2022 BMW iX xDrive50 is not just saving the planet, it’s also a quirky status symbol targeting the Tesla Model Y.
It’s been a while since we have gotten an all-new fully electric BMW, but the wait is finally over. It’s officially the first fully electric SUV platform of the brand. Although BMW is falling behind in terms of the number of available electric vehicles, BMW is one of the early adopters when it comes to electrification. Instead of replacing their gasoline engine model lineup with affordable options, they are going all-out and competing with the Tesla Model Y.
One thing that hasn’t changed is that BMW still uses the “i” nameplate for their electric platforms. 2022 BMW iX is the second fully electric platform after the i3, which was more of an experimental niche product. This time BMW came up with a product more suitable for large families, but let’s see if this quirky SUV can offer the traditional BMW experience while saving the planet.
Starting with the looks, the front fascia has a quite controversial design like the latest M3 and M4, the huge grilles just make the car look ugly but cool. For an electric car, you don’t need air cooling, as you don’t have a radiator like the gas engine, so it’s purely a design choice. Bigger isn’t always better, and giant kidney grilles don’t look proportionally right, even when they are not functional.
From the side profile, it really does not have traditional SUV body lines. BMW calls the iX “Sports Activity Vehicle” (SAV), which looks similar to a station wagon and a big hatchback, with not much ground clearance. For a vehicle not meant for off-roading, ground clearance isn’t that important, but it makes the car look more like a tall station wagon rather than a utility vehicle.
The rear end has less controversial design language, but it still looks quite futuristic. The trunk covers pretty much the whole rear end. You see more sharp lines in the rear end compared to the side profile. When you open the trunk, you see the 2022 BMW iX has a multi-material frame, which BMW calls the “Carbon Cage”. It not only adds rigidity but also reduces weight, which is a great choice for a car that carries extremely heavy battery packs.
Like the exterior design, the quirkiness continues in the interior. Unlike the other modern BMW models, the iX has a more sterile interior design, focusing on simplicity. Typical BMW fashion, the fit, and finish are very impressive, and everything you touch feels very premium. The whole dashboard is wrapped in leather. I think BMW did a great job when it comes to choosing the right materials, as it offers a great combination of wood, aluminum, leather, and a minimal amount of glossy black.
As a “Sports Activity Vehicle”, practicality is as important as the build quality, therefore you get a lot of storage, especially in the center stack. The shifter and infotainment buttons are located in the middle, but there is also a storage compartment located underneath for your smartphone, which can also charge your phone wirelessly. BMW follows the latest trend of a separate center console, which gives more usable area for extra storage.
Like the dashboard, the seats are all in leather, and they also look unique, like the rest of the car. You get an integrated headrest like a sports car, but you get minimal side bolstering for extra comfort. They feel exceptionally comfortable, but the integrated headrest combined with cushy seats just represents the whole character of the new iX – sporty yet comfortable.
Above the driver, you get a huge panoramic glass roof that gives the interior a feeling of spaciousness. BMW decided to use electrochromic glass, which contains polymer dispersed liquid crystals in between two pieces of glass. It’s impressive to see BMW gives us the opportunity to use science, and it really blocks the sunlight when it’s on.
2022 BMW iX xDrive50 has tons of legroom and headroom space for the rear seat passengers, despite having sporty-looking seats in the front. Like the front seats, the rear seats also have minimal to no side support. No matter where you sit, it’s a pretty nice vehicle to spend time in it.
Although BMW does not call it an SUV, it is still a utility vehicle designed and built for families. It still offers a lot of cargo space for large families or if you just want to carry big stuff. Behind the rear seats, you get approximately 500 liters. It’s definitely not class-leading, but it can go up to 1750 liters if you fold down the rear seats.
So here is a missed opportunity. It does not come with a storage compartment under the hood. As electric motors are much more compact than internal combustion engines, you can utilize that space for something else, but BMW decided to put electric motors instead. Like many electric platforms, they could have utilized this space much better.
