BMW iX: First test drive with the electric SUV


It was unquestionably a turning point that BMW drove to with the X5 more than 20 years ago. The success proved those responsible, and not me, who couldn’t pretend how this jacked-up thing should fit the brand, demands and customers. The next revolution is looming, and its chances of success should be better than with the X5 experiment back then. Together with the i4, the iX represents a change at BMW that will gradually change the brand more sustainably than ever before in the long history of the group. A first trip with the standard BMW iX xDrive50.

The change has long been underway for BMW. Gone are the days when you could set yourself apart from the competition with high-revving, well-engineered engines. In the drive area, your own advantages will be more difficult to communicate in the future, which is not surprising. It is impressive that the electric motors do not use rare earths and that the cobalt content in the batteries has been further reduced – BMW relies on NMC811 cells – but such details are less light-footed than the sound and power of a straight six-cylinder the past. So other arguments are needed to attract solvent customers.

First, however, a previous recipe should ignite, because BMW is showering the E-SUV with power, so to speak. Even the basic model iX xDrive40 offers 240 kW, the iX xDrive50 we moved at the appointment has a system output of 385 kW. The front engine has an output of 190 kW, the rear 230. The curb weight is just under 2.6 tons. BMW promises an acceleration from zero to 100 km / h in 4.6 seconds, which seems believable, but is relatively imperceptible because there is no din. Because of course there is enough budget in this class to install excellent insulation that also keeps out wind and tire rolling noise. BMW took the chance, the iX is a very quiet car.

This fits in with the basic alignment of the chassis, which satisfies comfort rather than dynamic requirements. Sure, the iX can take bends at a considerable speed, but even BMW cannot conjure up an empty weight of 2.6 tons. There is no active roll stabilization, so the SUV leans noticeably in curves, whereby it is noticeable that the seats should offer a little more lateral support. In this regard, the iX can travel faster than the vehicle’s orientation suggests. The chassis hardly reports bad roads, and never gives the impression of complete decoupling.

If you missed statements about the design of the BMW iX in the article …

The driver should always keep an eye on the speed, because the comfortable cover skilfully conceals how fast the car is currently driving. Up to 200 km / h should be possible, we haven’t tried it. But intermediate sprints well below this top speed indicate that this iX can be a fast car.

Ample weight, high performance and, last but not least, a huge frontal area are, of course, ingredients for an overall concept, which in the end cannot result in sensationally low power consumption. You shouldn’t fool yourself here: BMW already mentions values ​​between 19.8 and 23 kWh in the WLTP, with this first short trip it was in the end 26.9 kWh / 100 km – with a little margin downwards and significantly more upwards. The consumption in the cycle cannot simply be converted into range – we have explained why in this article.

A battery with a net energy content of 105.2 kWh serves as storage in the xDrive50. BMW promises a range between 549 and 630 km under the conditions of the cycle. The charging option becomes more exciting and also not easy to communicate, at least when the customer wants to take a closer look. In terms of alternating current, it will remain at 11 kW for the time being, although BMW will later add the option of 22 kW.

The 195 kW direct current are more exciting for long-distance travel, but it is becoming apparent that such peak values ​​alone do not say anything about the charging time in practice. BMW calls a time of 35 minutes for a charge from 10 to 80 percent. In relation to the net energy content, this would mean that the average charging power in this window is around 126 kW – provided that the infrastructure plays along, of course.