Bmw ix in the first driving report: what can the large electric suv do?

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A big step

With the iX, BMW is finally continuing what began in 2013 with the i3 – albeit at the other end of the size scale.

Unmistakably new: Inside and out, the iX opens a new chapter for BMW.

The question is no longer if, but when and how: E-mobility is picking up speed and almost all manufacturers are rapidly expanding their range of electric vehicles.

With the i3, BMW was ahead of the curve in 2013 – the Bavarians offered an all-electric model on a purpose-built architecture before it was necessary to meet increasingly stringent CO2 regulations. The i3 was an exclamation mark, a glimpse into an electric future – but that didn't happen at BMW for a long time. Instead, the manufacturer first built up a broad fleet of models with plug-in hybrid drives. But: BMW will soon not be able to do without a wide range of pure electric cars. So it's high time to continue what was started with the i3. And with full commitment: An e-car on a completely designed architecture is needed. Although you can also accommodate batteries and electric motors in the body of an existing model with a combustion engine, such models are ultimately more of a compromise. Especially because they give away a lot of space.

With the iX, BMW is now starting from scratch. The new electric SUV is in the size class of X5 and Co., but offers a much more spacious feeling in the interior, because the advantages of a purely electric car are used: the floor is completely flat, the wheels have been set far to the outside ( wheelbase three meters!). So you sit in the second row with princely legroom – and through the glass roof a lot of light comes into the interior. Coupled with the high seating position, you feel very luxurious in the electric Bavaria, which customers expect at a basic price of 98,700 francs (iX xDrive 40). The electric SUV only gives away space in the trunk due to the wide side walls. With 500 to 1750 liters behind the large flap there is enough space for large luggage – but a comparable BMW X5 offers around 150 liters more storage space. The iX does not have an additional luggage compartment under the front hood.

Welcome in the future

But there is a unique ambience in the cockpit. This is where the iX feels like a glimpse into the future. The driver sits behind two large screens in widescreen format, plus an extensive head-up display. There are almost no conventional buttons anymore, instead the car is operated via voice commands, a touchscreen or the tried and tested rotary pushbutton on the center console. On request, this is also available in decorative crystal glass, as are the buttons for adjusting the seat (new in the door and no longer on the seat). This gives the cockpit an elegant shine – but reflects unpleasantly depending on the sunlight.

BMW iX in the first driving report: What can the large electric SUV do?-first

The interior pleases with noble material, such as a wooden surface with integrated buttons.

There are also ups and downs in the BMW control system of the latest generation. The display is large and razor-sharp, the voice input works without any problems and the on-board computer also reacts to the touchscreen and rotary knob without delay. However, it takes some getting used to in order to find one's way around the numerous menus and to adapt the system to one's own needs. In addition, it cannot always be operated without unnecessary distraction, because the display is too similar to that of a tablet computer with small tiles for various apps. But: BMW could fix this in the future with over-the-air updates without the customer having to go to the workshop.

The large kidney at the front, which takes on the look of a radiator grille and conceals the sensors for the numerous assistance systems, should also do without a visit to the workshop. It is made of a self-healing plastic, minor scratches and dents should heal themselves in strong sunlight. Part of the front is heated for the cold season, so that the sensors for the semi-autonomous driving function have a clear view even in ice and snow. Because on the freeway, the electronics can take over the wheel quite skilfully – a camera with eight megapixels, five radar and twelve ultrasonic sensors make it possible. This makes the iX a pleasant touring car with very good suspension comfort and an exceptionally low noise level in the interior. With a range of up to 631 kilometers according to WLTP in the "iX xDrive 50" with a 105 kWh battery, long journeys are actually possible without any problems, especially since the battery can be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes at a quick charging station with 200 kW charging capacity.

In addition, the provisional top model offers 523 hp and 765 Nm without any delay, which does not neglect the driving pleasure presented by BMW, even if the expansive dimensions and 2.6 ton weight cannot be completely hidden despite air suspension and all-wheel steering.

BMW iX in the first driving report: What can the large electric SUV do?-electric

BMW iX xDrive 50

BMW iX xDrive 50

Engine: 2× e-machine

Power: 523 hp/765 Nm

Drive: auto 1 speed, 4×4

L×W×H: 4953×1967×1696mm

trunk: 500-1750L

Weight: 2585kg

0-100km/h: 4.6 sec.

Vmax: 200km/h

Range WLTP: 631 km

Price: from 115900 francs

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