Since the i3, BMW has been quiet about pure electric cars for a long time. Chief reporter Alex Bloch got the BMW iX xDrive 50 into the Supertest 9 years after the appearance of the small Bavarian electric car. In addition to suitability for everyday use, this is also about e-performance. Have the people of Munich forgotten how e-mobility works, or is the five-meter SUV convincing?
For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned right at the beginning that the look of the BMW iX is polarizing. Just so you know we're well aware of the progressive look, but design isn't judged here. In the electric car super test by chief reporter Alex Bloch, current electric cars are examined in detail in ten different chapters. The test candidate can get a maximum of 6 stars per category. Price or segment are irrelevant - each car is evaluated according to the same criteria. BMW distributes a total of 523 hp in the iX xDrive 50 over a vehicle length of almost five meters. We will now clarify what else is in the E-SUV.
The impression of quality
If you look for flaws on the outside, you won't find anything to complain about. The joints fit exactly, window lines show no misalignment and the paint quality is top. But the iX still affords a tiny lapse. The bonnet cannot be opened, but it can be moved easily when closed. In everyday use, however, this should neither be noticeable nor disturbing.
Inside, the BMW is really showing off. Fine microfiber fabric meets metal applications and controls made of real crystal glass. The workmanship matches the high-quality choice of materials. At least above the door shelves, because hard plastic is used underneath. The appearance of the cockpit as a whole looks as if BMW had completely taken over the design from the study. There is rarely something comparable to be seen in production vehicles. Alex Bloch rates the with 5.5 out of 6 stars .
Suitability for the city
Almost five meters long, 1.97 meters wide (without exterior mirrors) - these are not exactly the dimensions of an agile city runabout. Neither assistance systems nor equipment features such as rear-wheel steering conceal this. What helps is the good visibility to the front. With the correct seating position, it is easy to estimate where the front hood ends. If you still don't dare to do this, you are well advised to use the 360-degree camera including a bird's-eye view. It also supports the view to the rear, because wide D-pillars are a little in the way of the human eye. But again: Even the best camera display only prevents parking bumps. The parking spaces themselves will not be larger as a result.
After all, the driver does not necessarily have to take over the parking process himself. There is an excellently functioning assistant that can park forwards as well as sideways and backwards.Due to the sum of the helpers, it is still enough for the BMW iX for 2 out of 6 stars .
You already guessed it: the dimensions of the iX promise a lavish amount of space, anything else would be absurd. Let's go through the e-SUV from front to back. In the front row, the elimination of the cardan tunnel ensures an airy feeling. It's good that BMW designed the iX as an independent electric car and not as an electrified combustion version. The storage compartments in the doors and the center console are quite voluminous. The rear passengers, however, need not complain. The SUV also impresses in the second row with its expansive space in all directions.
That leaves the trunk, because there is no frunk. The rear compartment swallows 500 liters as standard and does not really stand out from the competition with this value. The cargo area includes an additional compartment in the floor for stowing the charging cable, although that would be better off in a frunk. If the rear seats are folded down by remote unlocking, the volume is 1,700 liters. A more than decent value, but the BMW can still score with another ability. The burly Bavarian can pull up to 2.5 tons, which is significantly more than other electric vehicles whose maximum braked towing capacity rarely exceeds 1.5 tons. This gives the iX a total of 5.5 out of 6 stars .
The two electric motors send 523 hp and 765 Newton meters of maximum torque to the asphalt via all four wheels. It goes without saying that with such values in the real world, things actually move forward in a powerful way. Only at 200 km/h does BMW push the electronic bolt. In our measurement, the E-SUV confirms exactly the factory specification with 4.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h. But raw numbers cannot really describe what it feels like to drive a 2.5 ton car that has a killer train on the chain at all times.
While the weight does not adversely affect the acceleration experience, it does have to be slowed down again at some point. From 100 km/h, the iX stands after 35.6 meters and packs a lot when it comes to deceleration. Even after several braking processes, no dramatic fading can be observed. What the heavy Stromer doesn't like are tight curves or even the 18-meter slalom. Here the load starts to sway, with just over 60 km/h the BMW makes it through the pylons - every small car is faster on the road. All in all, more light than shadow: 4 out of 6 stars .
