At BMW they will sometimes scratch their heads. In 2013, the Germans were early on with their electric car: when the BMW i3 came on the market, it had hardly any competitors. The strikingly designed car was one of the very first German EVs. But it seemed as if BMW was so proud of that, that afterwards the legs were put on the table in the beautiful head office next to the old Olympiastadion in Munich. It was deafening silence in Munich, while one EV after another was presented in all corners of the world. BMW kept saying that the diesel engine was the future and came up with Wagnerian creations like the BMW X7.
The brand increasingly became a voice in the wilderness. Volkswagen has now overtaken BMW and Mercedes is also making progress after a hesitant start. BMW, normally one of the most progressive car brands, is behind when it comes to electric mobility.
After the BMW iX3, which in no way managed to set new standards, the BMW iX is the second all-electric new model to appear after the eight-year-old i3. Subtlety is hard to find in this colossus of 4.95 meters long, but it is also commendable that BMW once again presents a daring model. The iX is the other extreme of the electro-pioneer i3 in everything. Its appearance also differs considerably from the other SUVs from BMW. Beautiful? Ugly? Say it yourself!
You don't expect it when you look at this monster in the figures of its narrow eyes, but the iX has a Cw value of only 0.25. The body is made of aluminum, while some parts are made of carbon-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The iX has two electric motors, on the front and rear axle.
That's not so exciting. It is striking that no rare metals are used in the electric motors. They work on the principle of a synchronous motor, but in the BMW iX motors, the rotor is not set in motion by permanent magnets, but by the supply of electrical energy. The manufacture of these permanent magnets is not very good for the climate, because it requires rare raw materials.
There will be two versions of the BMW iX, where the battery capacity makes the difference. The battery of the iX xDrive40 has a net capacity of 71 kWh, the iX xDrive50 even reaches 105 kWh. Fast charging is possible with 195 kW. Sounds impressive, but in California they kind of laugh about that. The Tesla Model 3 reaches 250 kW without batting an eyelid. An Audi E-Tron GT even 270 kW. Yet you can make a lot of kilometers relatively quickly: charging from 10 to 80 percent is done on the fast charger in 40 minutes, BMW promises.
Enough theory, we enter the blue colossus. The instrumentation is different than we are used to from BMW: the recognizable center console from thousands has made way for a minimalist dashboard with two large screens. The sense of space is overwhelming.
The operating system 8 multimedia unit is used for the first time in the iX. BMW has thrown the entire menu structure upside down and the physical buttons have had to clear the field. You can now operate the iDrive system via touch surfaces. That doesn't work at all. After Volkswagen, BMW seems to be the second German brand that has lost track of digitalisation.
The battery is full when we drive away, BMW prefers to talk about a 100% state of charge. The range is shown three times in the display: if you drive slowly, you will reach 615 kilometers and you want to driving pleasure, then there is still more than 300 kilometers left. We go for the golden mean and should then reach 485 kilometers on one battery charge. That turns out to be quite right: after our 285 kilometer long test drive at an outside temperature of 25 degrees, many country roads and a stretch of German highway, the on-board computer reports a consumption of 22.0 kWh/100 km, which corresponds to a driving range of 477 kilometers.
For now we are quite satisfied, but again not deeply impressed. What does work well is one pedal driving. If you let go of the right pedal, the 2500 kilo SUV will automatically slow down and it does it smoothly. Air suspension is standard and that provides a suspension comfort that few cars can match. Despite the hefty 22-inch wheels, the iX has no problem with unevenness in the road surface, no matter how big or small they are. Since the electric motors do their job in complete silence, resulting in an impressive peace of mind, the comfort level is a few steps higher in the hierarchy than that of the BMW X5.
The center of gravity is low thanks to the battery pack placed in the bottom and because the iX has four-wheel steering, you can also have enough fun in bends. The electric motors, with 523 hp and 765 Nm, are always on the lookout to keep up the pace quickly afterwards. Although the iX will only be in the showroom in November, BMW has already announced the prices. The iX xDrive50 costs 105,516 euros, for the xDrive40 you pay 86,997 euros. In short, most iXs will spend their lives on a driveway in Bloemendaal and Blaricum.
The BMW iX should provide the electric comeback of BMW with shine. We still have our reservations: we have nothing good to say about the operation and the range of 500 kilometers is fine, but again not sensational. The comfort is commendable.
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