All-new BMW iX Electric SUV Marks New Chapter for BMW

Foreshadowed by the iNEXT concept from 2018, the all-new BMW iX was unveiled today in production form as part of the German automaker’s #NEXTGen 2020 technology showcase.

This fully electric midsize SUV is quite promising and much better suited to meet the needs of North American customers than the small BMW i3 hatchback, which won’t be renewed, or the iX3 compact SUV aimed at the Chinese market.

Before going any further, you should know that development of the BMW iX is not quite finished yet. As a matter of fact, the vehicle will not go on sale until the end of 2021—a bit later in Canada. Production will initially take place in Dingolfing, Germany.

eDrive version 5.0

Featuring a brand new technological package built around the fifth-generation eDrive electric platform, the iX uses many systems and components that will be found in future BMW models. Two electric motors team up to generate over 500 horsepower (the exact number will be specified later) and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than five seconds.

The AWD-equipped BMW iX is said to provide more than 600 kilometres of range thanks to a powerful battery with a capacity in excess of 100 kWh. This is an estimate based on the WLTP standard used overseas, mind you. In North America, the EPA and Natural Resources Canada will agree on a significantly lower number expected to be around 500 kilometres, which is still remarkable.

Incidentally, the Tesla Model Y and Model X currently lead the way with up to 525 and 597 kilometres of range, respectively.

BMW claims 40 minutes of DC fast-charging will be needed to bring the battery from 10-80 percent of its full capacity at up to 200 kilowatts. Ten minutes will give you close to 100 kilometres. As for full charging via a 240V wall box at home, the process will take less than 11 hours.

Photo: BMW

Unique Styling

This brings us to the exterior design. The BMW iX has a super-low drag coefficient of just 0.25. According to the company, the bespoke aerodynamics measures for the front end, rear end, underbody and wheel areas alone succeed in adding about 50 kilometres to the range total.

The BMW iX is comparable with the X5 in length and width, and is almost the same height as the X6 on account of its flowing roofline. The size of its wheels, meanwhile, brings to mind the large X7. It stands out with a minimalist yet futuristic design language and a new interpretation of the brand’s signature double-kidney grille, the latter completely blanked off with a panel that hides camera technology, radar functions and other sensors for the various driver assistance features. And get this: the surface of the kidney grille has a self-healing effect which can repair minor scratches within 24 hours at room temperature.

The exterior design highlights of the BMW iX also include the slimmest headlights ever to feature on a series-produced model from BMW, the flush-fitted door openers (operated at the press of a button), the frameless side windows and the likewise extremely slim taillights.

Photo: BMW

Lounge-type cabin

The five-passenger cabin of the iX is flooded with light thanks to the huge panoramic sunroof. The layout is reminiscent of a lounge, with a centre console crafted to look like a high-quality piece of furniture. There’s generous space front and rear, especially for the legs, while the displays and controls are all stripped down to the essentials. Same thing for the speakers which have been integrated out of sight (including some built into the seats—a first for BMW).

The other key elements of the interior are the hexagonal steering wheel, the rocker switch for gear selection and the curved digital interface that combines a 12.3-inch instrument panel with a large 14.9-inch centre screen.

More details about the new BMW iX will be announced in the coming months. In addition to the Tesla Model X, we anticipate a great battle with models like the Cadillac LYRIQ.

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