+ Comfortable and refined drive
+ High quality cabin
+ Fast in xDrive50 guise
- Rivals offer more boot space
- A face only a mother could love
Verdict: Fast, comfortable and loaded with tech, the iX is a highly accomplished electric SUV. It’s only let down by its average boot space and steep price, plus the fact that huge grille is somewhat, er, divisive.
2022 BMW iX: walking around it
When walking around the iX be sure to wear comfortable footwear and pack a snack, this is a big car that rides on massive 21-inch or 22-inch wheels. For a reference point, it’s roughly the same size as the BMW X5, itself a big ol’ thing.
Unlike the recently launched BMW i4, which is essentially an electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, the iX is an entirely new car and the first to be built on Beamer’s new EV-specific platform. As such it looks like nothing else in the BMW line-up.
Starting at the front, which is undoubtedly the most dubious aspect of the iX’s design, the trademark massive grille seems even more conspicuous thanks to its closed-off design and some very slim LED headlights flanking it. A bulging bonnet and some angular cooling vents on the bumper all add up to a pretty busy-looking front end, especially in the M Sport model which gets bigger vents than the standard car.
While the iX’s footprint matches the X5’s, the roofline sits lower, but it doesn’t do anything to make it look less boxy, which is probably due to the fact the iX also has a low window line so the proportions still look squared-off.
The back of the car isn’t quite as fussy as the front, and there are a number of interesting creases and angles - the slim lights look sleek here. BMW has also managed to integrate the reversing camera into the badge on the boot, which keeps things a bit tidier.
You’ll certainly turn heads on the street when driving an iX. Question is, will it be for the right reasons?
2022 BMW iX: sitting inside it
If you’re not fully sold on the exterior design you’ll be pleased to know it’s a much more impressive affair inside the cabin, and that’s the bit you’ll be looking at most as an iX owner, right? We would even go so far as to call the design beautiful, which isn’t a word we use lightly.
The first thing that strikes you is the sense of open space, with minimal clutter on the dashboard and no transmission tunnel in the middle so you can really stretch your legs out both in the front and back. Adding the optional panoramic roof floods the cabin with more natural light, it all feels lovely and airy.
Not only has BMW shown no restraint when it comes to using high end materials to line the cabin, it has included some interesting touches, like the wooden control panel on the centre console. The dash, which sweeps downwards to the driver, is clothed in more traditional soft-touch fabrics and the driver’s arm rests on plush leather, which also coats the door panels.
The yellow-tinted crystal seat controls, which have been moved to the upper part of the door a-la Mercedes-Benz cars, are the only part we’re not sure about. The yellow tint makes them look like they’ve been stained by someone with a 40-a-day smoking habit.
2022 BMW iX: using the tech
The plushness of the cabin is thankfully not let down by the infotainment system, which is the latest and greatest version of BMW’s iDrive. Information and controls are broadcast via two curved glass screens - a 14.9-inch screen on the left for the infotainment and a 12.3-inch screen for all the driving stuff.
The cinematic effect of the double screens is amplified by pin-sharp graphics and beautiful menu designs, Beamer is clearly determined to be the best in class when it comes to infotainment. There are more functionality and customisation options than ever before on this new iDrive system, so at first it can be a little overwhelming getting your head around it, but the intuitive nature of the system means it doesn’t take long.
Boasting the most advanced system found in any BMW, the iX can be updated via over-the-air software updates using 5G and a cloud service. According to BMW, an update will soon be available which will increase the car’s autonomous capabilities.
For all the futuristic tech, it’s the fact that BMW has retained the old-school rotary dial to control the infotainment system that pleases us most. Sadly, the climate controls have been moved to the screen, which can get a bit fiddly when on the move.
Other cool tech incudes the BMW Digital Key, which turns your smartphone into a car key and means it can be opened and started remotely by the owner to allow someone else to drive it. You can even set a speed limit via the Digital Key, if you’re worried about them being dangerous or, probably more likely, you don’t fancy any speeding fines arriving in the post in your name.
We also like the exit warning function on the doors, which helps you avoid opening a door on a sneaky cyclist or pedestrian coming up on the inside without warning.
2022 BMW iX: getting stuff in it
As we’ve already touched on, the iX feels cavernous inside the cabin, BMW has exploited the practicality potentials of an electric drivetrain. What we mean by that is, the bottom of the car is entirely flat to house its massive battery, so there’s no bulky transmission tunnel to interfere with legroom either in the front or back.
Three people can ride in the back in comfort, there’s plenty of leg and headroom for all. The rear seats can also recline – a nice touch that increases comfort levels further. The doors open wide too, so it’s easy to get in and out, or use the two Isofix child seat mounts on the outer rear seats.
There’s also plenty of storage space throughout the cabin. The door bins are large and long and feature a partition, which means they can hold a large bottle of water upright. The glovebox and cubby in the centre console are also of a decent size, and for the day-to-day clutter of things like keys, phones and wallets there’s a tray beneath the front of the ‘floating’ centre console.
