BMW’s flagship BEV will have two variants at launch: iX xDrive40 and and iX xDrive50, and there’s also a high performance iX M60 in the works
Dingolfing, Germany – Complete production details of BMW’s new technological masterpiece, the all-electric iX SUV, has been released. The base model iX xDrive40 will get a 240kW/326hp four-wheel drive powertrain, while the high spec iX xDrive50 has power output upped to 385kW/523hp, along win an increased range of 630km over the 40’s 425km as measured on the WLTP cycle.
Also teased is the fact that the iX M60 is already in late-stage development. Given how the iX iDrive50 is already pushing a total of 523 horsepower through all four wheels, we expect the M60 to be one that will make us recalibrate what we should expect from BMW’s high performance M cars moving forwards.
There are no confirmed specifications for the iX M60 yet, though BMW promises that it will deliver “in excess of 440kW/600hp”.
We’ve already given a full background about the BMW iX if you’re wondering how big it is, what its competitors are and more, though now it’s also been confirmed that the car will run the new, eighth-generation BMW iDrive operating system in the cabin.
The brand notes that the new iDrive was designed with a clear focus on intuitive touchscreen operation, with a curved, 12.3-inch information display for the driver and a 14.9-inch control display. Remote software updates will ensure that the interface is always updated with the latest that BMW can offer.
Johann Kistler, the project lead for the BMW iX, noted that the series has been designed from the onset to be the showcase for leading-edge BMW technology. BMW 7 and 8 Series fans have nothing to worry about, because those cars will continue to be the brand’s luxury pacesetters for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the BMW iX claims to manage a sporty driving character because of its packaging, which places the heavy battery cells centrally under the floor and an electrically excited synchronous motor at each end of the car. This keeps the overall centre of gravity low and moment of inertia small as well, allowing the car to change direction quickly.
To be fair though, practically all other automakers making electric vehicles are going along the same path, including Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, on a design helmed by former BMW man Albert Biermann.
While BMW has admitted that the developmental possibilities of its previous-gen alternate electric heroes, the i3 compact and i8 sportscar, have reached its peak and that the brand has already blazed a new path from 2020, Johann Kistler noted that none of that experience is wasted. A lot of experience gleaned from the i3 and i8 were transferred to the iX3, and more.
“More than half of the developmental team on the iX came from working on the iX3,” he noted.
The iX is a larger vehicle than the iX3, with a footprint similar to that of the current-generation X5. The xDrive40 posts a 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds while the xDrive50 does the same in 4.6 seconds.
Adaptive recuperation will also be a feature on the iX. Working in tandem with the navigation system, the vehicle can sense if it is coming to a stop at a traffic light junction and the degree of energy recuperation to the batteries can be increased in order to momentarily increase the charge rate while harnessing the deceleration effect at the same time.
When the navigation system detects that the car is on the open road or expressway, the coasting function will be enabled more readily, allowing the car to coast or ‘sail’ whenever the driver eases off the accelerator.
The Combined Charging Unit (CCU) in the BMW iX can be charged at up to 200kW in the BMWiXxDrive50 and 150kW in the BMWiXxDrive40. At such input rates, BMW claims that the battery’s state of charge will be increased from 10 to 80 percent in just over half an hour.
When plugged into a fast-charging DC station, a ten-minute charge will yield ip to 150km of range for the BMWiXxDrive50 and 95km for the BMWiXxDrive40 in just ten minutes. BMW iX models sold in Europe are supplied complete with a BMW Charging Card, a Flexible Fast Charger offering a charging rate of up to 11kW and a mode 3 charging cable for public charging stations.
What we will get in Singapore has not yet been confirmed, but at the moment the fastest public charging solution we have here is the newly-set up Shell-Porsche network, with six stations between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur that max out at 180kW.
Pricing and availability were already noted here, but in short, we expect the iX xDrive 40 and iX xDrive50 to arrive sometime in 2022 and start from around S$300k with COE. That’s just an estimate though, as there’s some time to go yet before production begins at the BMW plant in Dingolfing.
Also worth noting is that BMW is endeavoring to build the iX and future electric cars on green power as much as possible.
The cobalt and lithium required for the high-voltage batteries are sourced from controlled sources in Australia and Morocco, while the design principle for the electric motors allows the use of rare earth metals to be avoided in the drive system rotors.
BMW also states that the company sources aluminium produced using power from solar energy plants. A high proportion of secondary aluminium and reused plastics also contribute to the production of the BMW iX. Its interior uses FSC-certified wood, leather tanned with olive leaf extracts rather than artificial chemicals. Recycled fishing nets are processed as some of the materials used to make the floor coverings and mats. There’s also a plan in place to ship materials in form nearby sources wherever possible, reducing the reliance on long-distance transportation of raw materials.