During the period between July and the first week of August, my inadvertent decision to exclusively drive electric vehicles (EVs) led to a surprising journey. I was curious to see how far I could go down the EV rabbit hole, and six different EVs graced my driveway during that time. While I’ve already shared my thoughts on the BMW i4, Kia EV6, and Chevy Bolt EUV, the BMW iX left the most lasting impression.
To put it simply, I initially believed that nothing could surpass the Mercedes EQS in terms of impressiveness. However, driving the iX immediately after the EQS made me feel like the Mercedes was attempting to reinvent the wheel of the S-Class through electrification. While it succeeded in doing so, it lacked a distinct character beyond being an “electric S-Class.” In contrast, the iX embraced its polarizing design and brought a unique perspective to the table. It wasn’t just another electric version of a familiar idea; it stood out and made a greater impact because of its bold stance. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the iX is flawless.
The interior of the iX is truly a masterpiece and unlike anything BMW has done before. The combination of high-quality fabric covering the rounded dash and door panels, along with the Stonegrey upholstery, exudes luxury and uniqueness. The anodized gold accents provide a refreshing departure from the typical chrome details. The slab display housing, mounted on pedestals, gives the impression that it is floating above the dashboard, adding a touch of conceptual design rarely seen in production models.
While some British Twitter users compared the iX’s squircular steering wheel to that of an Austin Allegro, I found the unconventional shape, thick rim, and two-spoke design to be comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. The black leather upholstery added to the overall design statement. The only disappointment was the addition of a wooden accent on the center console, which felt out of place in the otherwise modern and luxurious interior.
The iX’s performance is truly remarkable. As I previously mentioned, the M60 variant is unnecessary, as the base xDrive50 model packs an impressive 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if the iX could achieve a sub-three-second acceleration time.
The spaciousness of the iX is another standout feature. Despite only minor increases in size compared to its combustion-powered counterpart, the X5, the iX feels incredibly roomy. The second row offers ample headroom and legroom, with rounded upholstery padding on the pillar for added comfort. Passengers can lean back and relax as if they were sitting on a plush couch.
However, there are a few downsides to the iX. While the acceleration and deceleration sound produced by BMW’s non-M variant, created by Hans Zimmer, is unique and engaging, it falls short compared to the sound in other BMW models. Having experienced the i4 M50, which had a more enthusiastic sound, the xDrive50’s sound felt thinner and less captivating. Nevertheless, it’s only noticeable if you’re aware of what you’re missing.
Additionally, while the xDrive50 offers better value compared to the M60, I believe there is still room in BMW’s lineup for the Euro-market xDrive40. This version would offer the luxurious features of the iX, a mid-5-second acceleration time, a slight increase in range compared to the xDrive50’s minimum 305 miles, and a significantly lower starting price of $85,000. Such a package would undoubtedly be enticing to potential buyers.
Despite my personal indifference towards the iX’s polarizing grille and the Aventurin Red paint of my test vehicle, it garnered overwhelmingly positive responses from passersby. People were curious about the iX and expressed surprise and delight when they learned it was a new BMW. This suggests that BMW may indeed have a better understanding of their exterior designs than some detractors might believe.
In conclusion, my experience with the BMW iX was both impressive and eye-opening. Its unique design and luxurious interior stood out among the EVs I drove during this period. While it isn’t without its flaws, such as the underwhelming sound and the available trims’ pricing, the iX showcases the potential of electric vehicles and leaves a lasting impression.