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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

BMW iX vs Audi e-tron

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.

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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.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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