The BMW iX Is A Mean, New Bimmer BEV

The BMW iX Is A Mean, New Bimmer BEV

The next BMW BEV is finally here and it’s the BMW iX. BMW calls this a ‘Neue Klasse,’ meaning it’s not based on any prior model and is instead its own, well, new class.

Is it any good? It looks cool, even despite its crossover styling and gimmicky segment name. The Bavarian carmaker insists this is a “Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)” like with its X5 which it refused to call an SUV.

It’s no i8. That’s for sure, but since the i8 was a hybrid we had to imagine its retirement would finally come with the advent of fully electrified cars. And that’s what this iX represents in both its models, which are the iX xDrive50 and the iX xDrive40. Notice the xDrive name which points to the iX’s AWD system.

The iX looks to me like a bigger, sportier i3. Which reminds me: BMW has been more or less consistent with its EV names. If anything, BMW is just a little behind the zeitgeist, having stuck to the “i” prefix that the tech world has largely moved beyond. But, hell, I still rock an iPod Classic, so I won’t complain.

The two models have different power output and range, as you would imagine given their model names. BMW details the different outputs in the following:

In the BMW iX xDrive50, the drive system – which features one electric motor on the front axle and another at the rear axle – produces total output of over 370 kW/500 hp and enables acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in under 5.0 seconds. The BMW iX xDrive40 has an output of more than 240 kW/300 hp, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a shade over 6.0 seconds.

Overall, the different powertrains make for some other distinctions. Those seem to translate to small real-world performance differences, but the ranges vary significantly. BMW shared the model ranges:

The BMW iX xDrive50 is […] fitted with a battery with a gross energy content of over 100 kWh […] while the battery unit for the BMW iX xDrive40 has a gross energy content of more than 70 kWh.

This gives the BMW iX xDrive50 a range in excess of 600 kilometres  in the WLTP test cycle. And the WLTP-calculated range of the BMW iX xDrive40 is more than 400 kilometres.

That’s a pretty big distance separating the two models, so it looks like the xDrive50 is catering to drivers most susceptible to range anxiety, while the xDrive40 is content to give drivers peace of mind for shorter commutes. Oh, and both models have DC fast charging which will get drivers to 80 per cent capacity in less than 40 minutes.

Photo: BMW
Photo: BMW

One of the most interesting things about the iX, though, is BMW’s statement that the two electric motors in these models are a little unconventional since they are not impulsed by “fixed permanent magnets, but the feed-in of electric energy.” This affects the torque curve, according to BMW. It details in its announcement:

…Unlike with electric motors of conventional design – that torque is maintained over an extremely broad rev band. The defining trait of the driving experience on board the BMW iX is, then, power development that is not only lightning fast but also unusually consistent, underscoring the car’s brand-typical sporting excellence.

Torque being what it is, we usually associate the pull of EVs with the initial pedal press but it sounds like BMW claims that sensation is consistent in the iX. That’s impressive if true but I don’t know; I’ll believe it when I feel it.

Photo: BMW

And, of course, those good looks and fancy new motors don’t come cheap. In Germany, the iX xDrive40 starts at €77,300 EUR, or just over $92,000 USD ($119,352). As readers have noted, the German prices do not reflect those in other markets as they already include taxes. But it’s still expensive and that’s for the lower model! These new Bimmer BEVs are going to be cool but costly.