The BMW iX all-electric SUV has some great new tech. But its platform is already history
BMW has rolled the drums, blasted its trumpets and unveiled its second e-SUV iX. The truth of the matter is that the car however has no long term future. See, the newcomer is the first new BMW to be built on a platform that cannot support a combustion engine. Which is why it cannot be a blueprint for future BMW models…
The iX was designed and is built on a purely electric substructure. That was before BMW chose to rather concentrate on another, completely new architecture that will in future cater for all-electric battery propulsion. But that platform must also easily accommodate combustion and hybrid combustion powertrains.
Also, unlike the current CLAR chassis, which is designed for combustion engines, but can accommodate hybrid and electric too, that future 2025 structure will primarily house electric drive. But it must also be able to carry combustion engines. Which is basically a reversal of philosophy and renders this iX obsolete before it’s even turned a wheel!
SOME COUNTRIES STILL NEED COMBUSTION ENGINES
Among the reasons for the change, is that a number of crucial BMW markets like South Africa, will not be ready to accept electric cars. Not even well beyond the point that combustion cars are banned in ‘first world’ counties. This already redundant iX platform will still share many of its revolutionary components, the likes of high-voltage storage and electric drive with many future BMWs. But the base of i sops in ’25.
All that said, the new twin current-excited synchronous 370 kW electric motor 2.5-ton iX accelerates to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds. Maximum torque is available up to 6,000 rpm, but the motors can rev up to 17,000 rpm. So iX could achieve a theoretical 250 km/h Vmax without a second gear. BMW is still to revealed how fast the iX actually is.
Another plus is that iX delivers a WLTP driving range of beyond 600 km and even manages 483 km according to the the demanding EPA standard. That’s around 50% further than current generation rivals like Jaguar’s i-Pace that deliver similar performance.
The beyond 100 kWh battery needs less than 21 kWh per 100 km. A 200 kW recharge will muster 120 km range in ten minutes. 40 minutes will charge the battery to 80 percent. The iX has fifth generation scalable electric motors that can deliver up to 300 kW per axle, while the inverter and dry sump lubricated gearbox save installation space. And the drives are a whopping 28 dB quieter. That all versus the BMW i3.
SLIPPERY DESIGN, LIGHTWEIGHT COMPONENTS
The BMW iX also uses a slippery design and lightweight to meet its record objectives. It has closed fake kidney grills, a sculpted underbody and aerodynamic 21 and 22 inch wheels. And iX uses carbonfibre in the side frame, water gutter, roof frame, cowl and rear window frame.
Boasting a spacious cabin atmosphere, iX has a hexagonal steering wheel. It sits ahead of two large, merged and curved Mercedes-like 12.3 inch and 14.9 displays. The heads-up display is almost invisibly embedded in the dashboard. And iX get the latest ‘easiest and safest’ next generation BMW Operating System interface.
Displays and controls are restrained, the air vents discreet and the 1,600 watt sound system’s up to 30 speakers mostly invisible. The typical BMW iDrive controller remains, while marked touch-sensitive areas replace buttons on a wood panel.
The new iX will go on sale from November 2021. BMW has not yet revealed whether there will be versions with a smaller battery or rear-wheel drive only.