BMW unveils the iX electric SUV
BMW has given us the first glimpse of the iX flagship electric SUV. The brand calls it the first model based on a new, modular, scalable future toolkit, so it’s safe to say the brand will showcase multiple models based on this platform in the future. The BMW iX comes in with a new platform, design language and a host of connected tech, will go into production at BMW Plant Dingolfing from the second half of 2021, with further models to follow soon thereafter.
Starting off with the design, BMW says the exterior of the BMW iX is a reimagining of the proportions of the brand’s existing range of SUVs, being comparable with the BMW X5 in length and width, and almost the same height as the BMW X6 on account of its flowing roofline. Further the size of its wheels, meanwhile, will be similar to those on the BMW X7.
Up front is the prominent, vertically emphasised kidney grille, albeit blanked out considering the electric drive system. Nevertheless, it functions as an intelligence panel, seamlessly integrating camera technology, radar and other sensors the grille behind a transparent surface creating high-tech interface for the advanced driver assistance systems with which the BMW iX paves the way for automated driving.
“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 lineup, 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,” says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.
Flanking the grille is a pair of slim headlights (a design theme replicated by the equally slim and sheer taillights). Moving to the side, we see flush-fitted door openers (operated at the press of a button, like the Jaguar i-Pace), and frameless side windows.
The front end of the car, the underbody section, the wheels and the rear end gives the BMW iX optimised aerodynamics for a positive effect on both the performance and range. The BMW iX boasts outstanding aerodynamics for its class, with a drag coefficient of just 0.25.
Moving now to the powertrain; Based on BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive tech, it comprises two electric motors, the power electronics, the charging technology and the high-voltage battery. The electric powertrain will develop a claimed output of more than 493bhp, enough to power the iX from 0 to 100kmph in under 5 seconds.
Manufactured sustainably, as BMW says, without the use of critical raw materials known as rare earths, the batteries fitted in the BMW iX are designed as part of a long-term resource cycle and enable an exceptionally high recycling rate. The power used to produce the battery cells and the high-voltage battery as a whole come exclusively from renewable sources, and are capable of recording a range of over 600km. Additionally, the BMW iX enables DC fast charging at up to 200 kW. In this way, the battery can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in under 40 minutes. Added to which, within ten minutes enough energy can be fed into the battery to increase the car’s range by more than 120km. It takes less than eleven hours to charge the high-voltage battery from 0 to 100 per cent at 11 kW from a wall-mounted outlet.
Moving finally to the interiors, it features a mixture of high-quality materials, newly developed seats with integral head restraints and an exceptionally large panoramic glass roof. The hexagonally shaped steering wheel, a rocker switch for gear selection and the BMW Curved Display – which forms part of the next-generation BMW Operating System – clearly advertise the futuristic form of driving pleasure on offer.
The electric drivetrain means there is no centre transmission tunnel, allowing extra legroom in the front and rear, and sufficient space for storage facilities. The displays and controls are all stripped down to the essentials, with the tech bits becoming visible only when needed. This approach can be seen in a number of features, including speakers integrated out of sight, intricately styled air vents, heated surfaces and the discreet recessing of the BMW Head-Up Display’s projector into the instrument panel so it is almost invisible.
“The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotionally engaging design. The car is technologically highly complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The BMW iX offers a mobile living space in which people will feel at ease and the car’s intelligence is always available without becoming obtrusive.”
As mentioned, the iX won’t make it to a production reality until end-2021, and will come to India (if at all it does) not before the mid of 2022. At that time, it will go up against other luxury EVs, like the Mercedes EQC and the upcoming Jaguar i-Pace.