The electric car functions
Such an electric car should be equipped with a few special features and functions so that the driver can relax through everyday life without petrol. The already mentioned frunk is part of it, for example, so that the charging cable can be stowed away separately from the luggage.Unfortunately, the iX cannot do this, but BMW installs a heat pump for it. This ensures that the battery – especially in winter – remains within an optimal temperature window so that it does not lose any range. In addition, the battery can also be brought into the appropriate heat window before charging, because cold batteries not only charge more slowly, but can also be damaged in the process .
The navigation system of electric cars should also have some extra functions. Among them the most important: load planning. So if I drive to a destination that is out of range of my BMW iX, the system should automatically plan the appropriate charging stops along the route. The BMW only does this when expressly requested and also lacks a display of the planned charging stations. On the other hand, the menu on the topic of loading is well done. An upper limit for the SOC (state of charge) can be defined here, and the level of current that flows in can also be specified. There are also planning options for departure and charging times, which ensure that the car has a predetermined charge level and a comfortable interior temperature at a desired time. The car itself intelligently doses the high recuperation output of up to 100 kW, depending on whether you are heading for an intersection or on the open road. So the iX only has to be deducted one point and has 5 out of 6 stars .
In order to make a well-founded statement about the consumption, we first have to look at the high driving resistance of the BMW. These include weight, rolling resistance, aerodynamics and powertrain. The large battery with its gross capacity of 111.5 kWh and the all-wheel drive generated by two motors make the car weigh 2,561 kilos. In view of the size and equipment, this value is actually quite okay. A comparable Audi E-Tron Sportback S, for example, weighs around 100 kilos more. The iX is helped by its structure, which is based on an aluminum space frame and is also made of carbon fiber in many places. Due to the material mix, the Munich company reduces the weight, which also benefits the rolling resistance, which decreases in line with the kilos.
If you look at the front, it's hard to believe that sophisticated aerodynamics should have been one of the development goals. With a drag coefficient of 0.25, the BMW is only slightly behind a Tesla Model X (0.24). The frontal area of 2.82 m² cannot be ignored. The fact that BMW has nevertheless put an aerodynamically efficient SUV on its wheels is due, among other things, to the closed radiator grille, the air curtains that direct the airflow over the wheels, the variable ventilation openings, embedded door handles and joints filled with rubber.According to BMW, the missing frunk also helps: the hood, which can only be opened in the workshop, is said to be easier to seal and needs smaller joints.
For the drive train, BMW relies on two separately excited synchronous motors of different strengths. They differ from the usual models (permanent magnet synchronous and asynchronous motors) in that the rotor is supplied with power mechanically (via small brushes). This is an advantage because this construction allows the counterforce of the Rotos to be regulated depending on the current supplied. In addition, the motors can be switched off so that they can simply glide along without any drag losses.
On the economically driven Eco lap, the BMW achieves an average consumption of 19.5 kWh. In the test average, the E-SUV ends up with a smooth 24 kWh. Exciting: At a constant 120 km/h, the consumption value climbs to just over 25 kWh, but even a much lighter Opel Corsa-e is not significantly more efficient here at around 24 kWh. This is exactly where the aerodynamic tricks of the iX are noticeable. It clearly undercuts the competition from Audi in terms of consumption and thus secures 2.5 out of 6 stars .
As standard, the BMW iX has a steel chassis without electronically controlled damper adjustment - but of course this is optional. The full range of air suspension and electronic dampers is installed in the test car. The SUV reacts relatively dryly to bumps on the front axle, while a slight vibration is noticeable at the rear. The electronics adapt to the damping situation in a flash and the overall construction is very successful. If you want to complain at a high level, you will complain that the seat leg rests are a bit too short, but overall, when it comes to driving comfort, nobody can beat the iX.
, As far as noise comfort is concerned, scarcely any quieter cars have been measured by auto motor und sport. Here, BMW has picked up on Rolls-Royce, among other things, and fills the tires with foam to eliminate the classic hollow rolling noise. The quiet and decoupled drive does the rest. Together with the excellent suspension, the BMW scores 5.5 out of 6 stars in the comfort section.
