BMW introduced its latest electric vehicle (EV), the iX SUV during its virtual NextGen 2020 event. The iX, which is production model of BMW’s Vision iNext electric SUV vehicle, is said to incorporate multiple technologies that will be featured in the German automaker’s upcoming vehicles, this includes an electric powertrain and driver interface.
The new electric SUV will represent a major stride forward for the luxury automaker as it uses BMW’s fifth-generation electric powertrain. The tech is said to power not just the new iX SUV but also the i4 sedan, which shares many features with BMW’s latest EV.
The iX will be powered by two electric motors that promise can deliver over 500hp of output and sprint from 0-100km/h in under five seconds. BMW said the iX has a range of 483km according to the US’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
Interestingly, BMW did not reveal the actual size of the iX’s battery but the company did say the EV touts 200kW DC fast charging that enables it to add an extra 121km of range with just 10 minutes of charging. In addition, the battery is said to be able to charge up to 80% in under 40 minutes. When used with a 11kW Level 2 charging station, BMW promises the EV gets a full charge with 11 hours of charging.
Aesthetically, the iX resembles the X5 with its lower roofline and more aerodynamic profile. According to BMW, the electric SUV has a roof height of an X6 and the wheel size of an X7. The automaker explained that its design team wanted the exterior to look “clean and robust, monolithic almost, like a well rounded stone with some facets sheared off,”
On the front, the face of the iX features a unique take on BMW’s traditional kidney grille design, albeit some users were not impressed with the bold design. A bit more on this later.
Stepping into the iX, it looks like BMW has gone with a minimalistic design. Instead of the usual sporty aesthetic BMW is known for, the interior has a more relaxed and lounge-like appearance. The driver’s view is dominated by a 12.3″ digital instrument cluster that is paired with a 14.9″ infotainment system. The screen is said to feature BMW’s next-gen operating system that can be controlled either via touch or voice activation.
Strangely, BMW did not mention any autonomous driving capabilities for the iX in any of its videos or press materials as noted by The Verge and Engadget. This is odd considering that the German automaker hinted that the iNext Concept vehicle, which the iX is based off on, would be outfitted with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.
Having a car at Level 3 denotes that the vehicle would be able to perform 100% of driving tasks under certain conditions though drivers will still need to be on standby to take control when needed. To put that in context, going up to Level 4 means a car can handle most driving situations itself while Level 5 denotes complete automation in any condition, though it is mostly theoretical.
BMW has not released a suggested price for the iX but The Verge estimates it could sell for USD 70,000 (~RM289,100) or more considering its similarities to the X5 SUV, that retails at USD 59,400 (~RM245,322) and taking in consideration of the added cost of its battery.
The iX is set to go into production at BMW’s Dingolfing factory, located in Southern Bavaria, Germany, in the second half of 2021 and is scheduled to arrive on US shores in early 2022.
Over the next few years BMW plans to introduce more EVs in its line up. The company’s strategy, it aims to introduce five fully-electric vehicles by the end of 2021: the BMW i3, Mini Cooper SE, BMW iX3, and BMW i4.
BMW said its goal is to have a total of more than 7 million “electrified” BMW Group vehicles (including from its Mini subsidiary) on the road, of which 4.6 million will be all-electric. Presently, BMW is selling 2.5 million vehicles a year.
If you have missed BMW’s NextGen 2020 presentation of the new iX SUV, check out the video below.
Criticism over social media
While the BMW iX certainly made a splash on social media, it was not all positive. In fact, several users were not impressed with the radical redesign of the iX’s kidney grille. User @1LoafOfMeat went as far as calling it infinitely (∞) ugly.
But you took time to write about it which means it made an impact on you. Something we aim to achieve with our products is to affect people.— BMW i (@BMWi) November 11, 2020
Looking at the funny side of things, user @28delayslater implied the new grille design resembled a screaming owl. This was what he had to say:
Whooooooo designed this? pic.twitter.com/jhCYiryK3w— 🐶Earl of FrunkPuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) November 11, 2020
Still there were some users who did not take too kindly to BMW’s defensive responses over the criticism it has received over the iX’s design.
Things worse than the way that BMW iX looks? The fantastically-patronising BMW social media hippies! pic.twitter.com/CUr7vHSQuZ— chris harris (@harrismonkey) November 11, 2020
So, do you think the BMW iX’s design is hideous? Perhaps BMW made too bold a move in redesigning its future EVs. Would you prefer it if BMW went with a more traditional look? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.