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BMW iX (2021): Technology and market launch of the E-SUV

BMW /Tom Kirkpatrick
Going Green
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Although the iX is designed as a purely electric car, its substructure does not constitute a new architecture for future purely electric BMWs. From 2025 this will be taken over by a completely new architecture, which, however, will expressly not only be designed for e-drives, if it also clearly shifts the focus to electric and virtually reverses the principle of the previous Cluster Architecture (CLAR): while the one designed for combustion engines was, but was also able to integrate plug-in hybrid and electric drives, the new one is primarily conceived for electric drives, but should still be able to carry combustion engines that B MW at least in a number of markets too expected to play an important role in the second half of the decade.

Autonomous driving initially only after level 2

The iX platform, on the other hand, remains a solitaire, while its components are in many new models ( also those based on the new architecture) will be used. This includes high-voltage storage and electric drive (with the iX two related, scalable motors and axles) as well as the entire technology kit of sensors and electronics, which should enable the iX to drive autonomously according to level 3 at some point.

Uwe Fischer
The interior shows few buttons, but a large curved display.

The electric However, contrary to original promises on the part of BMW, SUVs will not start series production at the end of 2021, but rather later. Over-the-air updates could enable him to do this, because the complex 5G-capable hardware with extreme computing power for data processing and radar or lidar sensors and cameras should be on board from the start. Much of it sits behind the huge closed kidney. YourThe cover is lavishly lacquered in several layers so that it is transparent from the outside for the sensors, but not for the viewer.

Bayerisches Motoren-Werk

Even if BMW is rowing back in terms of autonomous capabilities must - with the electric drive, there is quite a leap: The iX should have a battery more than 100 kWh (gross) and need less than 21 kWh per 100 kilometers according to WLTP. And that even though the two electric motors will produce more than 500 PS (370 kW) and should accelerate the 2.5-ton iX to 100 km /h in less than five seconds. According to the WLTP, the range should be more than 600 kilometers, according to the demanding EPA standard it should be more than 300 miles (483 kilometers).

The scalable electric motors of the fifth generation (according to BMW counts) could be up to to deliver 300 kW per axis. Compared to the machine of the i3, they have increased the power density by 30 percent, the smaller width helps the degree of freedom in the chassis. The integration of the inverter and the gearbox with dry sump lubrication also saves installation space. The drives are a whopping 28 dB quieter than the i3.

Uwe Fischer
The new electric SUV should have more than 500 hp and accelerate to 100 km /h in less than five seconds.

As current-excited synchronous machines, the BMW electric motors manage without rare earths for permanent magnets. But the Munich-based company also sees the external excitation as the key to particularly advantageous control of power and torque. Because the strength of the magnetic field is decisive for the torque and depends on the controllable flow of current, BMW wants to achieve the powerful acceleration that is typical for electric cars from a standstill, in contrast to the competition, even at higher engine speeds or speeds - the maximum torque should be available up to 6,000 rpm his. BMW mentions 17,000 rpm as the maximum speed, so that even very high speeds, probably up to the voluntary self-limitation of 250 km /h, can be achieved without a second gear. However, BMW has not yet revealed how fast the iX can drive. But the Munich-based company will certainly not want to stay below the 200 km /h that Audi allows for the E-Tron.

Body,Weight and aerodynamics

If you plan to keep consumption within limits even at higher speeds, a decent drag coefficient of 0.25, measured against the not very cheap design, should help (for comparison: the Audi E-Tron comes to 0.28). The wind slippage comes about through considerable effort and BMW quantifies what improves the range: the measures on the vehicle front, underbody, rear and wheels alone should bring more than 65 kilometers. 15 kilometers of this are accounted for by the so-called Air Performance bikes. The active air flap control contributes around 25 kilometers: In normal driving situations, the kidney and the air inlets in the lower area of ​​the front apron are completely closed. The transition between the front and the hood hardly shows any joints - it cannot be opened. The iX customer can simply snap the logo open by pressing it in order to pour washing water into the opening below. The front flap itself can only be opened in the workshop - there is no front trunk (Frunk). But that saves the corresponding mechanism and the hinges.

Uwe Fischer
The hood cannot be opened, only the workshop can remove it.

