Great EV! But is it a BMW?
While BMW has been in the battery electric game for some time now, their i3 didn’t exactly catch on in big numbers. In order for the BMW faithful to buy in, it has to look and perform like a BMW, and if it’s an SUV, that will surely help too. It sounds like this all-new BMW iX is just what der doktor ordered.
There’s no denying that the 2022 BMW iX is the right vehicle at the right time. But there’s also no getting around the fact that the iX is unlike any BMW we’ve ever driven, and nearly unlike any we’ve ever seen.
Sure, there are some familiar BMW design cues such as the twin-kidney grille face, but in profile it looks both thick and pinched towards the rear. Clearly this is a new gen of BMW Sports Activity Vehicle. We also see some styling influence from the tiny i3, BMW’s original electric car. That’s fitting as it builds on the i3’s mix of aluminum and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic construction. A big windshield makes for great visibility, and the large panoramic roof with electromagnetic shading adds to the overall spacious interior vibe.
So, we must give BMW some props; if nothing else, they’ve proved they’re not afraid to step out there when it comes to styling lately, even if it means messing with tradition.
Now, in a more familiar BMW fashion, there are various levels of performance available. Our xDrive50 is the current base model and features twin-motor all-wheel-drive. BMW of course builds their own electric motors, and they’ve been doing it long enough for this to be the 5th generation of their eDrive technology. The front motor outputs 268-horsepower, the rear, 335; for a total of 516-horsepower and 564 lb-ft. of torque. The 111.5-kWh battery is rated for as many as 324-miles, but with the 22-inch wheel option, that drops to 315, which seems reasonable, as we were on pace for 311-miles in our driving loop. There’s a good efficiency rating too, of 39-kWh/100 miles.
Now, the available iX M60 ratchets up the performance quite a bit to 610-horsepower. Still, our test xDrive50 is far from a slouch as we found out at our Mason Dixon test track. It launches brutally hard, with little warning; so, if your head’s not up against the headrest, it’ll be there in short order. No wheel-spin and plenty enough grip to pounce to 60 in just 4.4-seconds. Unlike some EVs, it keeps on pulling strongly for the entire¼-mile, making spaceship like sounds the whole way. It may not be the most handsome SUV on the road, but it’s easily one of the fastest, with a 12.9-second ¼ at 111 miles-per-hour.
Things felt very much more traditional BMW in our handling course, staying incredibly flat, and not behaving like a typical utility vehicle at all. Much of the double-wishbone front and 5-link rear suspension is made of aluminum; and BMW’s unique lift-related shock absorbers, along with the optional air suspension, help provide a very smooth ride on the street, despite a locked-down nature on the track. Our drivers did have some issues with steering, however, both the awkward shape of the wheel itself, and the overly-sensitive directness in which the wheels respond to it. The iX did very well in our braking test. Very-controlled and stable stops from 60 of just 99-feet, with a nice firm pedal, and minimum nosedive.
Now, BMW obviously wanted to provide a different experience inside this 5-passenger cabin too. So, if you’re a traditionalist, you probably won’t like things like that squarish steering wheel and minimalist dash. But, if you’re new to the brand, you’ll love the avant-garde design, curved display, overall quality feel, crystal-like controls, and BMW’s “shy tech” approach of putting technology in the background as much as possible. But don’t worry, they’ve still included plenty of cup holders and USB ports; all the things expected for today’s active, caffeinated, and connected lifestyles.
Front seats could be a little more comfortable for our tastes, but no worries if you’re stuck in the back seats; good amounts of room all around, plus easy to access charge ports, and individual climate controls. As for all-important SUV capability, there’s a great 35.5 cubic-ft. of space in the cargo area, which expands to 77.9 cubic-ft. with rear seatbacks folded.
While many brands are focusing on getting EVs more mainstream, the iX is unfortunately still priced more for early adopters, starting at $85,095. Our tester came in well over $100,000, with the M60 starting at $109,795.
The 2022 BMW iX, even in its base form, is an amazing high-performance EV, and it is perfectly timed, but it’s still not our favorite BMW. To us, BMW’s i4 Gran Coupe is a much better example of seamlessly integrating battery propulsion into a BMW. The iX is more of an EV-first and a BMW second. So, while the results are still impressive, we’d prefer things the other way around.
Motor Setup: Dual Motor
Torque: 564 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
1/4 Mile: 2.9 seconds at 111 mph
60-0 Braking: 99 feet (avg)
EPA Range: 315 miles
MW Range: ~ 311 miles
Efficiency Rating: 39-kWh/100 miles