Oh yes. Those grilles. They’re certainly a conversation starter. And they’re not even real. Instead of providing an engine with ventilation, like the new BMW 4 Series’ similarly-bold nostrils, the grilles upon the nose of the all-new iX are entirely fake. No air passes through them. But, thankfully, they do serve an important purpose, because much of the iX’s driver assistance features – the things that give the car its safety-boosting ‘sight’ – are located behind them. Their design is as divisive as ever, but at least they help to make the iX technically better. And that’s saying something.
You see, there’s a lot of technology aboard the iX. Using BMW’s fifth-generation electric car architecture (the underlying hardware that’s hidden beneath the bodywork), it’s a very high-tech machine indeed. And it’s exotic, because the structure isn’t just made from any old metal, but rather lightweight aluminium and carbonfibre. That’s the stuff supercars are made from. Mind you, the 100kWh battery pack that gives this car its floor (the battery is located between the wheels in a skateboard fashion) is hefty enough to ensure the iX tips the scales at 2.5 tonnes. That’s heavy, even by SUV standards.
But, as ever with electric cars, the iX does somewhat offset its mass with tremendous performance. Using two electric motors, one powering each axle in the iX xDrive50 we have here, the car produces 523hp and, if you like to get even more technical, 564lb ft of torque. That gives the iX the muscle to sprint from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. Quick. Oh, and the surprises continue in efficiency, because the iX, with its flat underside and lack of front-end openings and grilles to keep the airflow clean, has a drag co-efficient of 0.25. If that stat went over your head, just know it’s more comparable with slippery-looking sports cars, not brick-shaped SUVs.
So it’s clever, capable and surprisingly slippery through the air, and inside, you’ll find BMW’s very latest interior design and technology, which is both aesthetically pleasing and intuitive to use. It even gets a vegan-friendly leather equivalent, which, dare we say it, is even softer on the skin than the animal-based alternative. Oh, and the cabin is spacious, the ride is supple with air suspension and the handling isn’t half bad thanks to the cleverness of the suspension systems. But so it should be in a car that starts from over £91,000. We like the iX, though, so much so that it stars in our inaugural media day-shot UK First Drive, which you can watch in the video above.
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