BMW may be a relative latecomer to the luxury SUV EV party, but it’s arriving in style with the impressive BMW iX priced from $140,000, as Glenn Butler discovers.





What we love
  • Cabin style, space and serenity
  • Effortless performance, exemplary ride
  • Integration of driving smarts to maximise range

What we don’t
  • Exterior styling looks visually heavy
  • Cupholders are poorly placed
  • Lacks boot space for such a big car

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Introduction

This is the 2022 BMW iX, and it’s the vanguard of BMW’s next-generation electric invasion. Since this car arrived in late 2021, it was followed by the i4 EV sedan, and we’re expecting EV versions of the 5 Series and 7 Series sedans as well. 

The BMW iX is a lot like an X5, which makes me wonder why they didn’t call it the iX5 like they did with its smaller electric brother the iX3. I think that’s because the iX3 is basically an X3 that has been electrified, whereas the iX has been designed from the ground up as an EV, not based on the X5. 

That said, it does share some X5 componentry. So, given its size and price, comparisons are inevitable. 



The iX is slightly lower in the roof line than the X5 but longer overall, and it is heavier, weighing almost 2.5 tonnes. That’s not surprising because it’s an EV, but it is surprising when you realise how much carbon fibre is used in its construction. 

In terms of design, the iX looks a little like the X5 proportionally, but is dramatically different up close. Overall, everything is more rounded and futuristic, and there are some interesting little design quirks. 

For example, on an X5 the huge kidney grille sucks air into the internal combustion engine, but there’s no internal combustion engine here. So the kidney grille is graphically etched onto a composite sheet to make it look like a 3D grille, but there’s no airflow. What little air is needed – to cool motors and the battery – flows in through a flap in the bumper that opens as necessary.



The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 comes with LED headlights, but our test car wears optional lasers that are said to be more effective than LEDs. They’re part of the $9500 Enhancement Package that includes panoramic glass sunroof and soft-close function for the doors.

Between the headlights is a BMW badge which, in typical German fashion, has a function beyond branding. It is the lid for the windscreen washer fluid reservoir.

The rear three-quarter perspective is, in my opinion, the iX’s least pleasing. This car looks a little oddball to me because it is visually so metal heavy, the sides and the back end most of all. 



BMW’s designers have tried to counter that with monster wheels and sleek headlights and tail-lights to make the iX appear more rakish, but it doesn’t work. Maybe this vehicle’s Black Sapphire metallic paint doesn’t help, combining as it does with heavily tinted windows. Perhaps a lighter colour would make the vehicle less visually dense.

There are three iX variants from which to choose, starting with the iX xDrive40 we’re testing here in Sport trim priced from $141,900 plus on-road costs. For that, you get 240kW worth of electric motors in the front and rear feeding from a 77kWh battery that is good for 420km

If you’ve got more to spend, the $169,900 (plus on-road costs) iX xDrive50 has 385kW electric motors that lop 1.7 seconds off the xDrive40’s 0–100km/h time of 6.3 seconds. As you’d expect, the xDrive50 also gets a bigger battery pack that is good for almost 630km. 

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Now, if you want something even faster, then later this year the BMW iX M60 arrives. Its electric motors produce 455kW and 1100Nm, endowing the M60 with the acceleration to go from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds. It also has the bigger 110kWh battery pack of the xDrive50, but because of the extra performance, range drops to 566km.

Key details 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Sport
Price (MSRP) $141,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Sapphire Black metallic
Options Enhancement Package – $9500
– BMW Laserlight
– Soft-close doors
– Panoramic glass roof
Interior camera – $300
Interior Applications Clear & Bold – $2200
– Crystal-finish switchgear
– Interior wood inlays
Price as tested $153,900 plus on-road costs
Rivals Audi E-Tron | Mercedes-Benz EQC | Jaguar I-Pace

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This is Mission Control, and for me, this is where the BMW iX really shows off. This interior looks stunning, from the sweeping infotainment screen to the plushly quilted seats and walnut highlights. Everything about this interior is next level. 

For example, there are crystal glass buttons for adjusting your seats and seat memory. The iDrive controller is a crystal glass dial seated in a walnut-finished control centre with touch-sensitive areas acting as buttons. Below the touchscreen itself are some of the most rakish air vents to grace any car. 

Bear in mind, those crystal and walnut touches are part of a $2200 Interior Applications Clear & Bold options pack.

It’s all really futuristic, and it works. It makes you feel like you’ve bought a really expensive car… Which you have. 

But there are a couple of things that are just a bit weird. One example is the placement of the cupholders on a lower tier below the armrest, which makes it hard to actually get cups in and out. 



