BMW iX xDrive40 Review: Have BMW nailed the electric car?
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
Recently, I was kindly given the ALL NEW BMW iX for a couple of days from Sandal BMW. Despite my MINI following, I have always been a big BMW fan. So to get the chance to drive their latest flagship EV for a couple of days, was something I could've only dreamt of a couple of years ago!
I have done a video review on my YouTube channel, so you can check it out on there if you'd prefer to watch my video review. However, if your other-half grumbles at you watching car vlogs in bed at night, then stick with this old-school readable review.
Facts and Figures
Price when new: £69,905 (My test vehicle £76,945)
Engine: 71kWh lithium-ion battery and dual motor
Power and Torque: 322bhp, 465lb ft
Transmission: Single-speed, all-wheel drive
Performance: 6.1sec 0-62mph, 124mph, up to 257 miles range, 0g/kg
Dimensions: L:4,953 W:1,967 H:1,695
What's it look like?
Let's get straight to the most controversial part of the car, the styling,. It's big, bold and it has an incredible stance that is typical BMW. Yes, the iX features the same style kidney grill from the latest M3 and 4 Series models. When those cars first launched they came into a bit of criticism but personally, I absolutely love the grills and the front end of the iX as well.
With the iX being fully electric, you may think the grill is more of a fashion statement than anything else but behind the grill lies a network of sensors, all focused on giving you a safe journey with many other features that we will come onto later. The grill is actually heated and coated in Paint Protection film, so no matter what you throw at it, those sensors will work in the toughest of conditions. (Depending on what you actually throw at it, of course). Around the car, it's very clean and minimalistic with not too many creases and folds. The door handles are flush with the car and the boot lid features some rather snazzy, slim LED taillights. The car features some smart 21' wheels, with no plastic add-ons like most electric cars do to improve airflow around the car. In fact, the iX has a coefficient of drag of just 0.25, making it one of the most aerodynamic SUVs on the market.
What's the interior and tech like?
Modern BMW's are destined for greatness if they follow on from their latest flagship, the iX. You open the door and you are greeted by the most luxurious of cabins. I was thinking to myself, this isn't a BMW?! I was so used to a dreary dash and some orange lighting. This is SPECIAL. The floor is completely flat, with a floating centre console featuring the controls for BMW's latest iDrive system 8.
The materials in the cabin are mostly made from recycled and renewed materials but you would not think these are derived from old plastic bottles and waste fabrics. The quilted seats are incredibly supportive, yet you still sink into them like your favourite armchair at home. Infront of you, you have a 14.9inch touchscreen display, across two seperate screens for infotainment and driving information. All of the heating/seat/media controls are featured within the main screen, this is the way most car companies are going nowadays. Buttons on the dash are minimal, apart from cruise control and media buttons on the rather lovely heated, hexagonal steering wheel. Above your head, you have an expansive panoramic glass roof, with a clever feature. Instead of the typical electronic blind, you have electrochromatic technology which just 'clouds' over the glass to create a secluded environment for you and your passengers. This feature automatically works when you lock the car. The rear boot capacity is 500 litres, which is ample for a large SUV like this, but lacks a front boot like most EVs have.
Performance and charging, is it any good?
So what you've learnt in this review so far (if you've not skipped parts) is that the BMW iX is a big luxury SUV with a dashboard made out of milk cartons. How does it move? Well, the iX xDrive40 has two eDrive motors that put out 322bhp and 465lb of torque between them. This means the 2.4 tonne iX is good for 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. This thing MOVES! Honestly, the way electric cars and indeed the iX put their power down, is unbelievable. My MINI has only 18bhp less and is a lot lighter, but it feels like a 1.2 Nissan Micra compared to the iX. The rather pointless top speed of 124mph is there if you need it. Unless you're on the German Autobahn, I'd expect you to be cruising on the motorway using the rather intuitive automonous driving capabilities, to be keeping you at around 70 in the cushty cabin with little wind noise. Range is claimed at up to 257 miles, however realistically you're going to be getting around 210-220 miles in good weather. In a cold January, I got around 200 miles fully charged. The onboard charger works at 11kW making for a 0-100% charge in eight hours, while a 150kW charger manages a 10-80% charge in 31 minutes. That last 20% seems to take an age, so if you're in a rush - be expecting to set off with 80% charge, most of the time.
What's it like to drive then?
Rather bloody good. Turn the car on and you are met with a rather incredible futurist sound, composed by no other than Hollywood legend Hans Zimmer. BMW have teamed up with him to create the soundtrack for all electric BMW's and it really adds to the sense of occasion as you pull away. You immediately feel the sense of manouverabilty with the car and forget that this is a 2.4 tonne SUV. At low speeds, it is easy to manouver with really light steering that weightens when you up the speed. Infront of you is a super clear heads-up display on the windscreen, showing your speed, sat nav directions and it also displays traffic-signs. The car is an excellent cruiser around town and on the motorway, but it feels so capable on sharp B-roads. Traction is always there; with it having all-wheel drive, it puts the power down instantly. Although not as quick as the x50 model, you really do not need that amount of power as this x40 is all you'd ever need. I've come from a MINI, which is a bit of a go-kart so yes the iX doesn't feel as fun which it was never going to be. However, it does go around a corner rather authoritavely.
You have 3 different driving modes; Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport. I spent most of the time in comfort, with the one-pedal driving mode active. Once you get used to it, you really feel that there is no need for that brake pedal! The infotainment system features a rather cool AR Satellite Navigation system. This uses the front camera on the vehicle and projects the recording onto the infotainment screen. Arrows on the video guide you to the exact turn, so even the worst of navigators amongst us will be able to make their turn. This is a truly remarkable feature that is one example of where BMW are going with their technology.
What's your verdict, Tom?
Well, what else can I say other than I feel so privileged to have driven a £76,000 electric BMW around for a couple of days! The car is just everything a T*s*a wants to be.
I think within the first hour of driving it, it turned so many heads. You don't get that when driving around in a boring Model 3 or Model X. The BMW iX is luxurious, practical and you could say affordable - if you look at the monthly payments you could pay on one of these and work out the running costs. Especially with the rising fuel costs; BMW's flagship electric car is one to consider if you're making the change to electric or upgrading your current EV.
A big thank you to Sandal BMW for loaning me this car, they are the ones to contact if you're after a new/used BMW or MINI.
Wishing you all the best!