This is BMW’s new flagship electric SUV, the iX. The iX showcases BMW’s latest and greatest EV techology with distinctive styling and futuristic tech inside. Prices for the IX start from €85,815 in Ireland and it has an electric range of between 413 kilometres and 612 kilometres, depending on which version you go for. The iX goes up against other premium electric SUVs like the Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model X, but is it the class leader?
Starting outside, the iX ‘s styling is divisive, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s fair to say that it is rather eye-catching. It is roughly the same size as the BMW X5 but it has a lower roofline similar to the BMW X6. Up front it has slim headlights and a huge kidney grille with all sorts of sensors behind it and what BMW calls self-healing technology.
This means if you get any scratches or marks on the grille, the plastic coating can repair itself if it is left at room temperature for 24 hours or it can send warm air to this area for five minutes too to repair the coating. It isn’t possible to open the bonnet on the iX, this is something that only BMW technicians can do. You can however press down on the BMW badge here when you need to top up the washer fluid.
It is a bit disappointing that BMW hasn’t added any storage space under the bonnet here like you get in the Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X. Along the sides it has smooth styling with hollow door handles and it gets 21-inch alloy wheels as standard but this one has larger 22-inch bi-colour wheels which are a €1200 optional extra. At the rear there is this eye-catching c-pillar with subtle iX lettering, while it also has slim LED lights and a reversing camera that integrated in the BMW badge. mThere are eight colour choices, and Alpine White is the standard option but you will have to shell out €978 extra for this Black Sapphire paint.
In Ireland, the entry model is the xDrive 40 it has a 71kWh usable battery capacity with a claimed range of up to 413 kilometres, while it gets 150 kW DC charging as standard. The higher spec xDrive 50 has a larger 105.2kwh battery with a claimed range of up to 612 kilometres and a starting price of over €119,000! There is also a performance-focused iX M60 model which is a 611hp range-topper with a €137,000 price tag, more on that one later.
Stepping inside the iX’s interior is very impressive and it is a step away from anything else we have seen from BMW before. The first thing that jumps out is the new tech on offer with this curved 14.9-inch infotainment screen that is joined to another 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. The whole system is very impressive with crisp graphics and BMW’s new Operating system 8 which can be controlled through the touchscreen, with gesture control or this crystal style iDrive controller.
The system works well and it responds very quickly but it does take getting used to at first as there is a quite a lot of menus and options within the system to navigate through, especially when you are driving. Most of the climate controls are also in the touch screen with very few physical buttons unfortunately. The hexagonal steering wheel is quite unusual too, but the shape of the wheel gives good visibility of the driver’s display and it feels good with more controls for the infotainment and driving aids.
Like Tesla, BMW has done away with interior door handles in favour of buttons to open the door. The iX is very spacious up front with lots of adjustment available through the electric seats and steering wheel, and there is additional floor space up front which gives it an extra sense of spaciousness. Overall fit and finish is very good it feels very well made as you would expect at this price point and the quality of the materials if good, with sustainable materials used throughout.
The centre console has a touch panel for various controls on the infotainment system and crystal-style idrive controller along with the drive controller which slides forwards for drice and backwards for reverse. Further down there is two cup holders and two USB-C charge points with a wireless smartphone charger too. There is reasonable storage underneath the driver’s armrest, while there is also large door pockets which can hold large water bottles and a useful glovebox space too.
Overall the fit and finish is good as you would expect from BMW, although there are some harder plastics in places if you look hard enough. By comparison, it feels on par with the Audi e-tron and a step above the Tesla Model X in terms of build quality. The iX is very spacious in the rear seats, with enough room to accomodate three adults, lots of legroom thanks to the flat floor design and lots of headroom even for taller passengers.
All in, we would be very happy to sitback here on a long journey with lots of light coming in from these large windows, and two usb-c charge points on the back of the driver’s seat and passengers seat here which is a great touch. There are separate controls for the climate control further down, two sets of rear ISOFIX mounts and you get a large armrest with two cupholders built-in, and this opens down for easy access to the boot.
