Previously known as the iNEXT, the iX marks many firsts for the company’s EV future and will debut in the second-half of 2021

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BMW revealed an interesting concept called the iNEXT at the 2018 Paris Auto Show. This was the time when the automaker also introduced us to the huge kidney grille. Who knew it would spread like a virus within the portfolio with many of them boasting it on their faces in the years to come?

Anyway, the iNEXT was soon renamed to iX, and BMW said that it will be roughly the size of the X5. But unlike the iX3, which is essentially the electric version of the standard X3, the iX will be much more. For starters, it’s based on a completely new platform that will underpin the future electric models, too.

BMW iX Exterior

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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BMW will sell the iX as a Sports Activity Vehicle, pretty much like the X5. It is even sized on par with it. The new modular spaceframe is made of aluminum and will underpin a lot of future EVs from the German automaker. BMW has paid special attention to its aerodynamics, too. For a vehicle that is billed to be as big as the X5 and as tall as the X6, it boasts a very impressive drag coefficient of 0.25.

It looks very bold up front with that hideous kidney grille on the face which is bound to draw polarizing opinions until the car arrives, survives, and bites the dust. The grille, of course, is closed, which is the case with most EVs. See the BMW logo on the bonnet? Flip it open to accessor the fluid reservoir for the front windshield.

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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It seems like the iX has a heavy rear end when viewed from the sides. It is sharp and aggressive all-around with and features flush door handles. The wheel designs for the will be unveiled at the time of the production model’s debut, but even the ones seen in the images look sweet. You can expect up to 22-inch wheels here.

The rear looks futuristic, too, but I dig it. Just like the other angles, it’s bold and in-your-face, but the production version might mild down a tad bit more. The BMW logo here on the tailgate neatly hides the rearview camera and opens when the camera is being accessed. Overall, the iX will leave people divided, but that doesn’t mean the company won’t be able to move it from the showrooms.

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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Coming back to the kidney grille, apart from sitting there not-so-pretty, it doubles as the SUV’s intelligence panel. All the cameras, radars, and other sensors for autonomous technology and driver assistance are placed here, neatly hidden from the view.

If you want to know who’s responsible for designing and developing the kidney grille so you can go protest, it’s the folks at LuTZ lightweight design and technology center in Landshut, Germany.

BMW iX Interior

2019 BMW X5 Interior
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There’s no transmission tunnel so expect the cabin to be very spacious in all aspects. It even features a panoramic sunroof which would make it airy and less claustrophobic, too. While BMW has not mentioned anything specific, you can expect sustainable material to be used all around inside. Alcantara wrapped upholstery will be a part of the optional stuff to give the iX a premium and plush outlook. Another new spec that BMW is gushing over are the integral headrests, which are basically integrated into the seats and might be a place to house the speakers.

A single screen that doubles up as the digital instrument cluster and the infotainment screen is present on the dash.

The bit behind the steering wheel could be a regular screen, whereas the part on the center console will be touch. The drive mode selectors and the likes are placed between the center console, this giving the dash a clean look. But, these are the pre-production design elements and we could see changes made to them.

2019 BMW X5
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The new architecture will also incorporate a new autonomous technology platform that will support Level 5 autonomy when launched. The iX will be the first vehicle from the Bavarian’s stable to feature Level 5 autonomy; well, at least that was the last update from BMW in this regard. BMW calls its technology “Personal Co-Pilot”. The iX will offer Level 3 autonomy when launched. The Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous systems will be tested on a fleet of pilot cars in 2021 before being introduced to passenger cars. Level 4 aims for ‘hands-off and mind-off’ autonomy in urban situations, while Level 5 will offer driverless urban travel at up to 43 mph.

BMW iX Powertrain

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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The iX will feature BMW’s fifth-gen eDrive technology.

The powertrain setup includes two motors with a high voltage battery underneath the floor. BMW proudly notes that the powertrain is built without making use of any rare materials. Instead, all the parts are built using sustainable material.

