The BMW iX has the dubious distinction of being the first all-electric car produced by the manufacturer since the BMW i3. But far from being a natural progression of that zero-emission city car, the iX is a large Sports Activity Vehicle with an emphasis on luxury (which somewhat explains its £72k price).
Having recently put the luxury motor through its paces around the various vehicle test routes of Millbrook Proving Ground, here’s five things we love about the BMW iX…
The interior is the most luxurious we’ve ever experienced
While the exterior design has come in for some stick in the automotive world thanks to its controversial styling, few commenters have anything negative to say about the interior.
Stepping into the driver seat, you get the sense a lot of time and effort has been put into perfecting the large lounge-style interior. For the driver, the spacious cabin features newly developed seats which are the epitome of comfort while extra legroom is offered thanks to BMW doing away with the centre tunnel thanks to the EV drivetrain setup.
A two-spoke polygonal steering wheel and frameless projector integration for the optional Head-Up Display further add to an effortless driving experience. It’s minimalist at its core, with slim air vents sitting below the futuristic 12.3-inch curved information display which is angled towards the driver.
On the centre arm rest is a crystal-effect rotary dial that allows you to control the infotainment if you don’t want to smear the touchscreen, with infotainment shortcuts buttons integrated onto the walnut panel. The bouji-ness continues to the crystal-effect volume control and drive selector on the armrest too, and extends onto the door for the electric seat controls.
It’s quiet and comfortable
With challengers in the luxury EV arena including the Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, the BMW iX outpaces them when it comes comfort. While the xDrive 40 model we test drove doesn’t benefit from the air suspension found in the range topping M50, it rides really well on a variety of mixed road surfaces.
And while it has the usual perks we’ve come to expect from an EV, less emphasis is put on the availability of immediate torque and more on cruising in a calm and composed manner befitting a vehicle of this size. What the iX offers is a nice blend of power and torque and you get the sense BMW wants you to look elsewhere (namely the new BMW i4) if it’s a more dynamic motor you’re looking for.
But what really adds an element of comfort to the whole drive is how quiet it is. There’s very little road noise, and no discernible whir of an electric motor when accelerating, and in combination those two things lead to possibly the most serene car we’ve ever driven.
Rear passengers are well catered for too
Comfort and convenience isn’t just reserved for those in the front. Thanks to the flat floor which houses the EV battery, there’s loads of leg and headroom for all three potential passengers in the rear, and even with the inclusion of an optional panoramic roof it doesn’t impact space in the slightest. On top of that, the rear seats can recline slightly for an airplane-level of comfort, and two USBC charging points feature in the backs of the front seats so there’s no trailing cables. For those carrying children, the ISOFIX points are neatly disguised at the bottom of the upright too, while four-zone climate control keeps everyone comfortable.
Delving further into the rear, the 40-20-40 rear seats can be dropped from the boot area at the push of a button if additional space is needed, extending the square-shaped 500-litres of luggage space to 1,750.
It’s self-healing and self-cleaning (sort of)
One of BMW’s hallmarks is the famed kidney grille, and though an electric car has no need for a grille due to there being no engine that needs to be cooled, the iX retains this hallmark as a panel which houses multiple sensors to pilot the EV’s many safety and driver convenience features. So what happens when you inevitably get a stone chip while driving along? Is it going to damage it? Well, no, because when heat is applied to the panel it heals any blemishes. How does it do that? With science.
As cool as that is, one of the best features on the iX is the high-def 360* camera system though. This not only gives a top-down surround view but also features a camera cleaning system ensuring you can park safely whatever the weather.
It’s so good it doesn’t want you to leave
Okay, that might be a little lie. It’s more the fact that, when reaching for the door handle to exit the car there… wasn’t one. Mild panic ensued. How do we exit? Are people watching us? Are we trapped in the iX forever? Well, no. There’s a button on the door sill which you push to release the lock and open it. And thus ended our brief time in the BMW iX.