That for the Consumption of less crucial weight does not have such a groundbreaking effect, although the Munich-based company has put a lot of effort into the use of carbon fiber (on the side frame, water gutter, roof frame, cowl and rear window frame) in a kind of carbon cage and an aluminum space frame. But you have to put the approximately 2.5 tons in relation to the dimensions: The iX has a wheelbase of exactly 3.00 meters. That is 2.5 centimeters more than the X5, with which the iX has roughly the same length (a good 4.90 meters). The height is at X6 level (around 1.70 meters) and thus undercuts the X5 by around five centimeters. With the wheel sizes of 21 and 22 inches, the iX is the same as the X7.

A look at the competition also puts the mass into perspective: the E-Tron has a good seven centimeters less wheelbase and weighs 2.6 tons with the appropriate engine , the overall 20 centimeters shorter EQC (13 centimeters less wheelbase) also weighs 2.5 tonnes.

The interior of the BMW iX

From the ample dimensions and the flat floorthe battery inside gives the iX a spacious living room atmosphere. The displays and controls have a restrained design, the up to 30 loudspeakers with 1,600 watts are mostly invisible, and the air vents are filigree and discreet. Instead, inconspicuous heated surfaces help the air conditioning and the projector for the head-up display is almost invisibly embedded in the dashboard - Shy Tech is not the only BMW naming this principle. More striking: the hexagonal steering wheel. It reminds you that at some point the iX will take over the steering and sometimes also give the driving task back - it may be helpful if the person behind the wheel can quickly grasp the position of the steering wheel by touch.

BMW /Tom Kirkpatrick
The iX is comfortable and ergonomically correct.

On a small center console between the front seats a rocker switch for selecting the speed levels and an iDrive controller sit directly on a wooden surface that also has marked, touch-sensitive areas as a replacement for buttons. On the microfiber-covered dashboard, which slopes down sharply towards the driver, is a large curved display that extends from the far left to the center. The display areas of the 12.3 inch display of the (former) instruments and the control touch display with a screen diagonal of 14.9 inches merge on it. In conjunction with the next generation of the BMW Operating System, the curved display in the BMW iX is also intended to raise operation to a new level: 'There is no user interface in industry that is as easy and safe to use as ours,' says BMW - Development Board Member Frank Weber.

Lounge in the rear

There is space for three in the rear. Like the newly developed front seats, the outer seats have integrated headrests. The headrest in the middle seat can be folded down to improve the view to the rear. The elimination of the central tunnel also gives the passengers in the second row of seats plenty of legroom. The interior designers have drawn the seat bench far into the door area so that it is more convenient to turn to the neighboring occupant.

BMW /Tom Kirkpatrick
There is plenty of knee room in the rear.

If you don't want that, you can look into your personal tablet. This can be latched into a Travel & Comfort system integrated in the front seat, which is also suitable for attaching coat hooks. In addition, two USB-C ports are integrated into the headrests of the front seats. Optional seat heating and integrated speakers are also available for the rear. The rear seat backrest can be divided in a 40:20:40 ratio and folded down to enlarge the roughly 500-liter trunk. Under its loading floor there is a very spacious, deep compartment that doesn’t have to surrender even if very long charging cables are stowed away.

Ultra-fast charging

Apropos: The iX should have up to 200 kW charge and recharge electricity for 120 kilometers in ten minutes. 40 minutes should be enough to charge the battery from ten to 80 percent. Anyone who uses green electricity for this purpose may also be pleased that a natural extract from olive tree leaves is used for the surface treatment of the leather of the seats and the dashboard and that FSC-certified wood and a high proportion of recycled plastics in the surfaces of door panels, seats, Center console and floor covering.

Uwe Fischer
The iX can charge with 200 kW.

Market launch and price of the BMW iX

The iX should drive to the first customers in November 2021. BMW has not yet revealed whether there will be versions with a smaller battery or without all-wheel drive, i.e. only with rear-wheel drive. Even with the prices there are only rumors: There is talk of 100,000 euros, at least for themThe version with more than 500 PS and a battery of more than 100 kWh sounds realistic and at a price of just under 70,000 euros would fit the much smaller iX3 with 286 PS and rear-wheel drive.

Even the most powerful ones should go up Version still give opportunities to increase the price: The sports package, large wheels and all kinds of equipment features for the inside will cost a lot extra. This electric SUV from BMW remains firmly rooted in the brand tradition.


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