In addition to the full reveal of the i4, BMW has also released the finalised specifications for the iX. Munich’s flagship electric SUV will finally go on sale starting in November with a slight increase in power and range compared to what was revealed in March.
As previously reported, the car will be available in two variants from launch, both with two motors and all-wheel drive. The xDrive40 employs the services of a 190 kW (258 PS) front motor and a 200 kW (272 PS) rear motor, although total output is limited to 240 kW (326 PS) and 630 Nm of torque.
This variant gets from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and is equipped with a 71 kWh lithium-ion battery, located in the floor of the car. With a power consumption rating of between 19.4 and 22.5 kWh per 100 km, the xDrive40 delivers a claimed range of 425 km on the WLTP cycle.
While the xDrive50 only has a slightly more powerful 230 kW (313 PS) rear motor, overall output has been bumped up some 145 kW (197 PS) over the xDrive40 to 385 kW (523 PS) and 765 Nm. So equipped, it sprints to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds on its way to an electronically-governed top speed of 200 km/h, the latter shared with the xDrive40.
It also has an impressive range of 630 km thanks to a 105.2 kWh battery and a combined power consumption figure of between 19.8 to 23.0 kWh per 100 km. Later on, there will be an M Performance model, the iX M60, which will deliver over 440 kW (600 PS).
To extract every last kilometre of range, the iX comes with adaptive kinetic energy recuperation that adjusts itself based on navigation data and information from the driving assistance sensors. For instance, the car will increase energy recuperation when coming to a junction to slow down and coast on the open road to maximise efficiency, with recuperation only reengaging when approaching a vehicle ahead.
Drivers can also choose from three other modes for full-time energy recuperation, with the maximum setting – selectable by engaging the “B” position on the stubby gear selector – offering one-pedal driving, slowing down to a complete stop.
Charging the iX with 11 kW of AC power takes around eight hours for the xDrive40 and under 11 hours for the xDrive50, with support for up to 22 kW charging to be offered as an option at a later date. The range-topping model also supports up to 200 kW of DC fast charging, which can charge the car from 10 to 80% in 35 minutes and add up to 150 km of range in just ten minutes.
The relevant figures for the xDrive40, which can accept up to 150 kW, are 31 minutes and 95 km respectively. The car will automatically prime the battery’s temperature prior to reaching the charging station using the integrated heating and cooling system. The latter’s heat pump uses ambient air and dehumidification and motor heat to help increase range by 10% – up to 40 km in extreme situations like stop-start traffic.
Under the skin, the iX utilises an aluminium spaceframe, with carbon fibre side frames, rain channels, roof frame, cowl panel and rear windscreen frame forming a Carbon Cage (an evolution of the 7 Series’ Carbon Core) to increase rigidity and reduce weight. The carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastics in the cowl and rear windscreen frame, for instance, save five kilograms compared to equivalent steel panels.
Suspension consists of double wishbones at the front and a five-link axle at the rear, incorporating a stiff aluminium front sheer panel, elastic subframe bearings for improved noise isolation and specially-tuned rear elastokinematics for better comfort. Lift-related dampers, which debuted on the G20 3 Series, are fitted as standard, with adaptive dampers, air suspension and rear-wheel steering available as options.
The near-actuator wheel slip limitation technology, a quicker and more precise form of traction control, is also incorporated for the first time on an all-wheel drive model. The brake-by-wire system, on the other hand, provides precise braking modulation and consistent pedal feel while eliminating unwanted pedal feedback when energy recuperation is being used.
We’ve had seven months to digest the iX’s blocky looks, but the car still looks mighty imposing (some will say ugly) in pictures. The front is dominated by the full-height double kidney grille – now blanked off and housing cameras, radar and other sensors for the driving assistance systems – flanked by flat rectangular headlights. The lamps feature LED technology and “eyebrow” daytime running lights at the top as standard, with Laserlights and matrix high beams optional.
Along the side, you’ll find squared-off front and rear fender bulges and a black D-pillar panel with iX branding, the latter giving the car the ubiquitous “floating roof” look. The slim L-shaped taillights are integrated into the full-width tailgate, giving a look vaguely similar to the Audi Q7. The iX also features what BMW calls “Shy Tech”, which includes the flush door handles, the windscreen washer filler hidden under the front BMW badge and the reverse camera and associated washer within the rear roundel.
