BMW iNext tested at the polar circle
The Bavarian wants to make sure its first all-electric crossover is a 100-percent fool-proof before it is launchedby Sidd Dhimaan, on
Do you remember the BMW iNext? Yes, the one with that Bane face from Batman? Well, it has been spotted testing in some extreme conditions. The iNext was seen going through vigorous testing in the cold weather in Swedish Lapland. It looks like BMW has a lot of expectations from the electric crossover. A little off-topic, but didn’t you notice that even the camouflage is not able to cover the huge kidney grille?
Meet BMW’s Flagship Electric Model
The crossover was unveiled in concept form at the Los Angeles Motor Show last year, and the design philosophy took everyone by surprise. But that big mouth eclipsed all the other good things about the iNext.
The crossover with Bavarian DNA has been designed to combine advanced autonomous system, connectivity, and electrification into one product that is touted as the company's flagship electric product.
The model sits on a radical new platform and will provide the building blocks for the automaker moving forward.
A Trip To The Snowy Land
The iNext was spotted testing at BMW’s winter testing facility in Arjeplog in Sweden.
The main reason for BMW to do this testing is to determine whether and how the frosty temperature affects the vehicle's electric motor and battery, along with its heating and cooling systems.
BMW engineers will also observe how the temperatures impact the steering and braking systems, the way the energy system is recharged and how it transfers electricity to the motor, along with the performance of an all-wheel drive system built specifically for the electric drive.
This Is Not The Same Prototype We Saw At The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show
What caught our attention was the fact that it looks quite different from the concept that was unveiled. The backwards-opening rear doors have been replaced with a more conventional set and larger B-pillars have been added. The iNext, as BMW describes it - boutique ambience on wheels - will boast technologies like adaptive infotainment displays and intelligent assistants.
The grille looks a little different as well; a little more mainstream, to be precise.
In an email about the tests, BMW describes the iNEXT as “a modern Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)”, which the automaker thinks “embodies the pioneering interpretation of brand typical driving pleasure – with purely electric drive, intelligent all-wheel-drive system and model-specific suspension technology.”
Those Are Two Really Versatile Platforms
Going forward, BMW wants to build all its next generation of cars on just two architectures. One will be for the front-wheel drive, while the other will be for the real-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive systems. Both platforms will be designed for use in conventional internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, as well as full-electric vehicles. This will certainly make things a lot more simpler for the German as it will be able to build cars with different propulsion systems on the same production line.
The iNext will be built on the second platform, and it will also underpin all the future vehicles from the BMW stable from the 3 Series upwards.
With this platform, BMW will also be eligible to build cars with a rear-engine configuration, too.
Talking about the iNext, it will come with a rear-mounted electric powertrain as standard. For the plug-in hybrid models, BMW will plonk the electric motor at the rear and the transversely mounted internal combustion engine at the front. Traditional gas-powered models will come with the conventional rear-wheel drive, front-engine layout. Other permutations will include twin-motored, four-wheel-drive electric cars and conventional mechanical four-wheel-drive internal combustion engine models.
Planning For An Autonomous Future
The new architecture will also incorporate a new autonomous technology platform that will support Level 5 autonomy when launched. Level 5 autonomy is the stage wherein the car does not require a driver.
The iNext will offer Level 3 autonomy when launched an you will be able to cruise the highways at speeds of up to at up to 80 miles per hour on highways with your hands and eyes-off.
The Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous systems will be tested on a fleet of pilot cars in 2021 before being introduced on 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 miles per hour.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Bavarian claimed the iNext to have a range of 370 miles, which may sound impressive now, but given that the crossover will be launched in 2021, the 370-mile range will be probably just be an average figure in the market then. The battery range has been BMW’s Achilles’ heel since the i3 days. Hopefully, BMW works on it and pumps up the figure. Sources at BMW say that the maximum range of the electric models could be up to 450 miles in future X-series models.
Just like its combustion vehicles, BMW is testing the components of the electric crossover as well under real-world conditions at the polar circle for the first time. The iNext will be built at BMW’s Dingolfing plant in Germany and will not be arriving anytime before 2021. But before that, the German automaker plans to produce an all-electric Mini in 2019 and an iX3 in 2020. By 2025, BMW aims to have 12 all-electric vehicles on the road. What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2018 BMW iNext Concept.
Read our full review on the 2020 BMW iX3.