A brief drive of the BMW iX in Singapore gives our boys plenty to think about, including whether they should have spent more of this year being less naughty and more nice…
Photos by CarBuyer Team and Yang
SINGAPORE – BMW’s most advanced electric vehicle (EV) is here, the BMW iX. We’ve reported extensively on the car first at its international announcement and then at its local debut at EV Weekend, Singapore’s first-ever showcase of electric cars.
But now our Derryn (above, right) and Ju-Len have finally had a brief go at the iX, the car which brings BMW i back to the cutting edge of EV tech. Here’s what our resident gargoyles have to say.
Derryn: First off, the iX is one of those cars that definitely looks better in the flesh. When BMW said it was making its new EV flagship an SUV it sorta made sense, but then I looked at the photos and went, ‘What?’ But now that we’ve seen it in person, it looks like a super-sized i3, which still may not be to everyone’s liking, but is a foreshadowing of things to come.
Ju-Len: Yeah, the iX doesn’t photograph well, I’ll say. But in the flesh it has a lot of presence, and it’s an eye-catching car. Seeing it in real life brings out the subtleties, too. The wheelarches look precise, everyone seems to love the recessed door openers, and there are these curves that really smoothen the car’s edges. I’ve looked up the specs and it’s slightly longer than the BMW X5, slightly narrower and not as tall, so it’s imposing, but not just a giant box. I reckon it’s pretty much the biggest electric SUV on sale here now, and it looks like nothing else out there.
Derryn: Yep, that’s one thing I missed about BMW i – you really felt you were driving the future with the BMW i3 and i8. And the inside too has that lounge-like feel of the i3. You really feel the open layout of the whole electric car thing, with a flat floor giving so much room for feet, and those big, plush front seats looking like arm chairs. But BMW’s turned the luxe dial way up, so if the i3 was a normal lounge, this one feels like the executive lounge for sure.
Ju-Len: That’s where the iX really impressed me, at least. The crystal iDrive knob and transmission selector, plus the seat adjuster switches all look and feel seriously posh. And the wooden panel with its haptic switches is such an upgrade over the shiny, fingerprint-collecting black plastic that everyone is using these days.
But I have to say, the BMW feels more new-school luxe than old-school. I love how you can press a button and the electrochromic roof changes its opacity, just like that.
Derryn: And you can’t miss the screens – one yuuuge 14.9-inch central touchscreen display, and a 12.3-inch one for the driving instruments. It’s the first thing you see when you get in, and it’s nice how they mounted it like a piece of furniture. Notice how it curves gently so you can see it properly from the driver’s seat?
Ju-Len: It does look sharp, and the surface is apparently oleophobic so it’s not going to be a mess of fingerprints after you choose a podcast to play. The graphics render really smoothly and quickly, too. BMW says the iX has the most powerful processor for the system ever, and that’s a believable claim.
But even though the BMW OS8 interface looks great, I really found it confusing, relative to OS7. You have to hunt for functions you want, and the tiled layout is a lot busier than before. I guess more screen space equals more stuff to look at and figure out.
Derryn: It’s one of those things where you really have to live with the car to see how it works. So unless BMW gives us one for a long term test drive, we’re gonna withhold judgement. Or maybe Santa will drop one off at CarBuyer HQ? We have no chance, do we…