The combined power output is rated at around 500 horses, which is good enough to do a 0-60 mph sprint in around five seconds. Companies almost always let out the best details, so expect these figures for the top-spec models. Base trim could have a little under 400 horses and a 0-60 mph time of sub-seven seconds. We’re pretty sure BMW will offer a dual-motor setup on all the iX trims.

BMW iX Battery, Range, and Charging Times

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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As for the battery, BMW has noted that the iX will consume a little under 21 kWh for every 62 miles, that too as per the WLTP cycle, which is more lenient than the EPA. This means the iX will deliver roughly 3 miles per kWh, which isn’t the best. To put things into perspective, Lucid Air delivers around 4.58 miles per kWh, whereas the Tesla Model S around four miles as per EPA ratings.

The car will come with a 100 kWh battery pack in one of the trims, which will deliver roughly 300 miles on a full charge.

A 100 kWh battery is pretty big and heavy, and it delivers just 300 miles, which is rather disappointing as per the current standards. We hope to see the numbers improve for the final production model.

On the bright side, the iX supports DC fast-charging at up to 200 kW. In pure numbers, the iX can add up to 75 miles of range when plugged in for 10 minutes at a DC charging point. The battery can be charged from 10- to 80 percent in 40 minutes. Using an 11 kW wall box charger, it takes 11 hours to charge from 0 to 100-percent.

BMW iX Pricing

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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There’s no word on the pricing yet, but it could start around $80,000 and cross the $100,000 mark for the top trims with optional goodies. This is also based on the fact that the iX will slot above the iX3, which itself is expected to be priced over $65,000.

BMW iX Competition

Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X Exterior
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We pit it against arguably the best electric SUV out there considering both will be priced in the same bracket. The Model X has been the go-to choice for many people so far. It is offered in two trims. The base Long Range model comes with a dual-motor setup and delivers an estimated range of 360 miles on a full charge. The SUV takes just 3.8 seconds to sprint to 60 mph. This trim is priced at $89,990.

Tesla will also introduce a new Plaid version that will arrive in May or June 2021. This model will have a tri-motor setup that comes with an estimated range of 340 miles. It will take just 2.5 seconds to sprint to 60 mph from a standstill and go all the way up to 163 mph. The Plaid Model X will start at $119,990.

Read our full review on the Tesla Model X

Rivian R1S

How Does the Rivian R1S Compete with the Tesla Model X? Exterior
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Not a conventional competitor to the BMW iX, but the Rivian R1S is one of the strongest vehicles in the SUV segment already. It is still some time away, but a lot is known about it already. It will feature four motors that will help it sprint to 60 mph in three seconds. It can be had in a three-row, seven-seat setup, which isn’t the case with the iX. The R1T is expected to boast a 15.6-inch touchscreen on the center console, but it’s not clear if all the trims will feature the same unit. The R1S starts at $70,000 and goes up to $77,500, which means even the top-end will undercut the starting price of the iX in all likelihood.

Read our full review on the Rivian R1S

Final Thoughts

2022 BMW iX Exterior Spyshots
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The iX will be the flagship EV for BMW until something bigger and better arrives, but it leaves a lot to desire. Yes, it boasts of a BMW tag, but that won’t justify what’s on offer. A range of around 300 miles from a heavy 100 kWh battery pack and 0-60 mph time of five seconds in its best avatar is not the best figure out there. For a vehicle that is going to be priced over $80,000, you have better offerings. There’s the Model X and the upcoming Rivian R1S, too. But, these are the initial impressions from what we know and we’ll give our final verdict once the iX is out.

The iX will be manufactured at the automaker’s Dingolfing plant in Germany. The production is set to begin in the second half of 2021.

  • Leave it
    • Looks, looks, looks
    • Will be priced in the Tesla Model X category
    • Mediocre range and performance
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read full bio
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