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BMW iX: Going green in style and luxuriously

S. Muralidhar | | Updated on: Dec 17, 2021
BMW iX, a sports activity vehicle, is imported as a completely built unit and is priced at a cool ₹ 1.16 crore.

BMW iX, a sports activity vehicle, is imported as a completely built unit and is priced at a cool ₹ 1.16 crore.

BMW’s iX breaks new ground with its promise of sustainably-sourced luxury and combines practical electric mobility

There are two ends of the electric mobility spectrum that’s witnessing hectic action in India. The e-scooter segment on the one end and the luxury passenger car category on the other. The millions of small car buyers in the middle will have to wait a little while longer before affordable EVs can become a reality. In the near future, the pendulum will swing between a million affordable e-scooters and a few hundred stratospherically priced luxury EVs. They’d perfectly capture the mixture of opposites that is so typically Indian.

One addition to that mix was the BMW iX launched here earlier this week, within just a couple of months of its global unveiling. The SAV (sports activity vehicle, as BMW calls it) is imported as a completely built unit (CBU) and is priced at a cool ₹ 1.16 crore. All the allocations for BMW India for 2021 were already sold out within hours of bookings being opened!

 

Design

The BMW iX is the first electric to be badged without a numeral in its name. The previous models that made their debut in India from ‘BMW i’, the German luxury brand’s BEV division, were the i3S and the i8. But the new iX represents the start of a whole new generation of electrics for BMW.

The first striking element is the kidney grille, which is a classic BMW design signature and there have been innumerable reactions to the growing size of the grille in the new range of vehicles from the brand. The iX’s grille looks huge in pictures, but strangely, is quite proportionate in the flesh. BMW says that the iX gives you the functionality of X5, dynamics of X6 and the striking appearance of X7. It is only by the badging and in the details that one can figure out that this is an EV.

One of the ways by which this has been achieved is by the use of what BMW calls ‘Shy Tech’ (or stealth tech). It is technology that remains out of sight with exterior and interior features that only become visible when actually in use – an intelligent BMW kidney grille with sensors, camera and radar tech, proximity sensors in the body edging, flush door openers, washer under front logo, camera with washer in rear logo, integrated speakers and the head-up display’s projector being recessed into the instrument panel.

The exterior design is characterised by smooth surfacing and a monolithic design. The iX’s large BMW kidney grille aside, it features the narrowest headlights ever, frameless windows, a 3-D construction for the bonnet, rectangular wheel arches, flared shoulder area and slim one-piece rear-lights.

 

Interior

The cabin is minimalist and spacious with an easily perceivable sense of luxury that is unique. There is a curved infotainment screen on top of the dash, and cut-crystal elements for the centre console menu selector knob and the seat adjustment on the door panel. Much of the wood and leather trim is sustainably sourced and there has been no use of rare earth metals or raw materials from deep-sea mining, according to BMW. The iX is also produced with 100 per cent green electricity using natural / recyclable materials. Due to an absence of the central tunnel and a flat floor there is considerable freedom of movement giving the iX’s cabin a lounge-like atmosphere.

 

The most striking features in the cabin include the longest ever single-piece BMW Curved Glass Display angled towards the driver, race car inspired hexagonal steering wheel making entry / exit easier, electrochromic (can change from transparent to opaque) sky lounge panoramic glass Roof, multi-functional seats with integral head restraints and massage function, bespoke leather upholstery, ambient lighting and a luggage capacity of up to 1,750 litres (with the rear seats folded). Some of the other features includes a Harman Kardon Surround Sound System with 18 speakers, parking assistant plus with surround view camera the reversing assistant which records the last 50 metres driven and assists by taking over the steering.

 

Powertrain

BMW has used hybrid electric powertrains in the past with a small ICE engine behaving like a generator. But the iX is pure electric featuring its fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology that includes a highly integrated drive unit within a single housing powered by two electric motors (for front and rear axles), a single-speed transmission and power electronics. Two batteries integrated in the floor have a combined capacity of 76.6 kWh and provide a range of up to 425 kilometres (rated battery range).

The motors provide a combined output of 326hp and the iX accelerates from 0 to 100kmph in 6.1 seconds. BMW says that its intelligent all-wheel drive distributes the right amount of torque between the front and rear wheels to suit the driving situation and road surface. There is also a ‘My Modes’ switch that changes driving character to Personal, Sport or Efficient. Since electrics are inherently quiet in the absence of a conventional fuel powertrain, BMW IconicSounds Electric creates engaging driving sounds and pedestrian alerts.

Pricing

As an introductory offer, the iX is being offered with a complimentary smart BMW Wallbox charger. It can be integrated at home to enable safe and convenient charging up to 11kW. Charging time for the iX for a full charge can vary from seven hours on the 11kW wall charger to as fast as 90 minutes in a 50kW DC fast charger. BMW India officials say that the company plans to build one of the most extensive fast charger networks by setting them up at its dealerships in about 35 cities around the country.

We will get to see the iX on our roads by April 2022, when the first batch will be delivered to customers. If you missed the opportunity to book one from the 2021 allocation batch, you can still catch the next year’s model, bookings for which will open in Q1 2022. At ₹1.16 crore (introductory pricing), the iX xDrive40 is not for everyone that wants to go green. But, it is a BMW from all angles and that is certainly going to be appealing to those that have a fat purse and are conscious about their carbon-footprint.

 

Published on December 18, 2021

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