Roughly one year away from the start of production, BMW is officially giving us an official lookahead at their first-ever iX electric model, the series model inspired by the Vision iNEXT showcar of 2018. Under the internal codename I20, the new BMW iX is underpinned by a new technical platform which is both scalable and modular and will likely make its way onto several future models from BMW i and the core BMW brand. As you may happen to know, the iX is still under extensive on-road development and is scheduled to go into production at the Dingolfing plant in the second half of 2021.
BMW iX: The Brand’s technology trendsetter
The new all-electric flagship model of BMW i embodies a fresh design philosophy and certain notable advances in the area of vehicle concept, interior architecture, versatility and driving pleasure. As we are talking about a premium, zero-emission SAV, the new BMW iX also redefines luxury in a new, reinterpreted manner.
According to the statements of BMW Group management team, the new iX is a very important pillar in the electrification strategy and can thus be considered the new technology flagship, the driver for future development and a test bed for some of the upcoming innovative technologies of the automotive conglomerate.
The new BMW iX relies on the fundamental D+ACES strategy (Design, Automated Driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services), with a significant focus on sustainability, to bring in several innovations in areas such as optimized aerodynamics, lightweight design and the extensive use of natural and recycled materials.
Gen5 BMW eDrive platform for an increased electric range and efficiency
The iX electric flagship is underpinned by the latest, 5th generation BMW eDrive platform, which is also found under the new iX3 and will also make its underneath the upcoming i4. The architecture comprises the two electric motors, the power electronics, the charging technology and the high-voltage battery.
The power unit of the BMW eDrive is manufactured as sustainably as possible and, thus, rare earths are absent. The maximum output of the ensemble exceeds 370 kW / 500 PS (490 hp), while the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is possible in under 5.0 seconds.
According to preliminary measurements, the 100 kWh gross energy content of the high-voltage battery is sufficient enough to guarantee an overall range of above 600 kilometers, in the context of the low combined consumption figure of 21 kWh / 100 km calculated as per WLTP cycle. In the EPA FTP-75 range test, the new BMW iX achieves more than 300 miles.
DC fast charging at up to 200 kW and 5G data processing capabilities
The new BMW iX is fitted with a new charging technology that enables direct current fast charging at outputs of up to 200 kW. This helps charge the battery from 10% to 80% in under 40 minutes. Furthermore, in 10 minutes, you can charge the battery of the iX as to add around 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the electric range. Charging at home using the standard 11 kW BMW i Wallbox will “refill” the high-voltage battery in approximately 11 hours.
The digital infrastructure of the new BMW iX is capable of delivering around 20 times faster data processing times compared to infrastructures seen in current BMW models, while also doubling the analyzed data volumes. This has a positive impact in the areas of digital services and automated driving. The technology toolkit premiering on the new iX is also fully compatible with the 5G data transfer standard.
The exterior design of the iX: Clean, aerodynamic, uncomplicated, expressive
The new flagship of the BMW i sub-brand heralds the advent of an all-new hallmark design language. The overall exterior dimensions of the iX are comparable to those of the X5, whereas the height is similar to that of the X6. The large-diameter aerodynamic wheels remind pretty much of the high-end X7 luxury SAV.
The new BMW iX receives the slimmest headlights to-date for a BMW model. The “eyes” of the electric SAV come with standard BMW Adaptive LED technology with matrix function, but they can also be optionally ordered with BMW Laserlight. Furthermore, the new grille with separated kidneys stands as a testimony for the origins of the car and also integrate seamlessly the entire array of sensors, radars and cameras needed for the driving assistants and autonomous driving technology. The grille was specifically developed at BMW Group’s LuTZ research and technology center in Landshut, Germany.
The overall exterior design is defined by clear contours and surfaces, which fulfill both a visual and functional role. The new iX exudes a powerful look through its aerodynamic silhouette and specifically devised measures, that help reduce the drag and achieve a Cd of just 0.25. The minimalistic approach, or shy tech as BMW calls it, can also be depicted in the flush door handles (operated at the touch of a button), the frameless windows (a first in a BMW SAV), the slim rear lights retaining the traditional “L” shape and the tailgate with no separation joints, that extends across the entire rear area.
Furthermore, the BMW roundel at the front serves as cap to hide the filler neck for the windscreen washer fluid, while the logo at the rear hides away the rear-view camera. Other sensors and cameras that could not be fitted on the kidney grille are likewise seamlessly and discreetly integrated in the exterior design.
“The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotional design. The car is technologically complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The BMW iX offers a mobile living space in which people will feel at ease, where the car’s intelligence is only there when you need it.”
As part of specific exterior branding, the new BMW iX is characterized by an abundance of BMW i blue accents encompassing the electric and sustainability claims of the car. They are all over the I20 series: circling the BMW roundel, on the outer areas of the front bumper, on the side skirts and at the rear, where they act as aerodynamic diffuser and recall of the placement of the exhausts, if the iX were no electric model.
To further boost the exterior appeal of the new iX, BMW offers two optional customization choices: the Sport Package and the BMW Individual Exterior Line Titanium Bronze. The color palette is also pretty extensive and comprises both standard and BMW Individual shades, such as the Cashmere Silver metallic or the Aventurine Red II.
The Sport Package includes special triangular shields for the Air Curtains and high-gloss black coating for the bordering at the lower edge of the body, as well as for the door handles and the side skirts. As part of this package, the iX also receives smoked-glass tail lights, 21-inch Aerodynamic Wheels in Midnight Grey finish and blue-painted brake calipers.