While the rear seats impress, the same can’t be said for boot space which at 500 litres is much less than what you get the 650 litre boot in the BMW X5 for example, or the 605 litre boot in the Audi e-tron. This problem is compounded further when you consider there is no additional storage under the bonnet. That said it is useful space with a flat floor with storage underneath, and the rear seats fold down individually with the simple touch of a button when extra space is needed. What’s more, the BMW iX is only available with a five seat option while you can go for a seven seat option in the Tesla Model X.
As we mentioned earlier, the ix is available with three models to choose from in Ireland, iX 40, 50 and 60. We are driving the xDrive40 which gets a 71 kwh battery, 413 kilometre range and a dual motor system that sends 322 brake horsepower to all four wheels wheels. The iX is a heavy car weighing in at 2.5 tonnes, but it doesn’t feel heavy when you drive it for the first time, with responsive power delivery and surprisingly good handling too.
We tested the xDrive 40 and it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds which is swift for an SUV of this size and weight, and probably all the performance you will ever need. Most buyers will care more about range than acceleration times however, and from our experience this ix 40 that we are driving offers a real world 380 kilometre range.
BMW claims energy consumption of around 20 kwh per100 kilometres of driving with the iX andcurrently we are managing around 23 kwh per 100 kilometres of driving in efficiency in near-freezing wintry conditions. If you want more power and range though, the higher specification iX 50 has 523bhp and it can sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, still someway off the Tesla Model X it must be said. The big appeal of this model with be it’s claimed 600-plus kilometre range.
For ultimate performance, the range-topping iX M60 is the one to go for with 619 horsepower and a whopping 1100 nm of torque, it gets from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds! You can adjust regenerative braking by setting the drive selector to the B position on the centre console and there are various different driving modes available including Personal, Sport and Efficient.
The iX gets a heat pump as standard for added efficiency in colder weather conditions and it also allows pre temperature setting. Overall the ix is enjoyable to drive, it’s quiet around town, smooth at motorway speeds and it more than enough power for overtaking with ease. In terms of charging, the iX 40 can rapid charge at up to 150 kilowatts, so it will take around 31 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% with a high-speed rapid charger. With a standard 11 kilowatt charger at home, it will take around eight hours to fully charge the iX over night.
It is worth noting that the iX 50 with the larger battery gets faster 200 kilowatt charging but that is still someway off the charging speeds you will get in comparable Tesla and even Kia EVs. There is lots of safety tech to get accustomed to including advanced driver assist systems which alert you to different scenarios out on the road, but in an intuitive way.
The iX is available in three different model versions in Ireland, xDrive 40, xDrive 50 and ix M60. The entry xDrive 40 Sport with the 71kWh battery and 413km range starts from €85,815 and it has 21-inch aero wheels, LED headlights and rear lights, electric front seats, 4-zone climate control, BMW live cockpit plus with the curved infotainment screen, reversing assistant and camera and lots more.
Our test car is the higher specification xDrive 40 M Sport which starts from €89,505 and it has sportier styling with a one-piece front bumper cover, 21" Aero Alloy Wheels, Titan Bronze exterior trim a choice of exclusive interior trims and various other upgrades. This one also has some optional extras including the Sky Lounge panoramic glass sunroof with sun protection glass for €4,308 extra, and the upgraded 22-inch bi-colour aero wheels so it is closer to 98,000 euro.
The xDrive 50 with the larger 105kwh battery and more powerful 523 horsepower output starts from €119,055 and it is available with M Sport trim, and it gets the all-important 600km plus range. The highest specification iX M60 is BMW’s most powerful electric vehicle ever built with 619 horsepower and it can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds as a result. The iX M60 is priced from €137,515 and it is due to launch in Ireland this summer.
So should you buy the BMW iX? Well if you are looking for a large and luxurious electric SUV that is hugely comfortable and refined, crammed with impressive tech and has class-leading premium interior, then it could be one to consider. Despite its sheer size and weight, the iX is surprisingly good to drive too. That said, the iX carries a hefty price tag, particularly if want to go for the larger battery versions for extra range and faster charging. What’s more, some of its rivals offer faster rapid charging speeds. All things considered, the iX is a hugely impressive new electric SUV and an amazing feat of engineering for BMW, and it is likely to become a a natural transition model for current X5 owners who are looking at making the switch to electric motoring.