In-depth reviews

BMW iX review

BMW's flagship electric SUV has love-it-or-hate-it styling, but to drive, the iX is a thoroughly impressive all-rounder that gives the Tesla Model X a run for its money

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Impressive range
  • Masses of space inside

Cons

  • Divisive styling
  • Relatively small boot
  • Takes up to 17 hours to recharge

Model

RangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
xDrive40257 miles11hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)31mins (10-80%, 150kW)
xDrive50380 miles16hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 200kW)
M60351 miles16hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 200kW)

BMW introduced its first electric vehicle, the i3 city car, in 2013. Now, nearly a decade later, the premium German marque has launched its latest standalone electric model: a flagship luxury SUV. The BMW iX sits at the top of the brand's zero-emissions tree, above the i4 saloon and iX3 family SUV, and has the Audi e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model X squarely in its sights.

Straight off the bat, let's get the styling out of the way. Whether you love its looks or hope to never set eyes on it in person, you can’t deny BMW’s electric flagship stands out from everything else on the road. In the metal, it’s actually less jarring than it looks in pictures. The ever-enlarging kidney grilles are still present, and while the iX has the same footprint on the road as a BMW X5, it has a significantly lower roofline and overall is far more futuristically styled.

We’ll let you make your own mind up about the design, but we can say that stepping inside the iX is a far less divisive experience. Material quality throughout the cabin, including the quilted leather upholstery and metal trim, is extremely high, and overall the iX feels very spacious and airy.

The centrepiece of the cabin is a slim instrument panel, incorporating a 14.9-inch curved display screen and 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. Both feature extremely crisp graphics and are responsive to use, either by tapping the central touchscreen or using the rotary dial on the floating centre console. However, on the move, the sheer amount of functions, icons and submenus feels overwhelming at first. The system can be a challenge to navigate, and BMW’s hexagonal gauges aren’t quite as clear as other, more conventional setups.

Measuring very nearly five metres end to end, and with a three-metre wheelbase between the axles, the iX is certainly not short on space. Adults can stretch out no matter where they're sitting, with a generous amount of both leg and headroom in the rear, so even those over six feet tall should have no complaints. On the downside, there's only 500 litres of boot space and no storage under the bonnet.

Three versions of the iX are available: the xDrive40, the xDrive50 and the range-topping M60, all of which feature a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive. The xDrive50 has 516bhp and a huge 105.2kWh battery for a 380-mile range – 20 more than the latest Tesla Model X Long Range. Then there’s the iX M60, which pumps out an impressive 611bhp and 1,100Nm of torque, while boasting a range of 351 miles.

We tested the entry-level iX xDrive40 in the UK, which makes a less potent 322bhp and can cover up to 257 miles on a charge thanks to its 71kWh battery. Our car indicated a maximum range of 212 miles, albeit in freezing cold conditions. On the move, the iX is an exceptional car that can’t be matched for refinement and ride comfort, with the suspension soaking up any creases or ruts in the road and the car producing no noise as you set off. Then, as the car accelerates effortlessly, sounds composed by Hans Zimmer can be played if you wish to break the supreme silence of the cabin.

For a five-metre-long, close-to-2.5-tonne SUV, the iX is also easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces and features light, yet direct steering. There's a reassuring amount of grip as well, and the car handles sweetly, although calling it 'agile' would be a stretch.

Overall, the iX is a true technical showcase and a worthy flagship for BMW’s electric line-up. And while it starts from just under £70,000 in xDrive40 guise – rising to over £90,000 for the xDrive50 and well over £110,000 for the M60 – it excels in areas like cabin quality, on-board technology and driving experience, not just delivering big spec-sheet numbers. For more on the BMW iX, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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