BMW’s new iX redefines sustainable driving.
By Joe Yogerst
The 2022 BMW iX may not look like your typical product from the Bavarian carmaker, but this brand-new, all-wheel-drive, electric vehicle certainly acts like one in terms of performance, handling, technology and comfort.
Slated to hit American showrooms in the spring of 2022, this so-called “sports activity vehicle” is the third in an award-winning line of electrified BMWs that started with the cute little all-electric i3 hatchback in 2013 and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car a year later.
But the iX looks nothing like those other two. For one thing, it’s a lot bigger: a midsize SUV that comfortably seats five. And then there’s the controversial exterior design. More precisely, an oversized grille that makes the front end resemble a large, metallic beaver. This isn’t a bad thing—it’s actually quite striking, just radically different from previous Bimmers.
When it comes to operation, this model starts with a powertrain featuring two electric motors (one for each axle) that churn out 516 horsepower and a 300-mile range. Like other all-electrics, the instant torque makes the vehicle super quick, capable of zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph.
Cutting-edge auto engineering—like speed-sensitive power assistance, near-actuator wheel slip limitation technology, lift-related shock absorbers and an integrated braking system—expedite safe passage and a smooth ride.
The iX also features a range of charging solutions that includes a flexible fast charger for public sites and a new BMW Wallbox for quicker charging at home. Meanwhile, the carmaker’s partnership with EVgo affords access to 35,000 Level 2 charging locations and 800 fast charging stations nationwide. Using the latter, the batteries can top up to a 90-mile range in roughly 10 minutes or 80 percent of full capacity in just 40 minutes.
A long wheelbase makes the interior much more spacious than its BMW i-series forerunners. Owners can choose from real or imitation leather, and several other upholstery options including microfiber-wool blend. Driver and passengers can immerse themselves in a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System that features 30 speakers cloaked in acoustic fabric including sound sources artfully tucked into the headrests and seatback lumbar areas.
The vehicle also features a revolutionary new control panel on the central console, heated dash and door panels, and a new high-tech moonroof embedded with thousands of liquid crystals that can generate an eclipse-like electrochromatic shading effect.
We could go on and on. Pundits have christened the iX the next big thing in all-electric driving even before it hits American roads. For as little as $83,200 MSRP, you can see if their predictions are right.
3000 W. Coast Highway
Ridiculed by some motor writers because it’s such a departure from previous BMW front ends, the KIDNEY GRILLE is attractive in its own right. And highly functional, given that it houses road sensors, front-view cameras and driver-assist radar.
A radically redesigned CENTER CONSOLE features the vehicle’s start/stop button and emergency brake, as well as rocker bars to change gears or adjust the audio volume, and a haptic touch system similar to a smart phone interface that enhances safety because drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road.
A COMBINED CHARGING UNIT gives the iX batteries an array of charging options including a new BMW home garage unit and a choice of Level 2 or DC fast charging in public spaces. While a full charge at home takes around 11 hours, a fast charger can get drivers back on the road in as little as 10 minutes.
Mounted on the dashboard of the iX, you’ll find a large INFOTAINMENT DISPLAY: Measuring 14.9 inches (with an additional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster), the curved, anti-reflective glass operates by touch and also features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a Wi-Fi hot spot offering a 5G connection.
Photos courtesy of BMW North America