Last, but not least, the iX gains a touch of bling and modern sophistication with the help of the BMW Individual Exterior Line Titanium Bronze, which is offered in conjunction with the Sport Package. The Titanium Bronze accents adorn the 3D structural elements of the kidney grille, the door handles, the lower edging of the side windows and the rear apron.
The interior of the iX: Lounge-like experience
Designers of the new iX focused on delivering an outstanding experience for the driver and passengers aboard the electric SAV. Boasting proper BMW X model proportions, the cabin of the iX is roomy enough to house five occupants, also given the disappearance of the central drive tunnel. The newly developed seats feature integrated headrests, while the panoramic glass roof with generous surface is certainly to set to create a feel-good atmosphere.
Instead of having an interior liner, the roof is the only one of its kind in the automotive industry to employ PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal) technology for shading the interior.
The interior of the BMW iX continues on the minimalistic and shy tech approach of the exterior. There are high-quality materials all over the place inside the cabin of the iX, together with intricately-styled air vents, the audio speakers hidden from eyesight, the heated surfaces and the seamless integration of the BMW Head Up Display projector, which becomes almost invisible. Other key features making their world debut in the iX are the hexagonal steering wheel, the rocker switch for gear selection and the BMW Curved Display. Thus, the infotainment of the new iX is based on a whole new BMW Operating System.
The curving, one-piece display that serves as the central control element reinterprets the traditional driver-centric design of BMW cockpits in visionary form. This has involved bringing together the 12.3-inch Information Display and the Control Display with its screen diagonal of 14.9 inches to form a single unit angled towards the driver. The Control Display section can still be clearly seen and easily operated by the front passenger.
The Controller is enclosed by a sharply styled control panel with a High-gloss Black frame, a glass-effect surface and white backlit buttons. The rest of the control panel design uses the principles of shy tech and reduction to the essentials at work. Instead of conventional buttons, a control surface with active haptic input subdivided by feeler bars is used to select the iDrive menus, driving modes and other functions.
The Touch Controller, designed in an extremely smart glass-effect finish for the BMW iX, is encircled by a bezel painted in Gold Bronze. A roller control allows for convenient adjustment of the audio system volume. The Start/Stop button is illuminated in the signature BMW i Blue, signifying the presence of an all-electric drive system. Nestled between the Start/Stop button and the button for the electromechanical parking brake is a newly devised rocker switch that takes the place of the customary gear selector lever.
The centre console’s lower level houses two cupholders, a smartphone tray with inductive charging, a 12V power connection and two USB-C ports.
The BMW iX comes with 2.5-zone automatic climate control as standard, with the option of upgrading to a four-zone system that allows the temperature and ventilation settings to be controlled individually for
the passengers in the rear as well as for the driver and front passenger.
State Of The Art Sound System
The audio system fitted as standard in the BMW iX comprises a HiFi sound system with twelve speakers and a 205-watt amplifier. A bespoke Harman Kardon Surround Sound System available as an option provides superb listening pleasure for all occupants with its seven-band equalizer, 655 watts of audio power and sound adjustment based on the car’s dynamic performance level. In all, 18 speakers are responsible for producing the surround sound effect, with four built-in speakers in the rear head restraints complementing the five midrange and five tweeter speakers.
The combination of two central bass speakers and two additional subwoofers located under the rear seat unit has never been seen before in a BMW model and ensures powerful sound performance. The system’s tweeters are housed behind top- quality perforated grilles, while the midrange speakers are hidden beneath the door panels’ fabric trim.
Available as an option for the first time, the latest version of the Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System boasts a seven-band equalizer, microphone-assisted sound control based on dynamic performance and five sound modes. With 30 speakers in total and an impressive amplifier output of 1,615 watts, this highly advanced system produces an exceptionally clear and wonderfully nuanced sound. Standout features include the eight speakers integrated into the front and rear head restraints, two Diamond tweeters, a quartet of 3D speakers, plus two central bass speakers and two subwoofers under the rear seats.
In addition to this, the Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System also incorporates a 4D Audio function generated using ‘shakers’ in the front seats. Their precise, magnetically controlled vibrations result in intense perception of bass frequencies, even at low volumes. The midrange units in the Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System are installed underneath the fabric door panel trim. The tweeters feature brushed stainless steel grilles with a classy brand logo etching and a discreet lighting effect.
Lightweight construction by means of aluminum and carbon
The new BMW iX presents an evolution to the current Carbon Core seen in multiple Bavarian models: the Carbon Cage. The lighweight, torsionally-resistant CFRP components are used in the construction of the vehicle’s passenger cell, for the body’s side, rear roof sections.
The CFRP, thermoplastics and aluminum are also extensively employed in the architecture of the bodyshell and chassis, thus helping effectively to lower the overall kerb weight of the iX and stay true to the lightweight concept. Furthermore, the intelligent body panelling and the underbody section ensure an optimal flow of air and reduce resistance, thus improving the drag coefficient (Cd) to 0.25.
The new BMW iX electric SUV will go on sale in late 2021 in Europe. The U.S. market will get its first units in early 2022. Even though BMW has currently announced only the top model, we expect two additional iX variants to follow. We anticipate a base price in the $70,000 range for the entry-level model, and likely over $100,000 for the top model.