AD tests all-electric BMW iX SUV, Tesla’s latest fighter
The BMW iX xDrive50 is a concept car that comes to life. Closely based on the radical model of the Bavarian brand’s Vision iNext electric SUV, which was first shown to us in 2018– it features a big battery, a polarizing but futuristic exterior shape, and an oversized iteration of the brand’s signature “double kidney” grille. It also features one of the most original and fascinating contemporary automotive interiors we’ve had the pleasure of sitting in (and we drive at least 100 new sports and luxury cars every year, which is to say something. ).
With 516 hp routed through a pair of engines, one up front and one rear for stability and all-wheel drive capability, it also delivers excellent acceleration. The iX xDrive50 goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 4.5 seconds to reach a top speed limited to 125 mph. We know this terminal speed is accurate because we were able to legally experience it on the German Autobahn as we completed an epic journey that took us from Milan to Munich.
More than that, with excellent sound insulation and the silent action of electric power, it achieves these speeds with consummate silence. That is to say, except for the Original soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer who played at startup and growled into the stereo as we were on our way. We easily drowned it out via our inputs on the Bowers & Wilkins 30-speaker audio unit (optional), which along with sound its trendy “four dimensions”– puts occupants at the immersive center of noise with bass that vibrates through the seat and tweeters integrated into the headrests. Our recent favorites from Native Soul, Jessie Ware and Darkside have never sounded (or felt) so good.
Part of that good feeling can be attributed to the aforementioned cabin. Although many of us currently spend less time in our luxury cars – as we work from home in response to the pandemic – we still demand more from our vehicles, asking them to act not just as a means of transportation, but as a mobile office, concert hall, cocoon, and even living room. And as with our home interiors, we demand that these spaces meet our need to feel special and pampered, and also to maintain a commitment to sustainable production methods. Premium automakers meet these demands, and BMW is perhaps doing the best job of the recent harvest.
To that end, the interior of iX is a waterfall of fun and intrigue. The turquoise suede microfiber seats in our test model (leather and leather are also available) pampered us in a way that reminded us of the padded velor Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles of our childhood Malaise Era of the 70s, but with much more support, as well as massage and heating elements. The natural wood veneer center console, with backlit haptic controls for the curved, center-mounted iDrive touchscreen infotainment system, felt an intimate, warm and smudge-free response to two decades of wiping. greasy fingerprints from the shiny black plastic. And the crystal glass seat controls, gear lever, volume slider and rheostatic controller of the iDrive device have had the weight and opportunity of Baccarat crystal rock glasses. We haven’t found such joy in using secondary controls in a car from the levitating knobs and rotating air vents of aughties Jaguars.
Driving through the winding and verdant landscapes of Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany in the iX was equally enjoyable. The airy cabin lacked the airtight feel of some sportier, lower-roof competitors, helped in part by a glass roof that can be made more or less transparent through the use of LCD crystals.
This is a soft SUV, designed for comfort, and therefore lacks the “Ultimate Driving Machine” tactility on which BMW has based its reputation (and which it still incorporates in its more sporty gasoline SUVs of the M series). Even fitted with the optional adjustable air suspension and rear steering system, we found ourselves wishing for a little more tactility and grip in the multitude of alpine switchbacks and a little less of the feeling of sliding around corners like a curling stone in the 1982 Silver Broom. world championships (which actually took place in the German seaside resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen that we passed through on our trip). Perhaps we’ll be happier with the next more powerful version of the iX, the nearly $ 100,000 xDrive60. This version is said to pack over 600bhp and corresponding improvements in handling and performance capabilities that the Germans so aptly call “dynamism.”
A myriad of fully electric SUVs from luxury mainstays like Mercedes Benz, Audi and Cadillac, as well as newcomers like Genesis and Rivian, are soon to join the battery carriers of standard SUVs like the Tesla Model X and Model Y For now, the nearly $ 85,000 (base price) iX xDrive50 is one of our group favorites, not just for its stats and capabilities, but for its emphatic focus on joy. Anybody Needs a luxury car. But with its current strategy, this new BMW has become something that we definitely have want to and got us excited about our electric future.
Originally appeared on Architectural summary