What really struck me about the new BMW iX is not that it’s a pure-electric SUV. (Although this is what the BMW marketing team is pushing.) Rather, it’s the description of the interior as being in a “luxurious and contemporary lounge-style”.
What is that? Does it include scatter cushions, woollen throws and scented candles?
Alas, dear reader, I must tell you that I have seen pictures of the interior. And the iX remains disappointingly car-like. The seats in the front are functional if a little sporty and the rear reveals the usual bench-style arrangement. And I can spy no television or drinks cabinet in any corner of the car.
Welcome To The Future
But what is included is reassuringly contemporary. Just over half of the front dash is taken up by the new BMW Curved Display. This includes a 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display (measured diagonally). All this is housed behind a curved glass angled gently towards the driver. Friends, you could be piloting a space vehicle.
And the new technology doesn’t stop there. Satellite navigation is provided using the cloud-based BMW Maps while Augmented Reality Video ensures “quick and accurate route planning”. And just to be clear, “cloud-based” here means the internet not the fluffy dinosaur you see in the sky.
A range of new options can be added to upgrade the technology in your car from the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. Software updates are provided remotely over the air. So far so futuristic.
But wait. There’s more.
The Key to Entry
Do you remember the days when you had to use something as old-fashioned as a key to unlock and start a vehicle? Pah! So 20th century!
Today, the BMW driver approaches the iX with their Apple iPhone and the car unlocks itself. Sure keyless entry has been around for a while. But which other car illuminates the exterior with “staged lighting” while you are still walking to it? Fancy.
The car is fired up without a key and with iPhone still firmly in trouser pocket. Should you wish to remove said device from trouser area, a smartphone tray will hold your phone and provide wireless charging.
A series of Driver Assistance Features (i.e. robot driving features) reinforce the illusion that the year is 2051 rather than 2021. Steering and Lane Control Assist, Active Cruise Control, Reversing Assistant, Parking Assistant, front collision warning system and exit warning function (to alert you to passing cyclists and pedestrians) are supported by no fewer than five cameras, five radar sensors and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Truly, dear reader, the future is here.
What about the electric power – the part BMW is so proud of? It’s impressive. The iX xDrive50 version will have a combined output of 523hp and a range of 380 miles. The iX xDrive40 will give you 326hp and 257 miles. Charging from 10 to 80 per cent capacity will take between 31 and 35 minutes depending on which model you take. Sport and M Sport versions will provide the same power but different trims.
And the car is also all-wheel drive. It claims the kudos of being the first pure-electric 4×4 ever produced by the innovative Bavarian motor company. With a starting price of £69,905, the future doesn’t come cheap. And especially in a car with no actual lounge. But for those hankering after a pure-electric 4×4, I suspect a lounge-style interior is somewhat secondary.