New BMW iX revealed: Munich’s electric golden egg finally drops

Published: 16 March 2021

► New electric SUV, née iNext concept  
► Choose from xDrive50 and xDrive40 
► Up to 373-mile e-range, pricing tbc  

You’re looking at the BMW iX, a new electric SUV from Munich that should get it back in the EV arms race. Codenamed ‘the enabler’ in the corridors and boardrooms of Munich, the iX is the most important EV for BMW since the radical, part-composite i3 supermini and has been ever since it was previewed as the iNext concept in 2018.  

It’ll be available at the end of the year in two variants, the xDrive40 and the xDrive5, though that line-up should grow in the future. Prices will start from £69,000.

BMW iX key specs: xDrive 50 (xDrive40) 

  • Range 373 miles (249 miles) 
  • 0-62mph <5.0sec (<6.0sec) 
  • Battery capacity 100kWh (70kWh) 
  • Available End of 2021  

BMW iX side profile

Look at it!

We thought the BMW 4-series was challenging to look at, but Munich has taken things to a new level with the iX. Like the 4-series, the iX wears a pair of larger-than-life kidney grilles; but while the Four’s upturned nose is filled with slats, the iX’s snout is blocked with geometric patterns. The 4-series’ front end has grown on some of us, but whether the iX will remains to be seen.  

BMW electric: Munich's current and upcoming EVs in detail 

BMW has given the iX a relatively simple set of rear lights, and they work with frameless windows to try to visually take some of the weight out of the electric SUV.  

The interior 

The eighth installment of iDrive makes its debut in the iX, and lives on a large 12.3-inch and even larger 14.9-inch display in the iX’s futuristic cabin. Frank Weber, head of development at BMW, says the new iDrive 8 has five ‘super-brains’ controlling the software, which allows between 20 and 30 times the processing power of iDrive 7. 

BMW iX interior

The iDrive’s tactile rotary controller has somehow made it to the new car, but more functions have been moved to the screens, including the air-conditioning.  

You can read more about iDrive 8.0 here

What about the specs?

BMW has been boasting about its new ‘fifth-generation’ electric powertrain tech for the best part of a year, and the new powertrain tech makes its debut in the iX. Munich’s fifth-gen battery tech is 20% more energy dense than before, and it’s used in the xDrive50’s 100kWh battery and the xDrive40s 70kWh battery for an impressive amount of speed and stamina.  

Two e-motors – one on each axle – should provide the xDrive50 493bhp of shove and help it hit 0-62mph in just under five seconds. And the xDrive40 can repeat the same feat in just under six. When it comes to range, the xDrive for will travel 249 miles before needing a charge, while the xDrive50’s larger battery can hold out for 373 miles. Both figures are official WLTP data, so won't necessarily be achievable in the real world. 

When the batteries eventually give up, the xDrive50 is capable of 200kW fast-charging, while the xDrive40 can top-up at 150kW. That also translates to 10 minutes of charge resulting in 75 and 56 miles of range respectively. Both models can rise from 10% to 80% charge in just 40 minutes.

BMW iX rear

As you’d expect, the iX is also a beacon for BMW’s upcoming autonomous technology and has 5G capability, for an even faster connection to cloud-based services. Details of both are thin on the ground for now.  

We’ll update this article when we know more, including pricing and tech details.

Further electric car reading

The best EVs on sale today

Best electric SUVs

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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