Some may find the doorhandles a bit weird, initially, because they’re buttons rather than handles that take little effort to activate.

Other than that, it’s a luxury tour de force inside. The front seats are electrically adjustable in more ways than the Kama Sutra, including adjustable bolsters to hug you snugly. 

Jumping into the back seats, there is loads of room for two adults – both legroom and headroom. A third adult in the middle will be snug, as it is in most five-seaters these days.

You’re better off leaving that fifth wheel at home and enjoying the fold-down armrest, or playing with the quad-zone climate control, or plugging devices into one of the four USB-A ports aimed at back-seat occupants.

Parents with young kids will be pleased to learn that the iX has ISOFIX latches in both outer back seats, hidden behind a cleverly retracting leather flap. Another nice touch.

As for the boot itself… You’d be expecting a big one from the exterior photos, but you’d be wrong. The iX has just 500L of space in there, which is less than a number of mid-size SUVs, and is not wide enough to take a set of golf clubs. 



The back seats do fold down 60/40 – and there are buttons in the boot to do that in a flash – so you can expand the iX’s carrying capacity to 1760L, albeit at the expense of human occupants. 

The iX does not have a spare wheel under the boot floor – or anywhere. Instead, that’s where it houses the charging cables.

2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Sport
Seats Five
Boot volume 500L seats up / 1750L seats folded
Length 4953mm
Width 1967mm
Height 1695mm
Wheelbase 3000mm

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Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment screen stretches across two-thirds of the dashboard, and most of it is touch-sensitive, which makes interacting with its hundreds of functions relatively easy. It’s also very customisable, allowing you to put most-used functions on the home screen for easy access. 

The central screen measures 14.9 inches and has graphics good enough to rival your son’s gaming PC. A 12.3-inch driver’s instrument cluster makes up the other third of the big screen, and is very easy to read and also to customise.

Whichever way you hook up Spotify to the iX’s sound system, you are guaranteed concert quality through an 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system. Or you can upgrade to a 30-speaker Bowers & Wilkins unit for a fee. 

Now, one cool feature of this car (and others in the BMW range) is the BMW smartphone app, which means you’ll never lose your car in a carpark again because you can get the car to take a photo of what’s around it.



One not so cool feature was the sat-nav’s global search function. I had to get to a hotel in the middle of Melbourne, but when I started typing the name into the sat-nav, it gave me hotels in the Philippine capital of Manila. That’s despite me being 10km from the centre of Melbourne’s CBD at the time. 

Let’s be honest, no EV’s range is that good. 

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Safety and Technology

Let’s start with recharging capabilities, which is fundamentally important technology for an EV.

On AC, the iX xDrive40 can take up to 11kW, which will recharge the 77kWh battery in about six hours – assuming that 80 per cent of that 77kWh is usable. 

On a normal domestic plug trickling 1.1kW down the pipe, our testing suggests a 60hr charge time. But, to be honest, if you can afford a $140,000 car, you can afford to put in the wall charger that goes with it. 

If you want the fastest charging option, that’s DC. This car can recharge at up to 150kW and BMW claims it will go from 10 to 80 per cent in just over 30 minutes. The BMW iX xDrive50 can charge at up to 200kW.



As for how much all of that recharging could cost you… How does zero sound? BMW is currently packaging a five-year subscription to Chargefox with every iX sold, and there appears to be no limit on the distance you can travel in those five years. Well, none beyond the fine print that states your usage “must be fair, reasonable and not excessive”. It also says you can’t use your iX as a taxi, or for government or commercial purposes.

If you assume an average distance of 75,000km in those five years, then that’s a saving of around $15,000 compared to an X5 averaging 10L/100km. 

Okay, a couple of technology highlights. Firstly, the iX has the biggest head-up display I’ve seen on any BMW to date. But that’s not the only boastworthy feature the next time you’re at the pub.

Reversing assistant. Let’s say you’ve driven down a narrow laneway only to find you can’t turn around, and you’re not the best reverser in the world. Fear not, the BMW will faithfully backtrack the last 50 metres for you. Surely that’s reason alone to splurge $140,000 on this car?

Now for safety. The BMW iX has been independently crash-tested by ANCAP and declared a five-star car. Adult occupant protection scored 91 per cent, child occupant protection at 88 per cent, vulnerable road user at 73 per cent, and safety assist packages at 78 per cent. All of those scores are very good. 

