BMW launched its fully-electric SUV yesterday, named as the iX. The highly-anticipated model, which was introduced as the iNEXT concept, has been renamed for the launch. BMW had been hyping up the launch of this Tesla competitor for quite some time now. The production of this SUV will start late next year, and the company is expecting deliveries to begin in early 2022.
BMW iX Unveiled, Set To Take On Tesla Model X
The iX has made a strong first impression, combining BMW’s performance with a modern look. The most important figure for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) these days is the range. The iX boasts of a 300 mile (480 km) range according to the EPA test. According to the WLTP test, it can go more than 600 km on a single charge.
BMW iX Specs
The 300-mile range of the iX may not be a segment-leading figure, but it is sure to challenge other electric SUVs in the industry. BMW also mentioned that the iX will have a battery pack with a gross energy content of more than 100 kWh. This huge battery pack will be powering two electric motors. These motors have the capability of pulling together up to 500 bhp, or 370 kW of power. This will enable the iX to go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
In terms of charging, the iX will have DC charging capabilities of up to 200 kW, and BMW believes that it will be able to charge the car from 10% to 80% in around 40 minutes.
BMW iX Looks
Overall, the iX looks like the most modern BMW to date. When BMW introduced the iNEXT concept, it looked like a futuristic design, but the German company has toned it down for the production version. The trademark kidney-shaped faux grille is still there, but it is surrounded by a set of aggressive headlights. The headlights come with the standard full-LED lamps, while BMW’s Laserlight is available as an option.
The iX combines the functionality of the BMW X5, the sportiness of the BMW X6, and the visual impact of the BMW X7. Add to this the fully-electric all-wheel drivetrain, and this car is sure to excite the market. The length and width are comparable with the X5, while it matches the X6 in height. The wheels, however, give the iX a familiarity to the X7.
The rearview camera is integrated into the logo in the center of the tailgate. The rear LED lamps sport a slimmer design than any of the previous BMW designs.
On The Inside
The interior is designed to give a comfortable feeling to the passengers. BMW has gotten rid of most of the unnecessary controls, giving out an unclustered, relaxing look to the inside of the car. Speakers integrated out of sight, intricately styled air vents, and heating surfaces appear only when required. The infotainment system consists of a sufficiently large curved screen in the center, which takes care of most of the controls.
All iDrive elements can be selected and activated with the familiar iDrive controller, which form the main control element of the center console. The support structure of the Curved Display is concealed from the passengers, thus giving it a free-standing look.
In the last few months, there has been a rise in the number of electric SUVs being unveiled. Mercedes launched its EQC, Audi unveiled its eTron, and the Jaguar i-Pace has been in the news too. Ford also went electric with its Mustang, introducing the Mach E, while Volkswagen has brought its ID.4 to the market.
The biggest competition for the BMW iX, however, will be the Model X, which has been around for quite some time. BMW has always talked about challenging Tesla with the iNEXT concept, but this is easier said than done.
The Tesla Model X provides a range of 341 and 371 miles for the Performance and Long Range variants respectively. This is significantly higher than the iX’s 300 miles. The acceleration is also excellent in the Model X. The Long Range variant can go from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 kph) in 4.4 seconds. The Performance variant, with Ludicrous mode engaged, does the same in merely 2.6 seconds. Compared to this, the iX’s aim of a sub-5-second timing seems quite lukewarm. The Model X also houses a 100 kWh battery pack, same as the BMW iX. However, according to experts, the iX will end up costing more than what the Model X does.
Thus, on all performance fronts, Model X ends up being a better car while costing less. Of course, this is just the beginning of BMW’s electric journey, but the Model X will ensure that it is a difficult one. Not to forget that Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi, Ford, and Volkswagen are going to make it even more difficult.
With a battery pack of 100 kWh (or more), BMW is going to find it hard to compete with the prices of the Model X. Of course, they might come up with a cheaper variant that will have a smaller range. As of now, one can say that the iX is going to find it hard to find some footing in this market. But suffice to say that it is one of the most modern BMWs to ever be produced.
The competition is still behind. Teslas newest battery is going to eclipse the iX range by the time the iX hits the marketplace. These old car companies are just not engaged at revolution speed. They struggle at evolution speed due to relying on the supply chain to manage the next generation features. They must take their efforts to an extreme level of performance, or they will fail. All of their designers should be Driving Teslas to make it very clear to them where the gaps are at!