The First Ever BMW iX
BMW seems to be all in on the giant kidneys. We might as well get used to it.
That’s what the press release for the introduction of this car is titled: “The First Ever BMW iX.” Odd, since the first ever BMW iX was the 325iX, a four-wheel drive E30 3 Series, which was introduced in 1985 in Europe and in 1988 in the U.S. So, this isn’t the first iX. And iX and Xi have been suffixes in model names up until now. This is the whole name of this car? I expected an iX5 and an iX3 and on and on, leaving no integer unused.
But that’s just the beginning of what, for me, is a new BMW that leaves me very confused.
Where does it reside in the hierarchy of what is sure to be a series of electric SAVs? Why is it being introduced in November 2020, while it is a 2022 model year vehicle? Maybe to provide sufficient time for people like me to become less confused. And to warm up to the looks. Yes, there is the styling. BMW has taken the giant kidneys from the 4 Series, easily the most controversial styling element since the Bangle butt of the E65 7 Series, and added the peculiar side window treatment of the i3. Don’t get me wrong, I like the quirky side window treatment of the i3; that vehicle needs to look a little odd since it is a real breakthrough type of car. It needs to tell the world, “BMW builds an electric car with a carbon fiber passenger cell and no one else does.” Not to mention the fashion statement it makes for the owner of the i3.
But in the case of the iX, the result is, to put it charitably, not pretty. It looks modern … but is that enough? Some of the X vehicles have been, to my eyes, quite good looking. I like the current X1 and X3 and find most generations of the X5 handsome. This iX is not handsome to me, but maybe it will grow on me.
The iX is based on the CLAR modular, scalable architecture that will be used for almost all future BMWs. This platform uses steel, aluminum and carbon fiber and will accommodate rear or all-wheel drive. CLAR is shorthand for Cluster Architecture, and at this point the jokes almost write themselves. It will enter production in the second half of 2021 at the Dingolfing plant. It will go on sale in the U.S. in early 2022.
The iX is supposed to be a technological tour de force, with the latest BMW ideas in terms of design, connectivity, electrification, digital services and sustainability. To me that says, don’t buy one during the first year or two of production, while they are being field-tested on the customers.
The iX is slated to have 500 horsepower and a 0 to 62 mph time of 5.0 seconds. Like any pure electric, all the torque is available from the get-go and these things accelerate. Maybe I’m already starting to warm up to this thing. Range is said to be about 300 miles, so comparable to a Tesla.
DC fast charging will provide 75 miles of range from a ten-minute charge. Of course, you will never find a DC fast charger. More typical will be the 11-hour charging time, which is a bit more than an i3 on a 240-volt charger. That’s the time to take the batteries from fully discharged to fully charged.
Technology and Climate Concerns
BMW’s goal with its i vehicles is to take their cars out of the climate discussion. The proprietary batteries are built using renewable energy and are made without the use of rare earth raw materials. CEO Oliver Zipse puts it this way, “Technology is driving the advances we need to tackle even the greatest challenges. This applies in particular to climate protection. We are in no doubt: mobility has to be sustainable if it is to represent a truly outstanding solution.”