New 2021 BMW iX electric SUV revealed with 376-mile range
The all-electric flagship BMW iX SUV boasts over 500bhp, 376 miles of range and 5G tech
This is the BMW iX, a new all-electric flagship that BMW has described as the “dawn of a new era” for the brand. Still under final development, the SUV will not go on sale for another 12 months, but when it does arrive in UK dealers it’s expected to cost in the region of £100,000.
Essentially a production version of the iNext concept that was first 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.
New 2021 BMW iX: performance and range
The iX makes use of BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive electric motors, which are more compact and power dense than the units you’ll find in an i3, for example. A 100kWh battery located beneath the floor of the iX feeds power to two motors, one on each axle, that develop in excess of 500bhp. BMW says that enables a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds.
More significantly, the large battery enables a range of 376 miles when fully charged; that’s around 100 miles more than you get in the recently-revealed iX3. BMW also claims the battery can be topped up at a rate of 200kW, meaning an 80 per cent recharge can be achieved in under 40 minutes.
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 11 hours.
BMW also claims that the power that went into creating the iX’s battery, along with its cells, was generated from renewable energy sources.
New 2021 BMW iX: platform and automated driving
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.”
New 2021 BMW iX: design and technology
BMW has issued no dimensions for the iX other than a wheelbase of 3,000mm. However, the firm has said that the SUV is comparable to that of an X5 in terms of length and width, and is as tall as an X6.
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.
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 BMW 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 features 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.
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