TEST in Bavaria: BMW iX

We came to Bavaria to be among the first in the world to test the most advanced BMW of all time. The new iX is an ultra-luxury first-class lounge on wheels, with sports car performance. This is just the beginning…

Bavaria, Germany

From our Special Rapporteur:

Aleksandar Bursac

Are we ready? It was a basic question we asked ourselves on the plane on the Belgrade-Munich route, traveling to the international presentation of the latest BMW iX. Aside from the design, even the purely electric drive that becomes inevitable.

Test BMW iX

The most advanced BMW of all time has so many innovations that it simply has almost nothing in common with the current models of the Bavarian manufacturer. Everything is different on it, with an obvious desire to construct a car with which no one in it and next to it will be indifferent…

Test BMW iX

The first meeting in the hotel garage made us forget everything we saw in the photos. Simply, live looks far more imposing, instilling immense awe in designers and constructors.

Boldness is the key word, not only in terms of aesthetics, but also technical solutions. Every detail has been redesigned at the level of art, but also of top engineering. The lights are unusual, the handles are unusual…

Test BMW iX

We thought they were pulling out, but no, they have a microswitch inside the case like on the trunk door. Of course, there is a soft closure, without the need to crack.

There is no opening handle inside, but there is a button that is positioned just below the thumb when you lower your fist on the handle.

Test BMW iX

It was immediately explained to us that in case of need, there is a hidden classic handle with a cable in the door, so there is no worry if the car is left without electricity.

Test BMW iX

The interior is as avant-garde as the exterior body design. We offer a large number of materials and colors, starting from microfiber, combination with a fabric similar to jeans, to leather.

This last variant was waiting for us, with a luxurious rhomboid stitch. We are not sure what attracts more attention, whether numerous details from Swarovski crystals and wood or a hexagonal steering wheel with huge displays in the background of 12.3 and 14.9 inches.

Test BMW iX

Perhaps the greatest impression is left by the minimalism and simplicity with which the car looks like a masterpiece of a top sculptor. The only thing that seemed familiar to us compared to other BMW models was the arrangement of “buttons” on the wooden surface around the joystick.

And only to a certain extent! All the most important commands are there, but their schedule has been partially changed. Most importantly, the functionality did not suffer due to the design.

Test BMW iX

BMW provided two versions for the iX at the time of launch – xDrive40 and xDrive50. Both are all-wheel drive, with the former having 258 hp and the latter 523 horsepower and as much as 765 Nm of maximum torque.

For our driving test, only a more powerful variant is planned, which also has a battery with a higher capacity – 111.5 kW. It is sufficient for an autonomy of 549 to 630 kilometers per WLTP cycle. The hosts decided to test all this to Tyrol, one of the favorite destinations of the Bavarians.

Test BMW iX

Whether they go on a weekend or a longer vacation, they can basically go and come back without recharging the battery. Of course, the network of chargers is getting richer, so incidental additions, including hotels, are not a problem. For such a large battery, it takes only 35 minutes to reach 80% of the capacity on a fast 200 kW DC charger.

We are slowly getting used to the completely new graphics of the instruments, but also to the interface of multimedia and other settings. The number of buttons on the board itself has been reduced to the maximum, so it is necessary to enter the climate adjustment menu.

Test BMW iX

In fact, it was a “beginner’s mistake”. You can get almost all the commands with a voice command, as well as make most of the settings. It was cool and we slowly started to discover some of the luxurious details.

For example, in addition to automatic seat and steering wheel heating, there are heaters to the side of the front seat passengers; the upholstery of the door is heated, as well as the central backrest, in order to make the armrest as pleasant as possible. Of course, we also activated the massage, so that the ride was as relaxed as possible. The latest generation of semi-autonomous driving systems is largely responsible for this relaxation…

Test BMW iX

The first kilometers in an unknown high-tech car in an environment where we don’t stop by so often can be very stressful. Fortunately, you can drive the iX right away, without any adjustments.

As complex as the car is, with a million settings, all you have to do is fasten your seat belt, click the start button and put the transmission in position “D”. The handle itself is also atypical, made of Swarovski crystals.

Test BMW iX

If you click back again, you switch from “D” to “B” mode, with which the car is driven with only one pedal. The BMW i3 and Mini Cooper SE have this driving style. As soon as you release the gas, a strong recuperation is activated.

In most cases, we did not need to press the brake at all. Also, complete release of the gas while driving is out of the question, because it will stop immediately, with the obligatory activation of the stop light.

Test BMW iX

It is this constant holding of the throttle on the open road that can be a bit tiring, so we returned to the standard “D” mode, with the classic way of using it, including the brake.

We headed towards Tyrol on the main roads. Idyllic autumn ambience that reminded us of landscapes from tapestries, ideal for maximum driving pleasure

Test BMW iX

The BMW iX has allowed us to relax by activating semi-autonomous driving, which is one of the main innovations. We have often used adaptive cruise control on countless cars, however, such an intelligent system has been applied here, that the driver only gets more active in some situations.

For starters, the driver is still responsible for driving, which means that for safety reasons, the hands must be on the steering wheel even though the car does everything itself. All this is not great news, but what followed is.

