When it was initially announced back in November 2020, BMW only provided key information about the new fully electric iX SUV. More information has surfaced and BMW now offers two variants of the iX- the range-topping xDrive50 and the X5-priced xDrive40.
The BMW iX, which is similar in size to the X5 but with a lower roofline, will have all-wheel drive as standard with an in-house developed electric motor placed at the front and rear axle. In the xDrive50, the combined system output is over 370 kW or 503 hp and enables acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in under five seconds.
This range-topping variant will also come with a relatively large battery pack with a gross energy content of over 100 kWh. This allows the xDrive50 to have a range in excess of 600 kilometres in the WLTP combined test cycle.
While being the latest of the trio into the EV SUV game, the performance of the iX xDrive50 surpasses the EQC (408 hp, 5.1 seconds, 454 km) from Mercedes-Benz and Audi’s e-tron (408 hp, 5.7 seconds, 441 km). BMW’s smaller iX3 meanwhile has 286 hp at its rear axle, 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and a range of 460 km.
In the more accessible xDrive40, peak output is around 240 kW or 326 hp and completes the benchmark century sprint in a shade over six seconds. With a battery that is 30% smaller than the larger variant, the xDrive40 can provide a driving range of over 400 kilometres.
BMW is also a strong advocate in environmental and sustainable material sourcing, with the materials used to make the batteries coming from responsible corporations. The lithium used in batteries are mined from hard-rock deposits in Australia in accordance with the company’s environmental and sustainability standards.
No rare earth were used in the magnets of the traction motors, as the excitation of the rotor is not induced by fixed permanent magnets, but the feed-in of electric energy. The precise control of the excitation also enables peak torque to be on tap immediately on pulling away, plus torque is maintained over an extremely broad revolution band.
Even with a single-speed transmission, both variants have a top speed of 200 km/h. As for charging speed, both variants differ. The xDrive50 can charge its battery at up to 200 kW, allowing a 10-minute charge to deliver a range of over 120 kilometres.
The maximum charging capacity in the xDrive40 is 50 kW lower at 150 kW. Over 90 kilometres of range can be added by just charging for ten minutes. In both variants, 40 minutes is all it takes to increase the battery state-of-charge (SOC) level from 10% to 80%.
For regions like Malaysia without many DC chargers, BMW says 11 hours and eight hours are required for batteries in the xDrive50 and xDrive40, respectively, to reach 100% levels through the home wallbox.
The BMW iX is the first model from the brand to feature the new high-resolution one-piece Curved Display. The new screen is actually a combination of two screens- the driver viewing a 12.3-inch information display while the infotainment is displayed through a 14.9-inch screen.
BMW will also roll out their latest BMW Operating System in the iX that focuses on voice commands and driver’s usage is thoroughly processed with artificial intelligence (AI) for better communication and content.
The BMW iX will only start production from the second half of this year at the BMW Plant Dingolfing. In Germany, the xDrive40 will be priced from EUR77,300, which BMW say is at a similar level to the conventional X5. The higher performance xDrive50 meanwhile is priced from EUR98,000. The smaller 286 hp BMW iX3 meanwhile starts from EUR66,300.
A Sport package is also on offered, where changes are purely cosmetics with the fitment of a different front bumper (still with the large vertical kidneys), blue-painted brake calipers, exterior lower portion and door handles in glass black, taillamps in smoked glass and deletion of the electric blue highlights.
Just yesterday, BMW Malaysia put up not just a teaser of the iX, but also a call for registration of interest. Looking at the global production timeline, we can safely assume sales in Malaysia will only begin in 2022. The price, however, will it be similar levels with the locally-assembled BMW X5 xDrive45e that is priced at circa RM430k?