The upcoming iNEXT / iX is the pillar of the electric future at BMW. The fully-electric SUV made its debut as a concept in 2019 and next year, it’s finally ready for its market introduction. But in the mean time, BMW will host a digital event next month to unveil their most advanced car to date. That title was usually reserved for the 7 Series flagship, but the BMW iX wears that crown. For now. Many details are still under wraps and won’t be unveiled until close to launch time, but as we reported in the past, we expect to see at least three iX variants.
Just like Tesla offers the same model with different power outputs and electric ranges, BMW will follow down the same path. The power range is rumored to vary from 300 to 600 horsepower. Clearly, the most important aspect of an electric vehicle is the electric range. And the BMW iX won’ disappoint. The electric range is rumored to span from around 400 km to over 600 km per full charge. These figures are measured on the WLTP cycle.
Of course, there is much more than the electric drivetrain. A series of innovations will make their way into the BMW iX. For example, the BMW Natural Interaction. If you remember the concept, it showed a different way of communicating with the car, using revolutionary materials that were sensible to touch. This will apparently be introduced on the production vehicle and on other high-end BMW models in the future.
We also reported nearly a year ago that iX could get the Intelligent Glass Control technology. German conglomerate Continental has a similar technology which been available on other cars since 2017, but not nearly in the same price range as the iNext.
Along with highly automated driving features, the iNEXT will provide extensive advancements in terms of interior design. BMW has teased a newly designed steering wheel back in 2019. The steering wheel has a polygonal geometry featuring unique contours – inspired by motor racing – and designed to optimize entry and seating comfort as well as providing an enhanced view of the instrument cluster. The Curved Display was recently teased by BMW as well.
The steering’s rim is flattened in both the lower and upper sections, while the rounded corners at the sides is said to provide a comfortable hand rest. BMW says that the advantages of this geometry come into play in particular when switching from highly automated to active driving.
So all this new technology, along with others which will be announced in the future, will likely come with a premium price. If we take a quick look at the electric SUV segment, we will come across the Tesla Model X Long Range Plus which starts at $75,000, followed by the Performance variant at $95,000. At the same time, the top BMW X5 model – M50i – starts at $82,000 and has similar proportions as the iX, sans all the latest tech and electric drivetrain. Therefore, it is not far fetched to believe that the most expensive BMW iX model could easily jump over the $100,000 mark.
Naturally, to stay competitive, the entry-level iX will be priced to directly compete with Tesla and other new electric SUVs.
The U.S. production is not likely to begin until late November 2021, so the official pricing is likely to be released a few months ahead of the production start.
[Top Rendering by @zer.o.wt]