New BMW iX electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date
- Electric SUV with bold styling
- Ultra-minimalist interior
- Huge new infotainment displays
- 100kWh battery
- 375-mile range
- Dual electric motors
- On sale in late 2021
- Expected to cost from £70,000
The new BMW iX SUV has been revealed as the brand’s first purpose-built electric SUV. It comes with two electric motors, 500hp and 375 miles of range.
New BMW iX design
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? That huge grille. The BMW iX is an electric car, so it doesn’t even need a grille, let alone a massive pair of tombstones like this. Having said that, the new BMW M3 and M4 look a whole lot better in the metal than in photos, so there’s every chance the iX’s design will grow on you, too.
The rest of the BMW iX looks pretty similar to the Vision iNEXT concept from 2018. It gets the same really thin headlights and the bottom edge of the bumpers and doors has similar chunks of black trim with bright blue highlights. Because you HAVE to have blue bits on an electric car, right?
Overall, the iX’s slippery design means it can cut through the air just as easily as the new BMW 4 Series – not bad for a tall SUV. The various aerodynamic tweaks BMW made to the bumpers, underfloor and alloy wheels boosted the iX’s range by 40 miles, which could mean the difference between getting home or having to recharge half way.
New BMW iX interior
The new BMW iX is about the same size as a BMW X5, but it only comes with five, instead of seven seats. There’s no need for a long driveshaft to run from the engine to the rear wheels – because it’s an electric car – so BMW has made the iX’s floor completely flat inside to give everyone more leg room in the back.
Unlike other BMWs, there aren’t any buttons on the dashboard – just a really slim air vent – and there’s a big gap between the dashboard and the centre console where you’d normally find the heating controls. BMW’s usual gear lever has gone, too. Instead, you get a tiny little rocker switch, much like the one in a Volkswagen Golf.
The BMW iX gets a totally new version of BMW’s iDrive that combines a 12.3-inch driver’s display with a massive 14.9-inch central touchscreen. Controlling everything with a touchscreen is normally pretty tricky though, so it’s good to see that BMW has decided to keep its rotary controller on the centre console.
This system comes with an upgraded version of BMW’s personal assistant, so you can just ask the car to change the air con temperature or program the sat-nav, and it’ll do it all for you.
New BMW iX batteries and range
Under the BMW iX’s floor sits a 100kWh battery that can hold enough charge for you to drive for around 375 miles. That’s more than 100 miles further than an Audi e-tron or a Mercedes EQC can manage, and about 25 miles more than even a Tesla Model X Long Range can drive for.
When you need to charge it up, you can plug the iX into a 200kW fast-charger, which will boost its charge from 10% to 80% in about 40 minutes. If you can’t wait that long, you can stop for a quick splash and dash instead – plug it in for just 10 minutes and you’ll add about 75 miles of range.
New BMW iX motors and performance
Some electric motors use ‘rare earth materials’. These are really expensive and mining them out of the ground can produce a load of horrible pollution. But, the new BMW iX doesn’t use any of these materials.
Despite this, its dual-motor setup still produces more than 500hp, which is more power than you get out of a standard BMW M3. This means this big, luxurious SUV will do 0-60mph in under 5 seconds.
BMW has also been testing a triple-motor setup, which produces a whopping 720hp, but it hasn’t confirmed whether it’ll ever fit this to the iX. But, who doesn’t like the idea of an electric SUV with more power than a BMW M5 Competition?
New BMW iX safety and 5G
The new BMW iX is the first luxury car to feature built-in 5G technology. This helps it communicate with other cars and share information really quickly. This means every iX can talk to every other iX. And it’ll let you know about heavy traffic ahead, upcoming road signs, and even how many parking spaces are free nearby.
The iX also has the fastest onboard computer ever fitted to a BMW, that can transmit all the information stored on a DVD in about a second. It needs this computing power to deal with all the data coming from all the sensors and cameras that are hidden behind the front grille, which are all part of its driver-assistance system.
This lets it accelerate, brake and steer for you on motorways, and also works along with the car’s built-in 5G network to communicate with other cars and automatically slow down if you’re coming up to traffic or an accident. And to make sure the sensors can always ‘see’ clearly, the grille comes with a self-healing coating that can smooth-out scratches and small chips.
New BMW iX price and release date
BMW will start building the new iX next year and it’ll go on sale in November 2021. No prices have been released, but it’s going up against the Audi e-tron and the Mercedes EQC, so you can bet it’ll set you back the bones of £70,000. There’s every chance top-spec models could hit you with a bill for more like £90,000, too.
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