Aerodynamics have been optimised through the streamlined body, slim door mirrors, Air Curtain inlets on the front bumper (emphasised by the triangular black panels on the Sport model, giving the front a cross-shaped graphic) and slim door mirrors with integrated aero fins. The flat underbody and rear diffuser also reduce drag, with the front end sporting fins to direct air around the front wheels to reduce turbulence.
Overall, BMW is claiming a drag coefficient figure of just 0.25, plus a range improvement of over 65 km thanks aero elements around the car. These include an active air intake shutter that alone contributes 25 km to that figure, as well as the Air Curtains and rear windscreen “blades” that add another 15 km.
The iX comes as standard with aero-optimised 20-inch alloy wheels, with buyers able to specify Air Performance wheels in either 21- or 22-inch forms. These weigh up to 15% less compared to conventional wheels and feature inserts that give the rollers a flat design, boosting range by as much as 15 km.
Measuring 4,953 mm long, 1,967 mm wide and 1,695 mm tall, the iX is about as long and wide as an X5 and as tall as an X6, with wheel sizes equivalent to the X7. The long 3,000 mm wheelbase and wide front and rear tracks are said to improve the car’s ride and handling characteristics and should provide generous space for passengers and luggage.
Inside, the iX sports a clean and minimalist aesthetic, with a flat horizontal dashboard and a large curved display panel also found in the i4. There are also lots of diagonal lines running through the cabin, including in the door cards where the grab handles are hidden. Buttons operating electronic door releases replace the traditional mechanical pulls, while the power seat adjustment controls have also been moved to the doors, replicating a design that Mercedes-Benz has implemented for decades.
The seats themselves are fitted with integrated headrests and are available with heating, ventilation and massage functions at the front, while those at the rear get a system for attaching hooks or tablet holders, plus USB Type-C ports behind the front headrests.
The rear seats can also be heated as part of the Heat Comfort package, which also adds a heated dashboard, glovebox, door panels, centre armrest and steering wheel. Meanwhile, a lack of a transmission tunnel is said to improve legroom, especially at the rear. The boot measures 500 litres and can be expanded to a maximum of 1,750 litres with the 40:20:40-split rear seats folded.
As is the case with much of the automotive industry today, there’s been a concerted effort to minimise the number of physical controls. There are 50% fewer buttons and switches in the iX which, worryingly, includes the axing of climate control switchgear.
You now have to control the air-conditioning through a large 14.5-inch centre touchscreen, which runs on the new BMW Operating System 8. Aside from a slick new interface, there’s also a distinct focus on voice control, and to that end, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant has an expanded feature set and is indicated on-screen using a new graphic.
The new OS also comes with an improved over-the-air software update experience, a Functions on Demand feature for purchasing new vehicle functions, augmented reality navigation (similar to Mercedes’ system), the ability to add a personal 5G eSIM to the car and an improved BMW ID user profile system that allows the secure storing of more personalised settings and transferring them between vehicles.
The interface can also be customised according to the drive mode selected, which can be accessed through either the new My Modes button or via voice. The Personal, Sport and Efficient settings not only change the powertrain and chassis characteristics but also the display styles (including the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster), ambient lighting, artificial engine sound (developed in collaboration with famed composer Hans Zimmer, no less) and even the seat backrest width.
Safety-wise, the BMW iX comes as standard with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist, oncoming vehicle and crossing traffic detection, as well as evasive steering assist and lane keeping assist. The improved Driving Assistant option adds blind spot monitoring, rear collision warning with cross traffic alert and a door opening warning.
At the top of the range sits the Driving Assistant Professional package, which throws in Level 2 semi-autonomous driving features, including adaptive cruise control with stop and go (which now adjusts the distance to the car in front based on the driving situation), an improved lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot collision prevention and an emergency lane assistant for giving way to emergency services.
Closer to home, BMW’s Malaysian website has featured the iX since December, with registrations of interest opening in March. Given BMW Group Malaysia’s recent breakneck pace in introducing new models, expect the car to arrive not long after it goes on sale globally late in the year.
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