Test BMW iX

We were first surprised that the iX slows down in corners. If the limit is 100 km / h, it is logical that you will slow down in a curve if you drive alone. However, this is not done by the current adaptive cruise control, but only “watching” to keep the distance from the vehicle in front.

BMW will not cause you to get out of the way, but maintains the ideal speed depending on the curve itself, just as an experienced driver would do. And not only that. A real surprise followed when we approached the intersection.

Test BMW iX

The car brakes itself to a complete stop. It is only up to you to give the appropriate blinker to continue on your way. This is due to the latest generation of security systems, which consist, among other things, of five cameras, five radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors.

Parking is also fully automated, but we’ll try that out when the iX arrives for a longer test at our newsroom. In any case, the car pays attention to the oncoming traffic when turning left, but also to pedestrians and cyclists when turning right.

Test BMW iX

In all of this, we also enjoyed the option of recognizing traffic signs for some time, so in combination with the navigation map BMW knows exactly what the current speed limit is, which is a huge relief for the driver, especially when in unfamiliar territory.

Test BMW iX

The essence of everything is that the car is largely ready for autonomous driving of the third level. It is just waiting to be approved by the authorities, and this feature will be unlocked immediately via the update.

Test BMW iX

The test model was equipped with optional steering on all four wheels for even more efficient parking, but also faster passage through sharp curves. This is very noticeable when driving, although an even stronger impression was left by the great air suspension, which is also available at an additional cost.

Test BMW iX

Even with 22-inch wheels, the car is driven like a flying carpet, with maximum isolation from the outside environment. Despite the fact that there are no double side windows, the noise that reaches the passengers is minimal and vibrations are almost completely eliminated.

Test BMW iX

Overall, comfort is at the level of a top luxury sedan, which the iX is. Even the complete atmosphere made us think that it will surely serve as a great basis for some of the future Rolls-Royce models.

And now what interests driving enthusiasts the most. The drive is largely due to the rear electric motor with 313 hp, while the front of 258 hp is activated as needed.

Test BMW iX

The reaction to the gas pathos is instantaneous, with a fantastic dunk for seats that only top sports cars can provide.

All this is especially felt when you activate the “sport” mode, which automatically increases the lateral support in the seats. This transformation is especially interesting on the highway…

Test BMW iX

BMW iX

The return to Munich enabled us to sit behind the wheel of another model that does not have an interior covered with leather, but microfiber. This combination is perhaps even more interesting, primarily because of the really impressive amount of luxurious fabric that covers the interior, including the dashboard.

Test BMW iX

At the end of the test drive from Bavaria to Tyrol and back, we arrive at the part of the route we eagerly awaited – the highway! You guessed it, we’re stalking sections with no speed limits.

Full throttle and all 523 horsepower are currently being released, enabling fantastic intermediate accelerations and over 160 km / h!

Test BMW iX

Only at these speeds in the corners do we realize that we are driving a car that weighs over 2.5 tons! Fortunately, the low center of gravity with the batteries in the floor and the ideal weight distribution ensured optimal handling even in such conditions.

We were no less fascinated by the brakes, which easily slow down a car this big. And all this with minimal inclination, and with unusual comfort and luxury…

Test BMW iX

He arrived with us

Accepting orders for the BMW iX has largely begun in our country as well. The price for the iX xDrive40 starts from 80,000 euros, while for the iX xDrive50 you have to pay from 101,430 euros and up.

Among the many ultra-luxury elements is the 4D Bowers & Wilkins Diamond sound system with speakers built into the front seats. More precisely, there are tweeters in the headrests, while there are subwoofers in the lower part for a better bass impression.

Test BMW iX

Fast charging

The battery of the more powerful version of xDrive50 allows autonomy of 549 to 630 kilometers per WLTP cycle. On a fast 200 kW DC charger, it charges from 10 to 80 percent of its capacity in just 35 minutes. In just ten minutes of charging, 150 kilometers of autonomy were obtained.

Charging via a three-phase AC charger allows a maximum charging power of 11 kW.

Test BMW iX

Lots of electricity in a small space

The BMW iX uses the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology, which also includes the latest high-voltage batteries. Their cells have a higher energy density by as much as 40 percent compared to the batteries in the current BMW i3.

Test BMW iX

BMW iX         xDrive40        xDrive50

Front engine 258 KS, 290 Nm 258 KS, 365 Nm

Rear engine 272 KS, 340 Nm 313 KS, 400 Nm

System power 326 KS, 630 Nm 523 KS, 765 Nm

Li-ion battery capacity (Ah) 232     303

Energy value (kWh) 76,6    111,5

DC charge 10-80% (min) 31       35

DC charging power (kW) 150     195

AC charging power (kW) 11,0    11,0

Dimensions (mm) 4953/1967/1695

Intermediate. distance (mm) 3000

Trunk volume (l) 500/1750

Mass (kg) 2365   2570

Klirens (mm) 202     203

Max. speed (km / h) 200     200

Acceleration 0-100 km / h (s) 6,1      4,6

Avg. WLTP consumption (kWh / 100 km) 22,5    23,0

Autonomy (km) 372-425         549-630

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Source: Auto magazin by www.magazinauto.com.

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