Forget Series 7, BMW iX is the flagship of the future. The task of this new Bavarian car is simple: to be the non plus ultra of the House of Monaco in the field of electric cars, but not only. On the iX you can see the latest technologies of the Group, from the new generation mechanics to an interior full of technology, but a little … shy. Don’t worry, it will soon be clear. I drove the new BMW iX xDrive50 under the toughest conditions for an electric: temperatures below zero, long motorway journey and 1,500 meters of elevation gain, from Milan in the heart of the Aosta Valley. How did the electric SUV with over 500 hp behave? Let’s find out together.
The technological highlights of the BMW iX xDrive50: from the self-healing grille to the carbon fiber frame
We have already talked about BMW iX other times, the last in June at the static presentation of the electric SUV of the Bavarian house. We therefore already know well, at least on paper, the new iX and all its technological innovations at its debut on a model from the House of Monaco. Because of this, if you want a complete overview we refer you to dedicated articles which you can find linked at the bottom of the page. Here, however, let’s do a little selection, a tasting of the salient technologies of a car that is simply a concentrate of technology at the highest levels.
In fact, already from the outside you can see several unique tricks. The particular design, which we will talk about shortly, is not accidental: although it is areally big car, 4.95m long, wide just under 2 meters (197 cm to be precise) and high ben 1,70 m, his aerodynamic penetration coefficient is 0.25. This is an exceptional achievement, achieved by making a car from fluid design aimed at maximum aerodynamic efficiency, as well as equipped with refined solutions. The underbody is completely faired, for example, and at the rear we find a diffuser true that it directs flows to maximize efficiency.
More, the frame is made of light and very high strength materials. The side panels, roof reinforcements and other components are made of CFRP, the reinforced carbon fiber brought to its debut by BMW on the i3. Thus one creates one Carbon Cage, a carbon fiber cell visible every time you enter the car: the door sills and door sills are in fact made of CFRP e they are not painted, in order to make an incredible impact once you get on board. This carbon cage, combined with components in aluminum, high-strength titanium steel and a high-strength polymer make the body of the iX as light as possible.
In addition, thehuge front grille, which as we have already explained to you in the past is not only there to make the scene but to hide all the sensors for autonomous driving, is faired and made of self-healing polyurethane. In a nutshell, when a scratch or a chip appears on the surface of the XXL kidney, this very special and very flexible polymer is able to return to thein its original shape in case of scratches or minor damage. Basically, when this material is scratched, it “bends”, but does not get damaged.
Then just a little bit of heat to the polymer mesh for return to its original form, eliminating unsightly scratches and chips. BMW explained to us that it takes about 24 hours at room temperature, or a few minutes if energized with a direct heat source. A very futuristic solution, but also important for a component that, behind a breaking aesthetic, is fundamental for the autonomous driving solutions of the car. This panel, if damaged, could inhibit all autonomous driving functions. Keeping it in perfect shape is therefore essential for the proper functioning of the car.
Finally, the xDrive50 version we tested sports one excellent technological equipment. Starting with the iDrive OS8 infotainment operating system, which we have already talked about and will return to later, the top-of-the-range version of iX is equipped with height-adjustable air suspension, rear steering wheels, panoramic roof with matt surface, fari BMW Laser and much, much more.
From the outside it is debatable: BMW iX xDrive50 is “difficult” for European palates
As we have seen, the technology it is an integral part of BMW iX. But as we well know, cars are not bought only with the head and heart, but also with the eyes. And for this BMW iX has been one of the most talked about cars of recent years. Obviously, as always, aesthetic taste is completely subjective: so we will not tell you if this car is good or bad, because that is a judgment that you will be able to formulate yourself from the photos. But let’s see from an objective point of view what BMW iX xDrive50 looks like live.
Never as this time have I understood as soon as I saw it for the first time that I was in front of a car destined to divide. The forms are extremely original, personal and distinguish it not only from all other cars, but from all other BMWs. Already with i3 and i8 we were used to electric cars that upset the typical BMW styles, but here we have taken a further step towardsoriginality. Before analyzing the aesthetics of the BMW iX, I would like to say a few words about the color: this dark burgundy metallic, named by BMW Aventurine Red, is truly spectacular and makes iX even more elegant and particular.
