Eco Warrior Par Excellence…
It’s one wow after another with the iX – BMW’s stunning new all-electric flagship vehicle, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Andy Tighe
Car designers are driven by a desire to lead – to foresee and capture the motoring demands of tomorrow and deliver them today.
With the new iX – an all-electric motor par excellence – BMW has raced to the front of the field, leaving the rest to form an orderly queue, somewhere deep in the distance.
If ever a car warranted a number plate ‘OMG 1’ this is surely it!
BMW’s new technology flagship vehicle represents a fresh interpretation of design, emission-free driving pleasure, versatility and luxury.
The global market has just unveiled two model variants – the iX M40 and iX M50, both displaying extraordinary commitment to sustainability through responsible use of resources and minimisation of the carbon footprint at all stages of the car’s life cycle.
You’ll find extensive use of secondary raw, natural and re-cycled materials, a high proportion of secondary aluminium and recycled plastic, almost no use of chrome, FSC-certified wood (Forest Management Certification), leather tanned with olive leaf extract, floor coverings and mats made from recovered fishing nets.
But this is far more than an eco-warrior, designed to tick boxes.
I was entrusted to test drive the iX40 which not only looks magnificent but handles superbly and can sprint from 0-62mph in a shade over six seconds – the iX50 knocks a second off.
Obviously no slouch and for those who still harbour ‘range anxiety’ with all-electric cars, just relax – the travel distance range is close on 250 miles (370 miles in the iX50).
One electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear, gives both models electric all-wheel drive and outstandingly low energy consumption.
State-of-the-art charging technology allows the battery to be charged from 10 per cent to 80 per cent of full capacity in 40 minutes, when using a three-phase charger. A 10-minute fast charge adds 56 miles (75 miles iX50).
This significant increase in efficiency and range is helped by intelligent, lightweight design and optimised aerodynamics. An aluminium spaceframe construction with carbon cage, minimises weight.
The BMW iX refines the successful Sports Activity Vehicle concept. It’s an imposing, muscular beast with a nod to the proportions of models across the BMW portfolio – the exterior length and width of the X5, the height of the X6 and the wheel dimensions of the X7.
There’s an eye-catching, vertical and (almost) enclosed BMW kidney grille serving as an intelligence panel with integrated sensors, camera and radar technology for advanced driver assistance systems.
The new technology toolkit enables further advances in the areas of automated driving and digital services with a very high level of computing power for data processing, extremely powerful sensors and 5G capability for optimised automated driving and parking functions.
As a whole it’s been designed from the inside out and there is a luxurious feeling of wellbeing created by generous levels of space, a high-quality mix of materials, a slim instrument panel, newly developed seats with integral head restraints and an exceptionally large panoramic glass roof with electrochromic shading available as an option.
And the breathtaking style continues with a unique curved display, spanning a fully-digital screen grouping made up of 12.3-inch Information Display and 14.9-inch Control Display with single-piece, frameless glass surface.
The best yet? Very possibly.
An Intelligent Personal Assistant offers extra skills – an extremely intuitive sumptuously designed centre console with an innovative new rocker switch for gear selection.
It’s one ‘wow’ after another, not forgetting the hexagonal steering wheel with heating on a three-stage control. Come on, get a grip!
Optional Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system takes the in-car audio experience into a new dimension. There’s concert hall ambience created by a fully active sound system, audio control that responds to dynamic performance and five individually selectable sound modes. There are 30 speakers in total, eight of which are integrated into the head restraints of the front and rear seats. There’s innovative 4D audio function generated using magnetically controlled ‘shakers’ in the front seats.
Oh, and don’t ever worry about opening the bonnet – unless you’re an authorised BMW technician that simply won’t be necessary.
If you want to fill the windscreen washers, just push down on the front BMW badge and the opening will appear, as if by magic.
Anything left to say? Probably not.
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