The ethos of a luxury car has changed a lot in recent years. An excess of comfort, space, silence and speed is no longer enough. Nowadays, people also want a higher place in the traffic, so add an electric drive right away, ‘but then I do not bother to be at a charging station every two hours’. The answer to all your first-world problems can be found in the fully electric BMW iX xDrive50. We did the ultimate test in EV luxury and took the über-SUV packed and well to Berlin.
|+ Large electric range||– Awkward trunk|
|Lots of legroom||– Too many apps|
|+ Comfortable||– Speaker setting from the factory|
What is the BMW iX xDrive50?
After an early and promising start in 2013 with the i3 and i8, BMW’s electrical program has moved to a lower voltage. The competition managed to take over and the brand was allowed to look for a new reboot of its innovative i-series. This started with the BMW iX3, an EV version of the standard BMW X3. A cautious start, but with the next model, it was decided it was time for a flagship. The ultimate expression of what a luxury electric BMW in the i-series can look like.
The result of this is the BMW iX, a 4.95 meter long five-seater electric SUV that should completely blow the petrol-powered competition into oblivion. A look at the specification sheet shows that this is not a half-hearted attempt. In the iX xDrive 50 configuration, the WLTP range is a healthy 630 kilometers. The power of 523 hp and no less than 765 Nm of torque comes from two electric motors that drive both the front and rear axles.
The result is a 0-100 km / h time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 200 km / h not much later. When you are away from the autobahn, it is possible to charge up to 200 kW with a suitable DC fast charger. The battery pack of 105.2 kWh is then charged from 10 to 80 percent in about 34 minutes. Or put another way, ten kilometers per minute. So distance anxiety should not be an issue on our journey.
How does it run?
Before we leave, it is noteworthy that with a 100% full battery pack, the stated range indicates only 520 kilometers. As with any other electric car, the range specified is less than the WLTP number. At a price of 134,218.04 euros as our test car, however, most buyers will soon experience their first EV irritation. Fortunately, the range is still more than enough to drive 4 to 5 hours on the highway. Fully loaded with luggage, passengers and electricity, we travel comfortably towards the German border. The quietness of the cabin is impressive, as is the amount of legroom for each passenger. Even for people over 2 meters sitting in a row, it is not a problem at all.
In the driver’s seat, the driving position is comfortable but sporty. A reflection of the driving behavior of the BMW iX xDrive50. The power at 100 km / h is impressive, but the power over 100 km / h can be even more. Well past the German border, the foot goes all the way to the floor, and this is where the iX shows its true strength. The acceleration is almost the same at any speed below 180 km / h. The huge torque of 765 Nm sends you and your passengers to 200 in no time, and even at top speed, the iX does not seem very impressed with the whole spectacle. Meanwhile, the hydraulic suspension system disguises the German concrete slabs as a kind of extra bass line for your German techno music. Only the sound manages to get a little through the cabin.
Consumption at higher speeds remains reasonably limited. At 100 km / h the consumption is 21.1 kWh / 100 km, at 120 km / h this increases to 23.1 kWh / 100 km and at even higher speeds it all remains around 30 kWh / 100 km. In other words, at 120 km / h you get about 43 kilometers less far on one charge.
The number of fast charging stations in Germany has now passed seven thousand at more than two thousand locations. Especially along the autobahn it was no problem to find a suitable fast charging point above 200 kW. iX also helps you with this by specifying the appropriate charging locations. If the final destination on the navigation system is longer than the range allows, the most favorable stopover will be incorporated into the journey. The battery pack will then precondition so that the highest possible charging speed can be achieved. Speeds of 150 kW are achieved quite smoothly, even when preconditioning has not taken place.
Something that the BMW iX xDrive50 does particularly well is to make you forget what type of driving the car has. In this case, this is not an attack that the drive has no character, but rather that it can do everything the non-electric competition does. The force can feel like a kick in the back when you press deeply on the pedal, but at the same time calm like an air mattress that floats gently over the waves of the sea.
In addition, one almost forgets that it is an EV because range does not quickly become an issue. The BMW is involved in route planning, and during the holidays the driver has to stop faster than the car. Driving Assist Professional gives the BMW iX a lot of safety systems whose abbreviations I will spare you.
Specifically, the car will adaptively follow the vehicle in front from a distance, automatically changing the direction of the flashing light and preventing itself from overtaking drivers to the right. Combined with sign recognition, this provides an extremely complete package when it comes to highway driving.
There is a lot to be said about the design, especially the front causing so much controversy that the Mustang Mach-E might as well have been on it. However, there is no denying that the BMW iX has a lot of ‘road presence’. It’s a car you’ll definitely want to look at a second time, especially in the striking Aventurine Root III color with gold accents.
In terms of design, it is precisely the iDrive system where there are seams. It was decided to give the familiar knob a glass look on a wooden background. Not only does this appear to be obsolete within five years, the white icons are also unreadable when even a tiny bit of sun shines on them.
The blur continues as we scroll through all the apps and menus on the multimedia screen. There are fewer apps on the average phone and this causes frustration and distraction while driving. Luxury is the option to choose, but in this case, less would have been more
Where the rear seat passengers have plenty of space, this unfortunately does not apply to luggage. The space set at 500 liters sounds adequate, but the trunk is cut diagonally. This ensures that the space becomes significantly smaller the higher you stack. For four people, there was only just enough luggage space to get away in a midweek. In addition, the electric tailgate does not stop automatically at low ceilings, resulting in some very cramped situations in cramped parking garages.
No shortage of technology on our BMW iX. Both front and rear, there are enough gadgets to let a good holiday trip go by. For example, the electric flagship is equipped with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch multimedia display. Despite the fact that the iDrive system has become less obvious in this version, operation is still easy. A rotary knob and touch screen are still easier than just a touch screen. Here is more more.
The navigation system shows you which way to go in three different places. Both on the multimedia screen, the instrument cluster and on the head-up display. On the multimedia screen, the iX displays camera images with arrows pointing you in the right direction.
The Bowers & Wilkins speaker system has also been added. Thanks to more than 30 speakers distributed throughout the cabin, there is no escaping the bass vibration through your seat and pedals. Fortunately, this can still be adjusted, but from the factory, the music will vibrate through the cabin even with soft settings. Then be careful when removing the soda cans from the cooled center console.
In addition to plenty of legroom, the rear end also has individual climate control and heated seats. A total of four USB-C ports can be found, smartly built into the back of the front seats. There is also an interesting sliding element here. This is the basis for various accessories that BMW offers for the rear seat. Think of a hanger, tablet holder or even a folding table.
Conclusion BMW iX xDrive50
As a concept, the BMW iX is a no-brainer. Driving more than 500 kilometers electrically in a BMW-branded SUV is very tempting for many people. As a holiday car, it has more than adequately solved its task. The navigation system sent us in the wrong direction twice. It’s not a problem, but thanks to the many augmented reality arrows, you’re quickly inclined to agree with the BMW, even if you see that Berlin is really straightforward. Also the luggage space in a negative sense, this is a bit too tight for a large SUV.
However, there are a few points on a holiday trip that were very enjoyable, especially thanks to the BMW iX. The navigation system thinks well of planning the trip as efficiently as possible. When it’s finally time to recharge, a short break of 30 minutes will do. The most impressive thing is how the iX feels at home on the Autobahn. The acceleration is impressive at any speed, and the feeling of range-anxiety also leaves you well into the rearview mirror.