BMW iX: the pros and cons of the electric crossover

BMW iX: все «за» и «против» электрокроссовера
27 September 2023 Liza Medvetskaya
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Ten years ago, carmakers refused to have the pleasure of going through Tesla's grandiose plans - it was claimed that the consumers don't need it, there's no infrastructure and it's inconvenient to drive on a "socket". In the meantime, however, almost all companies have acquired an extensive range of at least hybrid and at most fully electric cars, and many of them are models developed from scratch, without combustion engine versions.

The new BMW iX is one of these models. Let's discuss all the pros and cons of BMW's new electric crossover.

The BMW iX can't be called an electric version of the X5 or any other model with the letter X. It doesn't share the same platform with other BMWs, electric or traditional. It doesn't claim perfect handling, nor does it try to convince you that it's going to be good off-road. It's very good at what it does, but that's not what distinguishes BMW cars past and present.

Paneling

The iX is built on an aluminium platform to which a Kevlar frame is attached. Steel and CFRTP thermoplastic are also used in the construction. But that doesn't make the model any lighter: it weighs more than 2.5 tonnes. The battery, which is only 14 cm high, has been placed so compactly in the underside of the car that it is almost invisible, both inside and out.

Two versions of the crossover are offered - 'forty' and 'fifty', but these designations have nothing to do with battery capacity. The basic xDrive40 has a battery capacity of 76.6 kWh, accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds and promises a range of up to 425 kilometres on the WLTP cycle. The model is initially equipped with two electric motors with a combined output of 326 hp and 630 N-m. It is worth noting that the car will only be sold on the European market.

The xDrive50 version also has two electric motors and four-wheel drive, but here 523 hp and 765 N-m are already hidden. Acceleration to 100 km/h takes just 4.6 seconds and the top speed is limited to 200 km/h. The declared capacity of the battery is 111.5 kWh, with a usable capacity of 105.2 kWh. The car has a range of up to 630 kilometres.

Stunning interior

The iX owes much of its strong impressions to its interior, which is unlike anything BMW has ever done. The interior is a true masterpiece, especially with the Stonegrey upholstery. High-quality fabric covers the door panels, the rounded door cards and the entire torpedo, not to mention the seats (the faces with "eyes" of USB ports on the rear headrests look hilarious), and "golden" accents of anodised metal are definitely an interesting alternative to chrome.

The display, in a separate flat housing, is mounted on stands and seems to float above the torpedo. Perhaps no production model in recent years has looked so much like a concept car. The car also has an iDrive module and a virtual dashboard facing the driver. The controller, volume controls and even the seat controls on the doors are in the form of crystals. There are also copper accents, which are quite rare in cars. Just a nice, cosy place to be, if a little out of BMW style. Everything is simple, comfortable and functional.

For someone the interior of the iX may seem a little strange - there is no usual centre console, on a panel a minimum of physical buttons, but on some trifles, details, touches the electric car feels exactly BMW model. Even the hexagonal steering wheel does not look like a foreign element: both in normal modes and in high-speed manoeuvres it does not cause any discomfort, but rather lies naturally and pleasantly in the hands. Black leather upholstery completes this unique design manifesto.

The seats, on the other hand, don't do much to hold the body in the corners, but they are quite comfortable and have attractive diamond stitching. Nevertheless, the iX is a pleasure to drive. The electric motors respond instantly to commands, although they don't provide the breathtaking acceleration of the Tesla Model X's powertrains. The car is very comfortable to drive around town and on the motorway.

The only disappointment are the wood inserts on the centre console, which are part of the Ultimate option package. Yes, natural wood is expensive and rich, but here it looks like a piece of the past that has somehow been introduced into a super-modern product.

Splendid rear seat

Compared to its Bavarian counterpart, the X5c DWD iX is only 46mm longer, 28mm wider and 66mm longer in wheelbase. But despite the symbolic size advantage, the iX feels much roomier. There's more head and legroom in the second row, and instead of a simple straight backrest there are rounded side pillars covered in the same upholstery. Passengers can lean against them and sit with their backs half turned, just like on their favourite sofa at home.

Pros and cons

But even the most high-tech and modern car has its pros and cons, so let's take a look at the "texture". Let's start with the positives. In spite of its status, the iX is full of little things that show the thoroughness of its design. Have you noticed, for example, that in many modern models there is nowhere to put a smartphone? Either in the cup holder or wherever you like. Here, there is a niche in the visor of the centre console, under which is a shelf with a wireless charger and two USB ports. The front passenger can store their device in a niche on the right-hand door. Rear-seat passengers won't have any problems either: there are two USB ports on the back of the front seats, and the opening 'shelf' underneath is a holder for an optional table.

The boot is cleverly designed. The nominal volume is 500 litres, but under the raised floor there is a niche for storing adapters and charging cables. When the fifth door is lifted, there are special lamps in the side walls of the body - for safety if you suddenly want to transport a long distance and the boot lid does not close. There are rigging loops in the corners and folding hooks in the sides. There is even a special net that can be hung behind the front seats if you need to fold the rear seats down for a large load. In this case the boot volume increases to 1750 litres.

But there are some nuances that are really surprising. For example, the rear seats are not adjustable at all - for a modern crossover it is a mauve. The volume of the glove compartment (it's also a glove box) is also embarrassing - nothing bigger than a pair of gloves will fit in there. However, it is partially compensated by the volume of a niche between the front seats.

In general, if the iX were not an electric car, it could be classified as "just another new BMW". It feels the same as the other models in the X range, the only difference being the presence of electric motors. It has the same moderate character, the same sense of quality inside, the same endless lists of expensive options - in general, it's the same, but different. Despite the top-of-the-range components - interior, materials, engines - the iX remains a transport. Superb, yes, but it's possible to miss that classic BMW magic.

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Source: Road &Track
Photos: Road &Track
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