BMW has been making electric vehicles for a long time but their first mass-production EV didn’t arrive until 2013 with their BMW i3. Fast forward to 2021, when BMW introduced their first purpose-built electric vehicle with the new iX.
Exterior & Interior Design
From the outside, the BMW iX looks like a more futuristic version of their X5 SUV but the iX is an all-new model built from the ground up. The exterior of the iX has a very angular and aggressive styling that looks good but may put off some buyers.
The futuristic stylings of the outside are carried into the interior of the iX. The front area is very minimalist with just the two screens for the infotainment and driver display, steering wheel and air vents.
The inside of the iX feels very premium with wood and metal accents and leather in the seats and doors. One styling feature I really liked was the blue seat belts which are an additional $300 CAD optional extra.
Speaking of the seats, the iX came equipped with the Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System that features speakers built into the headrests and shakers in the seatback, which offers a 4D sound experience.
In the sound settings of the infotainment screen, there’s an audio test that you can try out to hear the full 4D audio experience.
The 4D audio felt like having a Dolby Atmos surround system but just in a car’s headrest.
While there aren’t any physical controls for the temperature control, all the settings are done via the iDrive touchscreen. The minimal interior looks nice but it can sometimes be annoying having to rely on the infotainment screen for everything.
Between the driver and passenger seats are the gear selectors and the media and iDrive controller. While you can control the infotainment system with the touchscreen, you can also use the iDrive crystal controller. The controller looks nice and works for the most part, it feels much thinner and a bit of a step back compared to previous iDrive controllers.
Another feature of the iX is that there aren’t proper door handles inside or outside. When getting in, you press a button that is in the door handle slot. And when you’re in the vehicle, you’ll see a door open button that you press to unlock and open the door when getting out.
Other than that, the BMW iX is spacious inside and could easily fit four adults comfortably. In terms of cargo space, the iX has around 500L (17.65 cu ft) in the trunk behind the rear seats. With the seats folded down, you’ll get 1,750L (62 cu ft) of cargo space.
The BMW iX uses two synchronous electric motors that have an output of 516 hp and can go from 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. The EV SUV features all-wheel drive, uses the 5th generation version of BMW’s BMW eDrive drivetrain, and uses its modular CLAR platform.
For range, the BMW iX comes standard with a 76.6 kWh battery that offers up to 322 KM of range. Meanwhile, the extended range model and M60 have a 111.5 kWh battery that offers up to 521 KM of range.
For the press vehicle, the BMW iX model I tested was the xDrive 50 which has the bigger battery option. During my week with the iX, I got up to 510-520 KM or so of range but how much range you get from your EV depends on your driving habits and driving conditions.
Like some other EVs, the iX supports up to 200 kW DC fast charging, to get you 10% to 80% in 40 mins.
In terms of pricing, the BMW iX starts at $82,859 CAD for the xDrive 40 and the M60 model starts at $124,619 CAD. The press vehicle that I tested was the xDrive 50 which has a starting price of $89,990 CAD.
On top of the base MSRP, my press vehicle had the following packages and optional extras:
- Sport Package – $2,000
- 22″ Ind. Aero Wheels, 1021, Multicolour 3D Polished, Perf Non-RFT – $1,000
- Premium Enhanced Package – $9,900 CAD
- Soft Close Doors
- Heat Comfort Package, Front and Rear
- Interior Camera
- BMW IconicSounds Electric
- Parking Assistant Plus incl. Surround View
- BMW Drive Recorder
- Premium Essential Pkg. Contents
- Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System – $4,300 CAD
- BMW i Blue Seat Belts – $300 CAD
- Universal Remote Control – $300 CAD
- Glass Controls with Walnut Console – $850 CAD
- Driving Assistant Professional – $2,000 CAD
- Gesture Control – $250 CAD
- Dark Graphite Metallic – $895 CAD
- Interior Design Loft, Stone Grey – $1,500 CAD
That brings the total price as tested to $113,285 CAD plus an additional $2,480 CAD in destination charges.
It’s worth noting that the iX is not eligible for the Canadian Federal Government Electric Vehicle Incentive. Meanwhile, the i4 EV sedan (which starts at $54,990 CAD) is eligible.
This is due to the program’s MSRP criteria for EVs. Their criteria is basically:
- a passenger car, where the base model Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is less than $55,000 CAD; and
- higher priced trims of these vehicles, up to a maximum MSRP of $65,000 CAD, will also be eligible for purchase incentives;
- a station wagon, pickup truck (light truck), sport utility vehicle (SUV), minivan, van, or special purpose vehicle, where the base model Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is less than $60,000; and
- higher priced trims of these vehicles, up to a maximum MSRP of $70,000, will also be eligible for purchase incentives.
You can find out more about the program on their website.
Infotainment & Tech
Like past BMWs, the iX is decked out with tech. Beyond the electric vehicle internals, the iX features dual screens for the infotainment system. In front of the driver is the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and next to that is the 14.9-inch infotainment screen with BMW’s iDrive 8 system.
If you’ve used iDrive in the past, the new iDrive 8 will feel familiar but also different, especially in the way it looks. On the main homescreen, you have menu shortcuts on the left side for Menu, Media, Phone and Navigation.
And if you swipe or turn towards the right, you’ll see different blades of information like maps, media/radio, the BMW Personal Assistant and other widgets that you can add.
Navigating the iDrive 8 system is fairly easy when using the touchscreen but can be slightly cumbersome with the new iDrive controller that comes with the iX.
If you prefer not to use BMW’s system, there is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so you can use your favourite maps app to get around.
The iX also supports BMW Digital Key on Android and Digital Key Plus on iOS. This boils down to being able to use your compatible iPhone or Android phone as a key. You’ll be able to unlock, lock and start your vehicle with the digital key.
For Digital Key Plus, you’ll need an iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or later and Apple Watch Series 5 or later. BMW Digital Key Plus requires at least iOS 13.6 and watchOS 6.2.8 or later.
For Digital Key, you’ll need a Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra, Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro with Android 12 and later.
In addition to iDrive 8, the iX came equipped with Driving Assistant Professional which is what BMW calls their driver assistance tech. While the vehicle does have Active Cruise Control with radar, the vehicle can also automatically change lanes when you put a turn signal on.
The Driving Assistant only works at speeds over 70 km/h so it works the best when on the highway.
Overall, the BMX iX is a good all-electric vehicle and makes a great addition to the company’s i sub-brand of EVs.
- Good long-range (up to 521 km)
- Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
- Plenty of USB-C ports
- Great 360 camera system
- Assist Drive Mode works well and can change lanes for you
- Premium interior touches
- Minimalist layout/interior is nice but having everything controlled mostly by the infotainment screen can be annoying
- Newer crystal iDrive controller is a step back compared to previous ones
- Very expensive