The boot is a bit disappointing, with just 500 litres of space. There are bigger boots in the electric SUV class, which we will cover later in this review. Thankfully the rear seats fold at the press of a button in a 40/20/40 split.
2022 BMW iX: driving it
We all know that BMW’s marketing slogan is ‘the ultimate driving machine’. We personally don’t think any EV can offer the pinnacle of driving pleasure at the moment, not when combustion cars are still on offer, but for an electric SUV the iX is excellent on the road.
The first thing you need to know is that BMW offers just two power options, the entry xDrive40 and the more powerful xDrive50. It’s a refreshingly simple approach that helps keep a bit of clarity in this confusing new world of ranges, charging times and kilowatt-hours.
The numbers that matter for the xDrive40: 326hp from two motors, 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, and a WLTP range of 257 miles from its 71kWh battery. The xDrive50 uses a 105kWh battery and produces 523hp, which means the 0-62mph dash is done in 4.6 seconds and range increases to an official 392 miles.
The xDrive40 charges at rates up to 150kW which means it can replenish 10-80 per cent of range in just 31 minutes on the right charger. On a more easily found 50kWh charger that same top up will take around an hour and ten minutes. On a home wallbox plugging it in overnight will replenish 100 per cent of range. For the bigger xDrive50, which can charge at rates up to 200kW, 80 per cent of range on a 200kW charger will take 35 minutes, or an hour and a half on a 50kW charger.
For such a heavy car (2.5 tonnes) that rolls on massive wheels the refinement of the ride is impressive. The iX smooths out notches in the road surface to create a very calming driving experience. The xDrive50 comes with adaptive damping as standard, but it adds little in the way of ride refinement, it’s excellent on both models.
The adaptive damping does help when it comes to body control in corners, it remains very flat with little roll, even when pushing hard. Rather than make the iX feel sporty it further enhances the feeling of ease and peace about the way it drives at pace. Of course, the acceleration in both models is arrestingly quick, especially in the xDrive50, and both models continue to pull strongly as you reach higher speeds.
Grip levels are excellent thanks to the all-wheel-drive system which spreads the optimum amount of torque between the front and back axle - the iX would offer peace of mind to owners who live in areas which are often blighted by snow or wet weather.
Again, despite its heft the iX feels nimble. That’s largely down to the reactive steering. You don’t get any feeling from the steer-by-wire system, but it’s very quick to turn and can be weighted up in Sport Mode should you wish to artificially add some stiffness. Overall, the iX is as easy to drive as a much smaller car: it’s smooth and fast at high speeds and easily manoeuvred at low speeds around town.
2022 BMW iX: paying for it
For a full in-depth rundown on the BMW iX’s prices, specs and YesAuto’s deals click here
Get ready to wince, because all that great tech and refined driving manners don’t come cheap. The entry xDrive40 in Sport trim starts at £69,905 and rises to £72,905 for the M Sport model. For the xDrive50 Sport you’ll pay £93,905 or £96,905 for the M Sport.
You can choose from a Comfort Pack or Technology Pack, which don’t add any cost but dictate the standard kit the car comes with. The Technology Pack comes with BMW’s Parking Assistant Plus system and an interior camera, while the Comfort Pack gets massage seats and a heated steering wheel.
2022 BMW iX: comparing it
The BMW iX is far from the first luxury electric SUV to arrive on the market. Its strongest competition lies in the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.
If comparing on range, then on paper the Jaguar and Audi both have slightly longer legs than the xDrive40 and both cost around £5,000 less. Neither car feels as nice inside as the BMW though, they’ve both been around a while now and are starting to show it.
The xDrive50 is closer in price to a Tesla Model X and offers a little more range on WLTP figures, but it can’t match the Tesla’s 0-62mph time and doesn’t have access to Tesla’s excellent charging network. The BMW iX doesn’t offer seven seats either, whereas the Model X does.
While the BMW iX has the most premium and spacious cabin of the class, all its rivals beat it in terms of boot space, so if it’s a load-lugger you’re after then it might not be for you. Still, at 500 litres there’s enough space for most families.
Compare these cars with the BMW iX using YesAuto’s comparison tool here
Common questions about the BMW iX answered by YesAuto’s team of experts
Q: How safe is the BMW iX?
A: The BMW iX excelled in the Euro NCAP safety tests, gaining the full five stars. It performed especially well for adult and child occupant safety and scored well for its safety systems.
Q: What is iX in BMW’s range?
A: The iX is the first electric car to be built on BMW’s new EV-specific architecture and represents the flagship of the rest of the BMW’s electric iX range, which includes the smaller iX3 SUV.
Q: How much does the BMW iX cost?
A: The entry xDrive40 in Sport trim starts at £69,905 and rises to £72,905 for the M Sport model. For the xDrive50 Sport you’ll pay £93,905 or £96,905 for the M Sport.