BMW reveals the iX: its BEV SUV

12 November 2020

12 November 2020

BMW has drawn back the curtain on its upcoming battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the iX. It will be the first model based on the carmaker’s new modular scalable platform, taking advantage of the latest electric and technological capabilities.

‘The BMW Group is constantly striving to re-invent itself. That is a central element of our corporate strategy,’ said Oliver Zipse, the carmaker’s chairman of the board of management. ‘The BMW iX expresses this approach in an extremely concentrated form.’

Currently in its series development phase, the iX will go into production at the manufacturer’s Dingolfing plant from the second half of 2021, with the expectation that it will launch in the same year. 

New technology flagship

Using the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive system, the BEV will take advantage of two electric motors, power electronics, charging technology and a high-voltage battery. This will provide a maximum output of more than 370kW/500hp, which will power the iX from 0 to 100km/h in under five seconds.

But with efficiency in mind, the electric SUV will be capable of low consumption rates - less than 21kWh per 100 kilometres in the WLTP test cycle. So, a battery with more than 100kWh of capacity could potentially claim a range over 600 kilometres in this testing case. These figures are based on WLTP standards with the carmaker estimating an equivalent EPA range of 300 miles. BMW’s new electric capabilities will also allow DC fast-charging up to 200kW. This means the battery can be charged from 10% to 80% of its full capacity in under 40 minutes. Meanwhile, it would take less than 11 hours to go from 0% to 100% at an 11kW wall box.

The iX will become the group’s new technology flagship, bringing together advancements in design, autonomy, connectivity, and services. For example, the new platform will increase the car’s computing capabilities, allowing it to process 20 times the data volume of previous models. As a result, the car can process around twice the amount of data from vehicle sensors than was previously possible.

‘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, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system,’ said Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW.

Design and sustainability

Following an environmentally-friendly trend, BMW made sustainability a cornerstone of the car’s design, utilising optimised aerodynamics, lightweight design and extensive use of natural and recycled materials. The power unit has also been manufactured sustainably, without the use of critical raw materials known as ‘rare earths.’ The energy used to produce the battery cells and the high-voltage unit also comes exclusively from renewable sources.

The iX will also sport BMW’s new large kidney grille design, the prominence of which on the new 4-Series sparked divisive debates. Because the electric drive only needs a small amount of cooling air, the grille is completely blanked off. So, it has adopted a new digital role, functioning as an intelligence panel, playing host to cameras, radars and other sensors, all behind a transparent surface.

The interior is shaded by a large panoramic glass roof, with the electric drive removing the need for a central tunnel, creating an open feel, with extra legroom in the front and rear, as well as sufficient storage space. BMW has gone for a ‘shy tech approach,’ with out-of-sight speakers, heated surfaces and the heads-up display’s projector is recessed into the instrument panel, making it ‘almost invisible.’

While promises of new technologies, a capable powertrain and sustainable design appear promising, given that the iX is still in its development phase, interested customers will have to wait until the BEV’s release to see how it delivers.