the exterior stands out from the baseline BMW.
The interior features a nice two-tone black and light blue fabric that gives the interior an inviting and comfortable feeling to the minimalistic design. Of course, it wouldn’t be an electric car without having some large screens, and the iX is no exception. BMW has chosen to go with one large screen that is curved and divided in two with one side for the instrument cluster and the other for the infotainment.
Some other quirks include the oddly hexagonal-shaped steering wheel that does give an air of sportiness to the cabin. In the driver’s armrest, you will find additional controls such as the drive modes as well as several wheels and knobs to interact with the infotainment. Interestingly enough there are some capacitive buttons on what appears to be wood, rather than the typical piano black trims that we see in other cars. The iX will also feature the now ubiquitous fully panoramic roof to give optimum sky views to its five occupants.
The specifications for the BMW iX are pretty straightforward. BMW is stating that there will be a “gross energy content of more than 100 kWh ” and that it would be good enough to get the iX to a 300-mile range based on EPA testing. So overall not the best efficiency, but given the size of the vehicle, it’s not the end of the world.
Power will be delivered to two electric motors combining for a total output of about 500hp that will allow the iX to hit 60mph in about 5 seconds. You’re not gonna be winning many races, but you will be competitive with most other SUVs on the market.
Finally, BMW has noted that the iX will have a charge rate of 200 kW, which puts it an awkward middle ground between the widely expected 150 kW and 250/350 kW charge levels. Still, it should be notably faster at charging than most other vehicles on the market, but it will not get close to fully saturating new 350 kW ultra fast-charging stations.
BMW did not give too many details of things such as autonomous driving, but BMW did say that the iX “provides the platform for significant progress in the areas of automated driving and digital services”. Additionally, the iX offers 20 times the processing power of any other model in BMW’s lineup.
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development noted:
“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX. The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system,”
So while we know BMW is planning to have some decent technology in the iX, we don’t have enough specifics to make any sort of judgements about the system.
Price and Production
BMW did not give a price for the iX. However, during the time of the iNEXT concept, BMW stated that they would like to have a competitive price to Tesla’s offerings and would target a price of around $40,000.
Given that the iX shown has over an over 100 kWh battery, it would be basically impossible for BMW to offer it at that low of a price, and so we might have to look forward to a lower ranged, cheaper, version of the iX in the future.
Update: BMW has revealed two trims for the iX, the iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive50 with the xDrive40 starting at 77,300 EUR which puts it alongside the price of a combustion-engined X5.
The BMW iX will go into production during the second half of 2021 at their Dingolfing plant.
What do you guys think of the iX? Let us know down in the comments below.