Speaking of an electric motor, the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 utilizes a fifth-generation electric drivetrain built in-house. The electric motor is matched with a 111 kWh battery located underneath the passenger compartment for more overall trunk space and a better center of gravity. It pumps out 516 horsepower and 564-pound feet of torque.
It benefits from all-wheel drive and accelerates from 0 to 100 in 4.6 seconds. The estimated range is around 500 kilometers. You would think 4.6 seconds might not sound impressive for a car that has over 500 horsepower, but you should also consider the fact that this is a giant SUV with over 5600 lbs of curb weight. It is still very fast, and the torque is immediately available anywhere you want.
Regardless of what BEV you drive or the power output, you must have a Level 2 charger at home, because level 1 (110v) charging takes approximately more than 4 days to fully charge any kind of fully electric vehicle. 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 takes approximately 10 hours to fully charge with the Level 2 charger. It can also take a 200-kilowatt DC fast charger (Level 3), which can charge from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes. Unlike the Tesla Model Y, it can use any charger, as it uses the universal CCS connector.
Let’s talk about tech, it’s as important for the potential buyers. It’s really hard not to see two giant screens located on the dashboard, one for the infotainment system, and the other one is the digital cluster. The infotainment system is the latest version and it’s quite different than the previous one. I found it a little bit more confusing and need more time to get used to it, compared to the previous software.
There is no physical button for air conditioning in the interior, meaning that you have to use the infotainment screen all the time. It takes a lot of time to fine-tune it, and you get several different options. In terms of customization, it’s excellent, but for a basic feature that you use every day, it’s too complicated and takes a lot of time.
Of course, it comes with wireless smartphone integration, which is the biggest advantage compared to Tesla’s infotainment system. The rearview camera resolution is excellent, and you can also check different angles and use the 3D parking feature. If you still struggle to park even with the advanced 360 cameras, it comes with a parking assistant that can park the iX both ways for you.
Driving the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 just feels like a traditional electric car experience but in a more modern and luxurious fashion. The NVH is excellent, there is minimal wind noise despite having frameless door windows. It has adaptive engine braking, so you don’t have to adjust it based on your driving style, the closer you get to the car in front of you, it will adjust it automatically. You don’t have to use the brake pedal until you come to a full stop.
This feature also makes your life a lot easier if you are doing a lot of stop-and-go traffic, or driving in the city. It’s quite an easy vehicle to live with. The steering does not have excessive weight. You have tons of visibility and the suspension can absorb a lot of road imperfections. I’m surprised how capable it can handle both potholes despite the heavy curb weight and giant 22″ wheels.
My expectations were not that high when it comes to spirited driving, at the end of the day this is not the performance choice, but I was wrong. 2022 BMW iX exceeded my expectations, I was not ready for how well it goes around the corner. The chassis is very well balanced, and it communicates with the driver at the limit and you can rotate the car easier on the throttle. Having a tall roofline and higher seat position can be scary if you enter the corner too fast, but the battery pack located at the bottom balances it out really well.
On the highway, the adaptive cruise control works flawlessly, lane centering feature makes your life so much easier, but it won’t allow you to keep your hands off the steering wheel for an extended period of time. If you are coming from the latest Tesla or Hyundai / KIA product, the iX’s adaptive cruise system will feel less autonomous just because it would not allow you to keep your hands off the wheel for longer.
Like it or not, electric vehicles are the future, we cannot ignore the inevitable. The 2022 BMW iX has everything available in a modern BMW but in more of a quirky and futuristic fashion. With the starting price of $82,859 CAD, it is more of a status symbol rather than a premium people mover.
Obviously, potential fuel savings are not the reason you would buy a luxury SUV, even if it’s electric. So if you want the faster xDrive50 trim with more range, it starts at $95,869. With all the extras including the Sport Package, Premium Enhanced Package, and other optional features, our tester has the price tag of $117,690. For more details – please visit www.bmw.ca