Dhis steering wheel! As if the BMW iX with its huge plastic kidney grille, the narrow LED headlights and the slippery SUV silhouette didn’t already look strange enough, a leather hexagon is emblazoned in front of the driver of the electric bearer of hope, where previously a round one always appealed. He had to drill thick boards internally, but for project manager Johann Kistler this new steering wheel is a symbol of the stubbornness that he demonstrated in the development of the upcoming competitor from Mercedes EQC, Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X.
Because just like ten years ago with the i3, the Bavarians consistently developed the iX around the electric drive. “This BMW is therefore different from all the others,” says Kistler, and so that everyone can see it, there is an unconventional, but aerodynamically optimized design for the body, a cleared, almost bare cockpit with a curved display and only half as many switches as for example in the X5 – and just the steering wheel to heckle.
Scandal, that’s what BMW wanted to do with the i3 too. When it made its debut ten years ago, it was the most consistent electric car on the market – and that was one of the reasons why it failed with customers. In addition to the crude design, it was above all the modest performance and the reduced range that the i3 was chalked up to. It was always designed for urban traffic and should not be a car for all days and tasks.
Bayern do not want to repeat this mistake. With all due respect for the debut, BMW has set the requirements higher this time: Kistler promises nothing less than the “end of restrictions” for the iX. The passengers do not have to restrict themselves, because with a length of 4.95 meters and a smooth three-meter wheelbase, there is more space on a perfectly level car floor than in an X7, for example. The driver still has to make compromises when choosing a route. With 112 kWh, the top model iX 50 is one of the largest batteries that the industry has installed so far. In the end, the data sheet shows a range of 630 kilometers. Even the iX 40 can travel 425 kilometers with its 77 kWh.
All four wheels always take over the drive, two motors drive them. In the i40 they come to 326 and in the i50 to 532 hp, and because M GmbH is also venturing into the electric world, there will soon be an iX M60 with over 600 hp. They are all charged with up to 200 kW, so that in the best case scenario, electricity can flow for 120 kilometers within ten minutes.
Despite all obstinacy, the iX also wants to be a typical BMW. It does justice to this claim not only with the ostentatious appearance with the XXL kidney grille, the powerful acceleration with a torque of up to 765 Nm and an agility inspired by the rear-axle steering and the adaptive chassis, which make the driver easily forget the two tons. The iX is also a typical BMW in terms of equipment and ambience – and in terms of price. The entry-level iX40 starts at 77,300 euros, the iX50 costs at least 98,000 euros, and with a few crosses in the thick catalog, the iX itself stamps the seventh as a bargain.
However, there is one point where BMW customers will have to adapt: they haven’t lost much in the left lane with the iX. While Tesla, of all people, lets its luxury electric vehicles run on a long leash, the Bavarians turn the iX off at 200 km / h at the latest, stifling the self-confidence of the typical BMW driver.
But for those there should still be burners. The Bavarians do not want to join in the swan song for diesel and gasoline engines, which was mainly agreed by the VW group. That is why they build the iX in Dingolfing in peaceful harmony on the same line as their traditional luxury class models with six and eight cylinders.