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BMW reveals iX electric flagship SUV, with 500PS and 600km driving range

Simran Rastogi  | Updated: November 12, 2020, 04:31 PM IST

Remember the shocking BMW Vision iNext concept from the LA auto show, debuted almost exactly two years back, which was meant to be a pilot program for future BMW tech? The BMW iX is its equally shocking near-production version, representative of BMW's first purpose-built electric SUV on a new electric modular platform, and one that'll sit at the top of its electric lineup. Divisive styling hides fairly respectable numbers – a slippery 0.25Cd, an over 100kWh battery, twin electric motors with over 500PS for an under 5 second 0-100kmph time, and an estimated driving range of 600km (WLTP). DC fast charging up to 200kW should mean a charge of 10 minutes replenishes 120km of driving range. It's expected to go into production by 2021.

The BMW iX comes very close to the Vision iNext concept, with the exception of the grille mirrored in the windowline

Its styling isn't too far off the Vision iNext's, which was designed under Domagoj Dukec, head of design for BMW's electric division, where the goal was to clearly differentiate the iNext from other i cars, such as the i3 and i8. Leaving aside the large interpretation of the double kidneys on the nose of the car, which hides sensors for the advanced driver assistance systems, the iX's surfacing treatment is relatively tame around the sides and rear of the SUV, with a new approach to the wheel arches. There's more hidden elements, which BMW's calling Shy tech, including the filler to the windscreen washer hidden under the roundel up front, and the reverse camera and self-cleaning apparatus tucked under the roundel at the rear.

Still, like on the new M3 and M4, the oversized grille leads to strong power bulges on the hood, flanked by slim lighting. It's roughly the size of an X5, but with the lowered roof height of an X6, it's got strong aerodynamic efficiency, also courtesy enhancements to the bumpers, underfloor and even wheels, christened the Air Performance wheels. No doubt, the flush door handles help too. BMW hasn't revealed too many details on the platform, except that it's an aluminium spaceframe, with carbonfibre framework in the sides, roof and rear which helps in structural integrity, while also keeping weight down.

The bespoke modular platform also means that the cabin doesn't have a central tunnel up front or at the rear, and has helped designers liberate more space. It's also allowed a near complete rethink of the interior layout, with uber clean and uncluttered surfaces, made possible by more Shy tech.

Wood trim on the centre consoled hides backlit, touch sensitive controls, with the 12.3-inch instrumentation display joining a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen low on the dashboard. Even the gear lever has made way for a crystal stub, with BMW's latest iDrive accessible via a touch sensitive crystal rotary dial. The iX is 5G-capable and will also bring with it the latest iteration of BMW's assistant software.

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