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BMW iX to be brand’s new technological flagship

BMW’s Vision iNext comes to life in form of new iX SUV, 2021 launch confirmed

12 Nov 2020

BMW’S Vision iNext concept EV has metamorphosed into its final form, a vehicle the Bavarian brand has dubbed the iX and the start of a new chapter in its electrification journey.


Due to hit the market in late 2021 for the 2022 model year, the iX is dimensionally similar to the X5 large SUV but rides on an all-new modular platform set to underpin the vast majority, if not all future BMW EVs.


Claimed by BMW itself to usurp the 7 Series as the technological flagship of the wider BMW Group, the iX will feature a raft of autonomous driving features and is said to have been designed from the inside-out.


According to BMW management board chairman Oliver Zipse, the iX expresses the BMW Group’s efforts to constantly “re-invent itself”, efforts which have become the “central element” of the Group’s corporate strategy.


Visually, the iX will be the third new BMW after the 4 Series and M3 to be adorned with the divisive vertical kidney grille despite being all-electric and thereby requiring far less cool air within what would be the engine bay.


As such the grille is actually blanked off and serves as a decorative ‘intelligence panel’ containing cameras, radars and other sensors, contradicting previous comments made by BMW executives that the new grille arrangement would not be rolled out on other models.


Other defining features of the iX’s exterior include the slimline LED headlights, rounded curves and contours, a particularly tall glasshouse, sweeping roofline and chunky C-pillar.


At the rear we find a particularly voluminous rear bumper, wide hips and narrow tail-light arrangement matching the slim design of the headlights.


The whole package then rolls on large diameter, aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels.


“The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotionally engaging design,” BMW Group design senior vice-president Adrian van Hooydonk said.


“The car is technologically highly complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated.”


Inside the cabin meanwhile, the interior has been designed to be as clutter-free and “airy” as possible, no doubt helped by the low window-line and panoramic roof.


Drivers are greeted by a hexagonal steering wheel and a next-generation curved display encompassing both the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system with virtually no buttons to be found anywhere.


In terms of propulsion, BMW is yet to detail any specifics as to the iX’s powertrain but has confirmed a 370kW peak power output and a 0-100km/h time of “under 5.0 seconds” while an effective range of over 600km has been benchmarked.


200kW charging is also set to be on the cards with BMW claiming 120km of range can be added after just 10 minutes of charging when hooked up to a DC fast charger, with the battery able to be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in less than 40 minutes.


Using an 11kW wall box meanwhile will take “less than 11 hours” to charge from empty to 100 per cent.


“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX,” BMW development management board member Frank Weber said.


“The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system.”


Production of the iX is due to start at the Dingolfing production plant in the second half of 2021 with BMW Australia confirming the new EV will arrive locally by the end of the year, possibly only weeks behind the smaller X3-based iX3.


The local subsidiary has sold 18,855 new vehicles so far this year ending October, marking just a 5.8 per cent slip compared to the same period in 2019, even with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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