The front it is undoubtedly the most discussed part. The large, indeed very large, double anterior kidney takes the whole scene, and is sure to please iX customers who come from the East. However, we find around it very clean and light lines, a bit like wanting to smooth out the aggressiveness of that self-repairing front grille. THE to do, Laser on our specimen, are also thin and tapered, and all the lines of the car are concentrated towards the rear, so as to give maximum aerodynamic efficiency.
On the side, the BMW iX is really massive, and has very particular proportions. The relatively short bonnet, which cannot be opened, and the very spacious passenger compartment make the side view unique. THE circles they can arrive up to 22 inches in diameter, with our specimen that stopped at 21, while each line is sweet, rounded and clean. Beautiful the sunken handles inside the door, as well as the door with open windows, without frames, the muscular rear wheel arch and the moulding with the logo iX on the C-pillar, which breaks up the side view.
All the tapered and clean lines converge towards the coda of BMW iX, which in order not to disfigure from an aerodynamic point of view sports a very special design. We do not have solutions from SUV coupe or two and a half volumes, but anyway the tail is tapered and combines a sloping rear window with a very clear vertical tailgate. The whole is then adorned by very thin rear lights, which, as we have said several times, are inspired by the BMW E9 of the 60s. Overall, the BMW iX is a car that totally divides: either you love it, or you hate it. Surely, it does not leave you indifferent, and behind that huge grid that has attracted attention hides very interesting stylistic features. The impact at first glance, however, is imposing: large, powerful but at the same time clean and elegant, BMW iX invites you to get on board to find out what it is capable of.
The interiors combine “shyness” and bold and courageous solutions. And how much space!
And once you get inside, the feeling you get is really special. For several years, in fact, getting into a BMW had in mind what would be found inside. Important central tunnel, iDrive screen in the center of the cantilevered dashboard, and a lying driving position with all the controls within easy reach of the driver. Today, however, everything changes on the BMW iX xDrive50 in the name of a minimalism which however does not force any renunciation. The passenger compartment in fact follows a very particular philosophy, that of Shy-Tech, shy technology. The dashboard is in fact spotless, equipped with a crazy one floating curved OLED screen, supported by two very sturdy steel supports. Here we find two systems integrated into this huge single screen, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster e l’infotainment iDrive OS8 14.9-inch. Inside iX there is everything: it’s just hidden.
BMW iX is in fact equipped with the latest technological solutions, starting from state-of-the-art infotainment system and which we told you about last week during our trip to the BMW Group Training Center. Everything, however, is apparently hidden. Despite the amount of computing power, the infinite possibilities of the system and the enormous amount of functions available, the interior of BMW iX does not scare. Physical commands, both “real” and touch, are very few, and concentrated in specific areas. Between the two seats we find the floating helm station, which integrates the gear selector, the legendary iDrive rotor, quick controls for driving modes, navigator functionality, air suspension and cameras. On the doorman, we find the commands for i seats, for the memories and the quick key for the functionality of the seats made in crystal.
The crystal theme we also find it on the rotor of the iDrive and on other controls, such as the volume. They are details tamarri which will surely appeal to customers from the Middle East and China. In addition to the crystal, however, we also find a hexagonal steering wheel equipped with physical and touch steering wheel controls, and an impressive amount of space. There is no shortage of centimeters in any direction, neither in front, where you navigate in space, nor behind, where even 3 people can stay comfortably thanks to the absence of the central tunnel. Even the trunk it is quite large with a minimum capacity of 500 liters which can reach a maximum of 1750.
With all the controls being hidden, the Lounge effect is very strong, but it takes some getting used to. The climate, for example, it cannot be operated via physical commands, but integrated into the central screen. The iDrive OS8 itself takes a bit of learning for the amount of information which is inside, but once you make friends it becomes almost intuitive and easy. I say almost, because the system is so complete and useful that getting distracted is quite simple, and you can’t always do everything without taking your eyes off the road.
In any case, however, the environment is incredibly refined and made with quality materials …