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The BMW iX drives its own path

Aktualisiert: 21. Dez. 2022

BMW is currently on everyone's lips for bringing cars with very unconventional designs or design details onto the market. Whether it's the vertical kidneys of the front grille or the hexagonal angel eyes, there's plenty to talk about. Originally, many of these design elements came from the BMW iX, a vehicle that is not very common on Swiss roads.

First impressions

This BMW iX is painted in “Aventurin Red metallic” (1’450.- CHF option). A dark shade of red that reminds me of dark cherries. No matter the weather, the tasty paintjob never disappoints and even pops during the blizzard. Such a great colour!

The sports package reinforces the vehicle's dynamic character. Specially designed side skirts in high-gloss black and sporty bumper covers ensure a significantly sharper look. Other highlights include the sports brakes with blue-painted callipers and the exclusive 21" aerodynamic wheels. It sets you back an extra 4000.- CHF leading to a base prise of almost 123’000.- CHF. At least you got rid of the visible plastic applications the base model had all around the sills and bumpers.

Shown on top are many other options. The Titanium Bronze Exterior Line package (extra 830.- CHF) gives the vehicle an unmistakable, luxurious appearance with trim parts in titanium bronze. The scope varies depending on the equipment variant, whether the basic version or the sports package. In both cases, in addition to the door handles and the underside of the window slot cover, the pattern of the BMW kidney grille (still unsure if I like it on BMW’s electric vehicles) and the model lettering on the rear are made of titanium bronze. This gives the iX a particularly exclusive and valuable, as well contemporary touch which I can highly recommend to order in case you’re about to buy a new BMW iX.

What it’s all about

The BMW iX marks the re-entry into the electric world by the Bavarian brand after the i3 and i8 Hybrid Sportscar.

The currently coveted way to enter the world of electric vehicles is to launch a prestigious model. Pretty clear when the SUV and crossover segment is booming. Basically, this conventional way should be reconsidered. Don't you think so?

It leads to the market becoming monotonous and a constantly growing competition among car manufacturers. Means that from the point of view of successful sales, only the wow effect of the car counts. BMW recognized this and put together a car that is intended to propel the brand into new spheres. This primarily affects the interior of the vehicle. Because if the drive can bring little emotion with it, the deficit must be made up elsewhere. More about the interior later.

Driving experience

Interestingly, this car conveys some characteristics in an unusual way. It somehow feels like you’re moving your beloved 2050 chill or lounge area from A to B. Or rather your own futuristic audio studio because the optional Bowers and Wilkins surround system blew my mind. However, it is a great advantage if you drive an electric car as a music-loving person, because the sound experience of the music is much more prominent. And when the audio system performs sufficiently, the combustion engine is hardly missing.

Speaking of the engine, the iX 50 is ridiculously fast. But the torque does not break out like a giant wave over the vehicle and occupants, it unfolds in a way that can be easily controlled via the accelerator pedal, but is hardly less impressive, almost as if it wanted to simulate the power development of a very, very powerful combustion engine. Which indeed, makes the power output more predictable. Additionally, it is standard-fitted with an air-suspension which transforms driving on roads into floating through clouds. But if you flick it into Sport mode to tighten up the dampers, the difference in body control is night and day. It feels slightly like flying along a friendly jet fighter considering having an almost rectangular shaped steering wheel in your hands. A true advantage of an adaptive air suspension. Otherwise, the iX pitches and wallows in a quite unwelcome way if you just leave it in its default drive mode, only feeling tied down with the suspension in its stiffest setting.

The iX xDrive50 should reach approximately 600km with a single charge and an average consumption of 20-21kWh/100km in optimal conditions. However, it is good to know that the 105.2kWh battery can be charged from 10 to 80% at a quick charging station within 35 minutes. Fun fact: it’s one of the biggest in any production car on the current market.

To the interior

The place, where the magic happens. The magic in my head. An overflow of impressions, surprises and excitement. The exclusive olive leaf-tanned natural leather of the “Suite Castanea interior design” on the instrument panel, door panels, centre console and seats create a luxurious ambience. Metal accents in gold bronze support this elegant impression. The elaborate stitching makes the upholstery lush and comfortable. In addition, the interior applications “Clear&Bold” as a part of the “Exclusive Package” enhance the interior with switches made of real crystal glass and decorative elements made of open-pored wood in the centre console. The switches in the centre console appear particularly sculptural thanks to their facet cut and fit perfectly into the tidy interior.

The seating comfort is second to none. In my opinion, it is only surpassed by that of a luxury sedan. You could drive this car for hours. Definitely.

Despite having an amazing looking interior, everything is extremely thought out and positioned in its perfect place. As a non-layman, I recognized that the iX has been built as an electric car from the ground up leading that the cabin feels very spacious and gives you some feelings of a luxurious SPA hotel you always wished to stay for a few nights. It is just different. Everything is different. Refreshingly different!

Now what to buy

Mixed feelings. I am an advocate of overpowered SUVs because they just make absolutely no sense. Too much weight (2.3 tons in this case), a too high centre of gravity even with batteries in the floor pan, too much air resistance and luxury at the expense of weight. Apart from the enormous environmental impact of production, the BMW iX has more than convinced me. Especially since I don't like the front end very much, the rear end skilfully compensates for this deficit. However, the main focus of the car was placed on the interior. And they have set the bar on another level depending on the creativity, material mix and quality without any question. BMW has caught up to the competition with Mercedes-Benz and Audi. However, in its own way, which I really appreciate.

And when we're already making the comparison, it's noticeable that the BMW, even in the weaker motorized variant with around 330 hp (xDrive40), is about as expensive as a Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 (400 hp) but trumps it in any other aspect. And with the xDrive50 variant with 527hp, and the equipment variant presented here costs almost 40% more than the Stuttgarter mentioned. Considering the huge leap forward in terms of interiors and better driving distances, a price premium might be in order. But around CHF 145,000 is undoubtedly a confident price tag. Sadly, there is no option to spec the bigger battery from the xDrive50 with the less-powerful drivetrain from the xDrive40. It would have been the perfect compromise.

To end this review, I wanted to thank BMW Switzerland and the Swiss BMW Brand Experience Centre for inviting me to Dübendorf, the amazing hospitality, for the great time being there, having a look at many cool cars and to drive their iX xDrive50 M Sport in a blizzard. I would have never thought that an electric car would impress me that much!

Chapeau! ...or rather in Bavarian traditions: Prost!

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