iX SUV heralds new dawn for BMW EVS
BMW has revealed a near-production iX SUV, that’s set to become the German brand’s flagship all-electric model when it arrives towards the end of 2021. Based on a new dedicated electric vehicle (EV) platform, it will have a range of up to 376 miles and support fast-charging at a rate of up to 200kW.
Described as the “dawn of a new era”, the iX will be the production version of the 2018 iNext concept. It will also be the first model to adopt BMW’s new scalable EV architecture, that’s set to rival the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform. The iX is a direct rival for the Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model X, with a price tag potentially climbing to more than £100,000 for top versions.
The iX features a 100kWh battery pack and two fifth-generation eDrive electric motors, which are said to be more power dense than before, sustainably manufactured and using no rare earth materials. With more than 500bhp, the 0-62mph sprint should take less than five seconds. BMW says it will provide ‘an instant and precise response to every movement of the accelerator and turn of the steering wheel’, and it has an aerodynamic drag co-efficient of just 0.25.
With the ability to charge at up to 200kW, the battery can be topped up from 10 to 80 per cent in ‘under 40 minutes’, with a 10-minute charge increasing range by around 75 miles. A full charge using an 11kW home wallbox will take less than 11 hours.
Described as a ‘technology toolkit’, the iX underpinnings are said to include computing power that can process 20 times the volume of data of previous BMW models, with double the capacity for data from the vehicle’s myriad of sensors. This, and the inclusion of 5G connectivity, means the iX will be ready for Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities. The structure itself has an aluminium spaceframe and ‘Carbon Cage’ for high torsional stiffness, as well as light weight.
Similar in size to a BMW X5 SUV, the iX features the tall kidney grilles that characterise BMW’s latest design theme, but here they’re blanked off to improve aerodynamics. BMW has housed sensors behind the grilles, and the BMW badge on the bonnet now conceals the washer-fluid cap. Other unique features include flush door handles, the slimmest headlights ever fitted to a BMW and a rear-view camera integrated into the BMW boot logo.
The interior promotes spaciousness for five passengers, with an ‘exceptionally large panoramic glass roof’, new seats with integrated headrests and a flat floor with no transmission tunnel. Interior room is improved as a result, and the dashboard is minimalist, with curved digital screens perched on top of the fascia. These get new software, voice and gesture controls, while a hexagonal steering wheel makes a comeback, and instead of a traditional gear selector there’s a rocker switch.