All-electric new BMW iX is headed for SA
The initial range includes xDrive40 and xDrive50 models, while the more potent iX M60 is due later
The BMW iX full-electric SUV will become the German carmaker's technology flagship when it arrives on the world's roads in November.
Pitched against Jaguar's I-Pace, it will go to market first with a choice of xDrive40, with 240kW/630 Nm for a 6.1 sec from 0-100km/h and a driving range of up to 425km; or in 385kW/765 Nm xDrive50 guise, in which it will do the sprint in a faster 4.6 secs and reach 630km on a full charge.
Both use fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology with a battery pack that can be charged to full in about 30 minutes, using DC charging infrastructure. The electric motor, power electronics and transmission are housed within a single casing. This integrated electric drive system is said to benefit the power density, efficiency and space saving of the vehicle.
Also joining the range later is the iX M60, which BMW says is still under development and projected to have more than 440kW for an “exceptionally sporty all-electric driving experience”, according to the German premium car maker.
The standard chassis for the BMW iX comprises a double-wishbone front axle, five-link rear axle, lift-related dampers and electric steering with variable ratios. Two-axle air suspension with electronically controlled dampers, Integral Active Steering and Sport brakes are optional extras.
Acoustic pedestrian protection is courtesy of composed drive sounds that also provide feedback in response to accelerator movements and speed.
The iX range is fitted standard with a fully variable electric all-wheel drive system that can also distribute the full amount of torque to the rear-wheels. Standard fitment wheels are 20-inch light-alloys and a choice of 21 and 22-inch Air Performance Wheels that can be fitted with foam-padding inside to reduce noise.
BMW says the iX comes equipped with the most extensive set of standard driver assistance systems ever seen on a BMW. These include a front collision warning system that detects oncoming traffic, pedestrians and cyclists when turning; an exit warning function which alerts to the presence of cyclists or pedestrians before the doors are opened; enhanced steering and lane control assistant; remote theft recorder; and parking and reversing assistants, including a camera.
Luxuries include a new generation of BMW iDrive; a Curved Display touchscreen infotainment system; over-the-air updates; head‑up display; Digital Key Plus that uses iPhones to wirelessly unlock the car; and a choice of three different trims for the interior that is crafted using wood, leather tanned with olive leaf extracts and other natural materials.
BMW SA says iX xDrive40 and xDrive50 models will go on sale here in the first quarter of 2022, with pricing to be announced closer to the launch date. The company also says it currently has no plans to bring in the high-performance iX M60.