2021 BMW iX electric SUV revealed: price, specs and release date
Inspired by the radical Vision iNext concept, the BMW iX is an electric SUV that promises to be the most advanced car the brand has ever produced...
On sale Late 2021 | Price from £80,000 (est)
Cars that can drive themselves have long been a staple of science fiction writers, but they'll take a step closer to reality with the launch of the BMW iX – a new electric SUV that's intended to serve as the firm's technology flagship.
About the same size as today's BMW X5, the iX will offer Level 3 autonomy, which means it will be able to steer, accelerate and brake for itself in certain situations (including at speeds of up to 80mph). However, while the driver isn't required to have their hands on the wheel at all times, they must be ready to retake control when necessary (so no napping in the back).
BMW is also promising that the iX will offer a new level of connectivity, thanks to the presence of 5G and cloud technology, with functions that require a lot of computing power moved from the car to the cloud, where they can be processed faster. Data that can improve comfort, safety, efficiency and convenience is then sent back to the car in milliseconds courtesy of the 5G, while the iX also learns your habits to further speed things up.
Like the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X, the five-seat iX has an electric motor on each axle to give it four-wheel drive. Meanwhile, power is expected to fall somewhere between those two rivals, with it offering up to 500bhp; as a result, 0-62mph should be possible in less than 5.0sec.
In addition, the 100kWh battery is expected to deliver a class-leading range of more than 370 miles in official WLTP tests. And if you can find a 200kW fast charger (they remain rare in the UK right now), the battery can be replenished from 10-80% in 40 minutes.
The design of the iX isn't as radical as that of the 2018 Vision iNext concept that previewed it; the window line is more conventional and the nose less pointy, while the rear-hinged doors of the concept have been swapped for conventional items. However, the huge, blanked-off front grille and slim, high-set LED headlights have been retained.
It's the interior that represents the biggest departure for BMW, though, with it following the current trend for decluttering by removing switches, although worryingly, this usually makes cars less user-friendly.
Many functions have apparently been moved to the touchscreen infotainment screen, which is bigger than ever and angled towards the driver. And while you do still get a rotary controller between the front seats, the shortcuts are now touch-sensitive areas of the centre console rather than proper switches.
The iX is just one of four new electric cars that BMW is planning to introduce in the next two years.
Beautifully built and impressively refined, but range is a little disappointing - read our full Audi E-tron review >>
Great to drive and has a big real-world range, so the car to beat - read our full Jaguar I-Pace review >>
Even quieter than the E-tron, but not as comfortable at lower speeds - read our full Mercedes EQC review >>