It has been eight years since BMW gave us a tantalising glimpse of future transportation with their carbon-fibre i3 electric vehicle. Though the concept and design of the i3 was undoubtedly clever, BMW needed a wider spread of EV cars to ensure the successful transition to a fully electrified model range, and a solitary EV model would not do.
Earlier in the year, we were introduced to the BMW iX3 which is the fully electric version of their X3 SUV. We found that rather than attempt to set speed records, the iX3 showed us exactly what a well-executed electric version of their much-respected X3 SUV is like. BMW did not try to reinvent the wheel, it just exploited the advantage of the electric drive, namely the immediacy of power delivery and the efficiency of the electrified system.
Most recently, at the end of last year, we were treated to the launch of BMW’s iX Electric SUV. This newcomer is a step-up in terms of size compared to the iX3 and is closer in size and stature to the X5. While the recent BMW iX3 is a part of the current X3 range, the latest BMW iX Electric does not seem to relate to any range by name and appears to be another standalone model, like the i3. Its remit is to extend the boundaries of luxury.
Currently, for the local market, we only have the 326 hp iX Electric xDrive40 with the 76.6 kWh battery, and the more powerful xDrive50 will be announced at a later date. Its styling is distinctive and imposing. The outstanding styling feature is the large front grille which features a self-healing paint coating that can heal or repair small scratches or stone chips which is a useful thing given the size of the double kidney grille.
The iX seems to have broader shoulders and stands closer to the road than most SUVs giving it a more hunkered down, purposeful look. The optimised aerodynamic properties that contribute to the car’s drag coefficient of just 0.25 also have a positive impact on efficiency and range. Also, BMW has pointed out the high proportion of recycled materials incorporated in its manufacture, especially the aluminium and plastics that are used throughout the iX xDrive40, making a positive impact on its green credentials.