BMW's flagship electric SUV mixes high performance with bold looks and a very plush, high-tech interior. While its looks won't be for everyone, there's plenty to love inside, where you'll find BMW's swish new interior architecture, complete with its curved infotainment screen and ultra-sharp graphics. There are soft-touch materials and vegan leathers, while the driving position is commanding and supportive.
Yep. You can't miss 'em. But those are not grilles, dear reader. The big nostrils on the nose of BMW's butch iX are in fact flat sections that hide the car's camera systems, which enable its driver assistance technology to 'see' the road ahead. Whether you like them or not, at least they're functional - and if there's a car that can wear such large items, it's a BMW SUV.
The iX is unashamedly butch, but it doesn't wear big ducts or intakes, or sport creases and curves. Rather, it's a cleanly-designed, simple look, which is especially easy to like from the rear. If you're wondering, this is an X5-ish-sized car that swallows a set of 22-inch wheels as if they were 25% smaller.
The iX is unashamedly butch, but it doesn't wear big ducts or intakes, or sport creases and curves.
What's it like to drive?
Really very good. BMW produces three versions of the iX (at the time of writing), an xDrive40, an xDrive50 and an M-division (BMW's sporting arm) M60. A large proportion of sales are expected to go to the xDrive50, which starts in the UK at just over £90,000 because it comes with lots of bells and whistles. One of the most useful of which is standard-fit air suspension, which ensures this 2.5-tonne electric SUV rides excellently over all surfaces.
It handles well, too, steering with a reactive front end that matches the elastic performance of a two-motor electric setup that produces 523hp (!). This is a quick car, then, but it does even better at being a relaxed, effortless cruiser that can munch miles and carry five adults in comfort. Best of all, with two electric motors, one located on each axle, traction and grip are enormous, even in cold, wintry British weather.
This is a quick car, then, but it does even better at being a relaxed, effortless cruiser that can munch miles and carry five adults in comfort.
Whatever your thoughts of the exterior, the iX's interior is hard to argue against. It. Is. Lovely. Plush in the finish, soft-touch surfaces and vegan leathers ensure it feels as premium as the price tag suggests. The lack of transmission tunnel and fitment of a glass panoramic roof mean the cabin feels airy, while the space aboard is more comparable to that of an X7 (in its first two rows). The boot's pretty generous, too, with some underfloor storage to hide this electric car's charge cables.
Best of all though is the new infotainment system. Other than looking properly swish with that curved screen, the graphics are sharp, clear and the menus are easy to navigate. It's a perfect example of how infotainment tech can be done effectively without overwhelming occupants with digitalisation.
The iX comfortably seats five while carrying their luggage in the boot. It's not the most spacious car in the class, with only a slim underfloor boot section. But you can still fit four full-sized suitcases in the back, without thinking too hard. The iX's commanding driving position makes it easy to get comfortable even if all of the seats have bums on them, while lots of storage areas and big cup holders should make family life a doddle.
Reliability and running costs
It's not possible to comment on reliability or long-term running costs for a brand new model like the iX, but with BMW's fifth-generation electric technology aboard, it's liable to be very strong indeed. The maker's earlier generation stuff has certainly proven its worth. This car comes along on the shoulders of some very competitive machines. That said, with 380 miles of claimed range from the electric powertrain, even the most accelerator-happy drivers should be able to minimise their need to charge. Most users will probably be able to make the most of a weekly or bi-weekly home charge stint.
What we love
Despite being so butch and boxy, the iX manages to handle well and perform like something several hundred kilograms lighter than its 2.5-tonne weight suggests. What has us most smitten though is the iX's lovely interior. You could easily spend hours and hours aboard this thing and remain comfortable - and technically-impressed.
What has us most smitten is the iX's lovely interior.
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A plus, superbly-equipped SUV that uses high-tech electric power to offer refined, smooth but also very potent performance. If you like its looks, you'll find much to love elsewhere in its butch profile - and that's before you drive the thing. With good handling, a comfortable ride and tremendous practicality, it's a great all-rounder.
This review was