2022 BMW iX
Like most car companies, BMW is betting on electric vehicles leading the way to a sustainable future for personal transportation. One of the first steps in that direction is the all-new iX Sports Activity Vehicle. Representing next-generation electric vehicles from the German automaker, the 2022 BMW iX offers a high level of advanced technology with a futuristic cockpit and an efficient, potent electric powertrain. And — best of all — it delivers the level of performance expected from a BMW.
BMW provided us with a 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 painted in Sophisto Grey. With a long list of standard equipment, the test vehicle had additional options including a Premium Package, Titanium Bronze trim, ventilated front seats and 22-inch Air Performance Bi-Color wheels for a total MSRP of $101,020. Competitors to the BMW iX include the Volvo C40, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X and Jaguar i-PACE.
A futuristic take on BMW’s traditional kidney grille and twin headlights means the iX won’t be mistaken for anything other than a BMW. The full LED headlights are the slimmest ever used on a vehicle from the German automaker, integrating with the large grille and flowing smoothly into the sculpted hood. The hood mimics the grille design for a 3D effect.
About That Grille
The large kidney grille has no openings into the engine bay since the vehicle has no internal-combustion engine to cool. Instead it integrates the camera technology, radar functions and other sensors behind a transparent surface that also has a 3D look. Heating elements and a cleaning system for the sensors are embedded in the grille as well. A polyurethane coating protects the grille from road damage — minor scratches or dings will self-heal within 24 hours at room temperature or via a five-minute supply of warm air. It’s unfortunate that in some states a front license plate has to be positioned across the grille.
Hood Doesn’t Open
Since iX owners will have nothing to check or maintain under the hood, it can only be opened by BMW service technicians. The BMW roundel badge opens as a filler cap for the windshield washer fluid — apparently the only maintenance expected of a consumer.
The 2022 BMW iX is about the same length and width as a BMW X5, and almost the same height as an X6. In keeping with the slippery nature of the iX design, door handles fit flush with door surfaces. The doors also have frameless windows and exterior mirrors optimized for airflow and visibility. The iX charging port is located where a fuel-filler cap would be on a typical BMW — the right-rear wheel arch.
Like the LED headlights, the taillights of the 2022 iX are the slimmest LEDs ever put on a BMW. A rearview camera resides within the large BMW badge and gets automatically cleaned as needed — a clever feature and bit of advertising.
BMW designers took advantage of the electric powertrain and new architecture to create a roomy interior for passengers and cargo. “We designed the BMW iX from the inside out,” said Vice President of BMW Design Domagoj Dukec. “In the process, we took particular care to create a modern, warm and minimalist interior design with a very spacious feel,” observed Dukec.
Driving the Future
The 2022 BMW iX displays all driver and infotainment information on one large, curved display that seems to float away from the dashboard. The single piece of glass has a magnesium housing and an antireflective coating. Combining the 12.3-inch driver information display and 14.9-inch control display with minimal physical buttons gives the interior a futuristic look.
BMW’s familiar iDrive controller looks jewel-like, while controls surrounding it are haptic buttons integrated into a wood surface. The new gear selector is a rocker switch rather than the customary selector. Only two actual buttons can be found in the cockpit, immediately below the screen to activate the max front defroster and rear defrosters.
Below the center console is additional storage as well as multiple USB ports and a tray for wireless device charging.
Unique Steering Wheel
In another first for a BMW, the iX has a hexagonal steering wheel featuring new multifunction buttons with control pads. The steering wheel also gets three-stage heating — another first.
While the rest of the interior feels very futuristic and high tech, the seats are more lounge-like — large and stylish yet still providing good support. Both heated and cooled, the seats have audio speakers built into the head restraints (rear seats too) that enhances the overall experience.
Seat controls have moved to the door (similar to Mercedes-Benz), and the switches look like crystal.
BMW crossovers we’ve tested recently have often had stiff, uncomfortable rear seats — not the case with the iX. Seats are cushy yet supportive, and thanks to the iX’s flat floor there’s plentiful legroom in all three seating positions. Multiple USB-C ports are available for rear-seat passengers to keep devices fully powered.
The tester BMW iX featured the single-piece transparent roof, the largest ever on a BMW, providing a more spacious feeling inside. The roof has electrochromic shading — rather than employing a shade, the roof can be turned opaque or clear with the touch of a button.
Useful Cargo Space
In addition to excellent performance on the road, the 2022 BMW iX also offers plenty of utility. The cargo area is spacious with room for multiple pieces of luggage or other gear. Buttons in the cargo area allow the rear seats to fold flat easily, which greatly increases overall cargo capacity. We were able to load multiple boxes in the cargo area with ease, thanks to the iX’s low liftover point.
The 2022 BMW iX is built on a new modular, scalable architecture designed to offer versatility and efficiency. Accompanying the new design is a fifth-generation MW eDrive technology that incorporates two electric motors, a high-voltage battery and improved charging technology. With an electric motor for front and for rear wheels, the system has total output of 516 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque.
BMW claims this small crossover will sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds; based on our experience this figure seems completely realistic — this vehicle feels quick. The intelligent electric all-wheel-drive system can vary the torque front and rear as needed, operating as a more efficient rear-wheel-drive vehicle or engaging the front wheels as needed.
Range and Charging
The latest-generation batteries in the iX reside beneath the floor, which provides better interior space while lowering the crossover’s center of gravity. Batteries can be charged at up to 200 kW, which means the iX Sports Activity Vehicle can reach 80 percent charge from empty in about 40 minutes on a DC fast charger. A Level 2 charger will take about 11 hours for a full charge. According to the U.S. EPA, the iX xDrive 50 is rated at 86 MPGe city / 85 MPGe hwy / 86 MPGe combined with a range of 315 miles.
On the Road
BMWs have a well-deserved reputation for excellent driving dynamics and the iX is no exception. With all the immediately available torque excellent grip of the dual-motor drive system, the iX launches off the line quickly with no wheelspin. Even at highway speeds the level of acceleration is impressive with instant response. BMW does give the driver the ability to pair enginelike sounds that correspond to throttle and speed. The sounds are initially fun, although we quickly grew tired of the artificiality and found silent driving much more appealing.
The iX xDrive50 is not the top-performance variant of the iX lineup; an M60 version is coming that will tote more than 600 horsepower. But the xDrive50 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Taking the iX for jaunts on our favorite northwest roads, we discovered it handles more like a BMW and less like an SUV. Steering is precise with excellent response. With plenty of torque available instantly in all situations we always had power when needed. BMW lets the driver choose the level of regen-braking. At the higher levels simply easing off the throttle is enough to slow the vehicle to handle a quick corner, eliminating the need to jump back and forth between throttle and brake pedals.
Sure it’s a great vehicle to drive, but the iX also works well when the utility of an SUV is in demand. During a recent weekend we had several boxes and coolers that needed to be moved, and the iX’s low liftover into the cargo space made loading easy. We especially appreciated the easily folding rear seats and the flat load surface that provided all the space we needed.
As BMW moves into full-electric vehicles, it’s clear the company hasn’t lost track of its tradition of building vehicles with excellent handling and performance. The 2022 iX delivers that expected level of performance. Although the exterior styling might take some getting used to for some, the interior feels futuristic with the large display screen and intuitive controls even with most buttons eliminated. And although it’s not inexpensive, ultimately the iX shows that the automaker can move into the electric arena and still offer vehicles that are true to the BMW reputation.
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