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Electric SUV may not have the looks – but it certainly seems to have the right stuff under the skin

BMW iX SUV (21 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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PROS

  • Up to 373 miles of range
  • Capable of super-fast charging
  • Boxy body looks practical

CONS

  • Challenging looks
  • All-screen interior could be an irritation
  • Not arriving until the end of 2021

BMW iX SUV rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

Electric SUVs are all the rage, and this is BMW’s take on the action – the new iX. It's the flagship electric car in the German company's range, and as you can see from the accompanying images, it's certainly a divisive-looking vehicle – which is great if you fall on the side of those who like its styling.

The iX looks set to rival similar large EVs from competitor German brands such as the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC, as well as the ever-present Tesla Model X – and will do so with some numbers that look seriously impressive at first glance.

The new BMW iX will launch towards the tail-end of 2021, but here’s what we know so far.

BMW iX: flagship electric SUV

BMW’s been a bit quiet on the electric vehicle front in recent years, so it’s easy to forget that it was one of the trailblazers with its small and very clever i3. Well, the new iX is part of a hefty product offensive that, the brand promises, will see nine new EVs in the market by 2025.

As a large SUV the iX will sit at or near the top of that model line-up, and it’ll be fitted with the most advanced battery and motor tech BMW can lay its hands on – giving it impressive efficiency and range numbers, as well as super-quick charging speeds. The interior, too, will feature a new interpretation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, set into a cabin with a minimalist aesthetic and two enormous screens.

A brand’s range-topper does need to stand out, and BMW sadly hasn’t abandoned the styling department that brought us the latest 4 Series. Like that car, the new iX wears an enormous and – sorry BMW – ugly grille, though being electric its inclusion for cooling is minimal and as such it’s filled in with a geometric pattern.

The rest of the car doesn’t really look like a supermodel in comparison, either – it’s bottom-heavy and rife with garish body creases. Still, the car’s boxy silhouette and large dimensions should help with interior space – BMW says it’s comparable in size to an X5.

What's it like inside?

The iX’s dashboard barely looks like it belongs on a production car – it’s been intentionally pared-back, with speakers, air vents and storage made to blend in to the huge, fabric-covered panel.

Engineered to stand out are the two curved screens, a 14.9-inch driver’s display and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. They’re running the eighth iteration of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which the brand claims has 20 to 30 times the processing power of its predecessor.

All the car’s computing power will make life easier for the occupants, who’ll enjoy voice and gesture control as well as a huge selection of semi-autonomous driving technology, backed up with a 5G modem for better communication with cloud-based services.

BMW iX range and charging

BMW will initially offer the iX in two model variants, badged xDrive40 and xDrive50.

xDrive in both stands for all-wheel drive, signifying the presence of a motor on each axle. 40 and 50 refer to their power outputs and battery capacity.

The xDrive50 will occupy the top of the range, and the numbers BMW has released so far are very impressive indeed – it claims it’ll extract 373 miles of range from its 100kWh battery, with a 0-62mph time of less than five seconds thanks to a combined 500hp.

For comparison, the Tesla Model X – though faster at well below four seconds to 62mph – can achieve 348 miles WLTP range, while the Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC can manage 252 and 255 miles respectively. The xDrive40, which BMW says will be comparable in price to a similar X5, offers a lower but still usable 249 miles of range from its 75kWh battery, and 0-62mph in less than six seconds.

Both models are capable of super-fast charging – 150kW for the xDrive40 and 200kW for the xDrive50. In layman's terms, that means just ten minutes plugged in results in 56 and 75 miles of range respectively. Highly impressive. Both can also charge from 10% to 80% charge in as little as 40 minutes.

So, whatever you think of its looks, there's no denying it looks like it's blessed with a longer range than its immediate rivals from Germany.

Read on to see whether we think the BMW iX is worth waiting for

BMW iX SUV rivals