Twin test: BMW iX vs Audi e-tron Sportback
The striking-looking BMW iX takes on Audi’s sleek e-tron Sportback in a premium electric SUV showdown
As electric power becomes mainstream, electric cars and the technology in them are developing at a rapid rate. The Audi e-tron debuted in 2019 and has since spawned a coupe-like Sportback variant. But after just three years, has it already been outclassed by the latest offerings? To find out, we’ve pitched it against one of the most impressive recent arrivals to the premium electric SUV class – the unmistakable BMW iX.
On the outside, the iX boasts love-it-or-hate-it looks that some can barely stand, but others praise as daringly forward-looking. Depending on your taste, you may prefer the much more restrained lines of the Audi. Under the metal, the iX incorporates all of BMW’s electric-car experience and knowledge gained in the years since the German brand’s groundbreaking i3 city car debuted in late 2013.
In contrast to the Audi, which shares parts of its underpinnings with combustion-engined models from the VW Group, the BMW sits on an all-new platform developed exclusively for electric cars. So how obvious will these different philosophies be from an owner’s perspective – and will a clear winner emerge when they’re evaluated head to head? Keep reading for our full verdict...
BMW iX xDrive40 M Sport
Pros: Superb interior, cutting-edge drivetrain
Cons: Looks are divisive, quite expensive
We’re testing an iX with the entry-level xDrive40 powertrain, which BMW expects to account for nearly eight in 10 examples sold. List price in the popular M Sport trim level is just under £73,000; our test car had a variety of optional extras fitted, including £2,000 laser headlights, £1,350 22-inch alloy wheels and a £3,500 Sky Lounge Pack, adding a panoramic sunroof. That brings the total as tested to just under £84,000.
Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro
Pros: Understated looks, great interior design
Cons: Not very efficient, not as practical as standard e-tron
The e-tron is available as a conventional boxy SUV and in sleeker ‘Sportback’ coupe form – we’re testing the latter here, with the ‘55 quattro’ dual-motor drivetrain and in the sporty-looking S line trim level. As standard, that costs a hair less than £80,000; the car pictured is the range-topping Vorsprung specification, which just tips over the £95,000 mark before options.
In This Review
- 1Intro - currently readingThe striking-looking BMW iX takes on Audi’s sleek e-tron Sportback in a premium electric SUV showdown
- 2Range and chargingThe iX comprehensively outclasses the e-tron here, getting much closer to its manufacturers’ claimed range number in real-world driving
- 3Performance and handlingIt’s another clear win for the BMW here – the iX is quieter, more comfortable and better handling than its rival
- 4Space and practicalityThe Audi fights back here thanks to its larger boot, although the BMW still has the edge in some specific areas
- 5Interior and infotainmentAudi’s interior still impresses, but BMW’s effort feels more luxurious and futuristic
- 6Running costs and warrantyGreater efficiency and stronger predicted residual values sway it for the BMW here
- 7BMW iX vs Audi e-tron Sportback: safety and reliabilityNeither manufacturer has covered itself in glory in customer surveys, but electric drivetrains in general promise less chance of problems
- 8Verdict and specificationsIt’s a clear win for the BMW iX here, which bests the Audi e-tron Sportback in almost every area