The battery of the BMW ix xDrive 50 has a gross capacity of 111.5 kWh, of which a little more than 105 kWh net can still be used. We are dealing here with one of the largest batteries installed in a production car. The expectations of the range are correspondingly high. BMW promises that the new battery cells in the iX will increase the energy density by 40 percent compared to the technology used previously, based on the volume of the installation space (not on the weight; that would be the gravimetric energy density).Expressed in kilometers: On the economical Eco lap, the BMW can drive 540 km in a circle, but the range based on the average test consumption for everyday use is the more realistic figure. The iX still manages 440 kilometers and is right in the middle between the test consumption ranges of a Mercedes EQS 450+ and an Audi E-Tron Sportback S. The Mercedes gets 130 km further, the Audi manages 130 km less.
As already indicated above in the consumption chapter, the BMW iX benefits from its aerodynamic qualities at higher speeds and this is noticeable in the autobahn range. If the speed is constant at 120 km/h, the range remains at 410 kilometers. If the stopover is only charged up to 80 percent SOC, as is usually the case, the BMW iX can then cover a distance of 330 kilometers. For this performance jump 4.5 out of 6 stars .
Suitability for travel
In order to determine the actual performance in everyday automotive use, it is of course not enough to just look at the pure range and consumption. The charging speed must also be considered for this, after all, the greatest range is of little use if you have to stand at the charging station for hours. The BMW has a 400-volt battery and not an 800-volt model like the Porsche Taycan, for example. The Munich-based company specifies 195 kW as the maximum charging capacity, but electric cars usually only maintain their peak performance for a short time and only if the battery is warm and empty enough. The measurement by the BMW shows that the charging power is on a plateau above 180 kW up to a SOC of around 40 percent. The average charging capacity from five to 80 percent is 151 kW.
If the BMW iX is now plugged into the fast-charging station, it takes 7.5 minutes to tap the power for 100 kilometers. The SUV refuels for the next 100 km in nine minutes, after which it takes 11 minutes to draw energy for another 100 km. Chief reporter Alex Bloch determined these values on an EnBW column at seven degrees. A second measurement on an Ionity column at an outside temperature of one degree shows a significantly weaker charging performance over the entire duration of the charging process. On average it was 120 kW. This is not surprising, because the cell chemistry of the batteries is not capable of full performance at low temperatures, which also serves to protect themselves, since the cells are damaged by high currents at low temperatures. Taking all the data together, the BMW iX can theoretically cover a distance of 800 kilometers in less than eight hours. It gets 5.5 out of 6 stars .
A logical and intuitive structure of the vehicle operation is a core competence of BMW.So have the people from Munich managed to make the handling of the new iX free of riddles and confusion? First of all, the head-up display should be mentioned, which is pleasantly large and largely freely configurable. The readability is just as good as with the digital instruments behind the steering wheel. The central infotainment screen is easily accessible and has a good resolution. But BMW also relies on multimodal operation in the iX. In other words, it doesn't necessarily have to be tapped on the display. It can also be operated via voice, iDrive in the center console and in some cases via gestures. It is up to the user which way he finds the most intuitive.
On a positive note, BMW uses the controls on the steering wheel as real buttons and not as a touch panel. This makes handling significantly easier. Is everything too good to be true? Yes, because in places there are breaks in the operating logic. For example, the distance setting of the adaptive cruise control is unnecessarily complicated and requires a look at the manual. You also have to find out the fact that the classic on-board computer is now suddenly called "Live Vehicle" in the menu. Of course, you do get used to it, especially when it comes to operation, but when you first come into contact with it, the BMW iX is not entirely intuitive to use. This brings a deduction and results in 4 out of 6 stars .
As an xDrive 50, the BMW iX costs at least 100,000 euros. However, because no one drives a car in this category with basic equipment, you realistically end up at 120,000 to 125,000 euros. Yes, that's a lot of money, but Alex Bloch comes to the conclusion after the e-car super test: The BMW is worth its money. If you can get by with a little less power and range, you can also choose the iX xDrive 40 from 77,300 euros. The top model iX M60 with 619 hp, on the other hand, costs at least 132,200 euros. The acquisition costs do not play a role in the evaluation in the electric car super test, but for the sake of transparency we do not want to withhold them from you.
The BMW iX xDrive 50 achieved an overall result of 4.4 out of 6 stars in the electric car super test by ams chief reporter Alexander Bloch across all chapters. This puts the Bavarian in second place on the Supertest hit list, ahead of the Skoda Enyaq iV 80 (4.1 stars) and behind the Mercedes EQS 450+ (4.7 stars).
This result is a snapshot because the list of test candidates is constantly growing. It is therefore very likely that there will always be movement in the top 3.