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New 2021 BMW iX electric SUV priced from £69,905

The new BMW iX electric SUV will get two battery sizes in the UK when it arrives in November, with ranges of 257 miles and 380 miles

BMW has released full details of its all-new iX SUV that will challenge the likes of the Tesla Model X when it arrives in the UK this November 2021. 

Priced from £69,905, it uses BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive electric motors, which are more compact and power dense than the units you’ll find in an i3. In the UK from launch two versions of the BMW iX SUV will be available, both with different-sized battery packs, different power outputs and charging standards.

Kicking off the range is the iX xDrive40, which will be priced from £69,905. Its all-wheel-drive electric powertrain develops 322bhp and 630Nm of torque. That provides for 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds with the zero-emission BMW topping out at 124mph.

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The entry-level iX comes equipped with a 71kWh (net) battery that provides for a WLTP-verified 257 miles between recharges. Rapid charging at 150kW will be standard, so a 10-80 per cent recharge in 31 minutes is possible. 

If that's not enough performance or range, BMW offers an iX xDrive50 that starts at £91,905. For the £22,000 price premium over the xDrive40, you get a larger 105.2kWh (net) battery pack that allows you to cover up to 380 miles between top-ups – that's 20 miles further than the Tesla Model X Long Range. 

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A pair of more powerful motors sees the flagship iX produce 516bhp and 765Nm. That's enough for a rapid 4.6 second 0-62mph sprint, although top speed remains at the same 124mph limit. 

If you want even quicker acceleration, you'll have to wait for the BMW iX M60 variant, confirmed with more than 600bhp when it arrives in 2022.

Another advantage of the xDrive50 model is it's compatible with rapid charging at up to 195kW, with a 10-80 per cent charge taking just 35 minutes for the bigger battery, providing up to 90 miles of range after a brief ten minutes of plug-in time.

A more conventional 11kW wallbox charger, the type of system people may have installed at home, will charge the battery from flat to 100 per cent in around 11 hours, while most owners will be offered free top-ups using BP Pulse or IONITY Plus public chargers for the first 12 months.

Whatever version you choose, both variants are available with either the Sport or M Sport trims. Both get large 21-inch alloy wheels, a self-park Parking Assistant, four-zone climate control, heated front seats and wireless phone charging and BMW's Driving Assistant Profession semi-autonomous cruise control that will be upgraded following its launch to Level 3 hands-off, eyes-off the road self-driving.

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As standard, all models receive a premium Harman Kardon sound system that plays out an acoustic soundscape scored by legendary movie composer, Hans Zimmer.

Later on in 2021, the iX SUV will also be capable of being locked, unlocked and driven away using the BMW Digital Key Plus, that only uses your smartphone in place of a conventional key.

Spend an extra £3000 for the M Sport iX and you get sportier 21-inch wheels, an M Sport front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser and spoiler, plus darkened rear tail lights. Mechanically, the M Sport also introduces uprated brakes. 

The more expensive iX xDrive50 models also add standard rear-wheel steer for enhanced agility and manoeuvrability around town.

There's also a long list of combined option packs that will also be offered on all models, including a Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi upgrade, upgraded self-park and Comfort Pack that adds massage and ventilated front seats.

Described as the “dawn of a new era” for the brand, the iX is a production version of the iNext concept that was showcased back in 2018. 

The iX is the first model from BMW to be based on an all-new, scalable architecture that will go on to underpin a range of future vehicles. Sophisticated software, greater computing power and 5G capability have also enabled BMW to integrate improved automated driving and parking functions.

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The platform beneath the iX, based around an aluminium spaceframe and carbon-fibre core, has been developed with a focus on electric vehicles and greater levels of automated driving functions. BMW says the level of computing power in the iX is 20 times greater than anything it has previously developed for a production vehicle, and that this allows the SUV to process double the amount of data from sensors. 

“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX,” says Frank Weber, BMW board member for vehicle development. “The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, and will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions.”

Measuring in at 4953mm long, 1967mm wide and standing around 1595mm tall, the iX SUV is 99mm shorter, 32mm narrower and 89mm lower than the Tesla Model X, and is roughly the same size as the X5. 

An interpretation of BMW’s new kidney grille design features prominently on the front end, but the grille has been blanked off as a way of indicating that the iX is an electric vehicle. It also houses the vehicle's camera, radar and sensor technology that is required for automated driving. 

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A polyurethane coating has also been applied to the grille that BMW claims can automatically repair minor scratches. 

The LED headlamps are the slimmest BMW has ever fitted to a production vehicle, while flush door handles are a first for BMW. They are one of a number of aerodynamically-optimised design cues that help increase the range of the iX by 40 miles alone. 

Inside, there is seating for five and an electrochromic panoramic glass roof that automatically adjusts its shading depending on the level of direct sunlight. As the iX was developed from the outset as an electric vehicle, there is no transmission tunnel running through the centre of the vehicle, and BMW says this improves passenger space in the front and rear. 

The look of the cabin is intentionally stripped back; the car’s audio speakers, air vents and head-up display have all been integrated so that they blend into the cabin rather than standing out. 

A bank of curved digital screens, one 14.9-inch driver’s display and one 12.3-inch infotainment screen, sits on top of the dash and features BMW's next-generation operating system, which includes new voice and gesture control plus a redesigned interface. A hexagonal steering wheel and new rocker switch for the gear selector are two other firsts for the iX.

What do you think of the new BMW iX SUV? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below...

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