BMW claims the iX comes equipped with the most extensive set of active safety features ever seen on a BMW. It has front collision warning that can also detect oncoming traffic as well as pedestrians and cyclists. It has lane-control assist and steering assist, active cruise control with stop-and-go function, safe exit warning, and 360-degree cameras. 



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Value for Money

The nearest rival for the BMW iX is the Mercedes-Benz EQC Sport, which is priced at an almost identical $141,300 plus on-road costs. The EQC does not have the interior or exterior wow factor to match the iX, but it does have the advantage in real-world performance – both acceleration and driving range.

Then there’s the Audi E-Tron SUV, which starts at $139,900 plus on-road costs in 50 Quattro form. Unlike the EQC and like the iX, the E-Tron was designed from scratch as an electric vehicle, so it does move the game on in terms of interior and exterior design. As to whether it’s better than the iX, that will largely be down to personal preference.  

The BMW iX comes with an underwhelming three-year warranty – BMW is one of the few prestige brands still stuck at this low level. Audi and Mercedes-Benz offer five years. 

At a glance 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Sport
Warranty Three years / unlimited km
Eight years / 160,000km high-voltage battery
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1520 (4 years), $2195 (6 years)
Energy cons. (claimed) 22.5kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 21.1kWh/100km
Battery size 76.6kWh (425km range – WLTP)

The battery carries an eight-year, 160,000km warranty. 

BMW offers a pre-paid service package that costs $1520 for the first four years, or $2195 over six years. These prices are competitive. 

As for energy efficiency, the BMW iX is said to consume 22.5kWh/100km, which seems fair but not exemplary for such a heavy car. Mercedes-Benz claims 20.9kWh/100km for the EQC. The Audi E-Tron, however, is rated at a rather high 23.6kWh/100km.



First off, I think I owe this wheel and tyre package an apology, because I assumed a car on 22-inch wheels would ride terribly. In fact, the iX xDrive40 rides beautifully. It is very smooth and luxurious, and does a good job absorbing the bumps.

Now to the drivetrain, which is where this vehicle’s appeal stems from. 

I won’t go on about performance, except to say the iX xDrive40 has the performance to disguise its 2.5-tonne weight. It feels strong and generous with its acceleration, and always has torque on tap to give you that kick when you need it. 

What impresses me more is the way the drivetrain uses the vehicle’s other smart systems to maximise performance. Systems like satellite navigation, driver assistance functions and driving sensors.

BMW calls it Adaptive Recuperation and it works like this: if you’re using one of the more aggressive energy recuperation settings (or have the transmission in ‘B’ not ‘D’), then it’s smart enough to use other vehicle systems to maximise efficiency. 

Lift your foot off the accelerator to coast on a freeway or a road and the car will let you coast. Lift your foot off because you’re approaching a junction or stopped traffic and the car slows more rapidly harvesting energy in the process. 



It’s this kind of integrated thinking that costs $141,900 now, but will filter down to more affordable cars. 

As for the rest of the iX xDrive40’s dynamic capabilities, they fall on the luxurious side of the scale, not the sports-luxury some may expect of a car wearing a BMW roundel. 

This is not an involving or exciting vehicle to drive, but it is incredibly comfortable and cossetting. What it gives up in dynamic prowess it more than makes up for in isolating its occupants from the harsh realities of the outside world. 

The iX has one of the quietest cabins this side of a Rolls-Royce, and the default suspension tune is reminiscent of Rolls-Royce, too, in the way it wafts elegantly over the road. 

In everyday driving, there are few cabins that will make you feel as spoiled or comfortable. But if your perception of BMW is of ‘ultimate driving machines’ and ‘sheer driving pleasure’, the iX xDrive40 is not a vehicle that elevates those brand pillars. 

Key details 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Sport
Engine Dual current-excited synchronous motors
Power 240kW
Torque 630Nm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed automatic
Power to weight ratio 101kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2365kg
Tow rating 2100kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 12.8m

Conclusion

This is not a car that you buy because you enjoy driving. You would buy this car because you want something luxurious and cutting-edge, something electric-powered, and you’re prepared to pay for it.



It’s more expensive than a BMW X5 and has less luggage space. But it’s an electric car with a much nicer interior, loads more technology to play with, more space in the back seat, and – umm – different styling.

It drives and rides like a truly luxurious car, and it pampers occupants like none of its rivals. 

If all that sounds like $140,000 well spent to you, then your EV SUV has arrived. 

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Ratings Breakdown

2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Sport Wagon

8.3/ 10

Performance

Handling & Dynamics

Driver Technology

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Fuel Efficiency

Value for Money

Fit for Purpose

Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of Drive.com.au before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons. 

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