2023 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: Enjoyable Performer, Annoying Design

2023 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: Enjoyable Performer, Annoying Design

Performance, range, comfort, and other EV basics are all addressed by the all-new iX. Why then, do I not adore this otherwise superb machine?

Along with the i4 sedan, BMW introduced two new electric cars this year, including the 2023 iX xDrive50. The iX xDrive50 is the more audacious bet of the two—a fully new car built from the ground up as opposed to a battery-powered variation of an existing model. Additionally, it assumes bigger risks. Numerous of these risks result in superb comfort, driving dynamics, and range, but some of them don’t. The electric SUV suffers from a number of odd and intriguing design choices, and I’m not just referring to its divisive look.

xDrive50 electric drivetrain

The iX has all-wheel drive as standard, combining a 190 kW front electric motor with a 230 kW rear motor that is more powerful. The combined engine output is 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, which is enough power to rocket the iX quietly from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The increase in g-forces during rapid acceleration is striking, but the advantages of instantaneous, precise electric torque are also noticeable during motorway merges and even while idly pulling away from a stop sign. It is an all-around, self-assured powertrain.

The xDrive50 seems more than capable of driving on public roads, but BMW added the 610-hp iX M60 to the roster for the 2023 model year if you need more power (or just have money burning a hole in your wallet). It won’t be quick enough to remove the grin from a Tesla Model X Plaid’s face, but it will be competitive with a Model Y Performance or a Mustang Mach-E GT in the 0-to-60 race.

The 2023 BMW IX xDrive50 is everything but traditional.

My Modes and regenerative braking are two features the driver may use to tailor the iX’s performance to their preferences. Personal, Sport, and Efficient are the three My Modes that largely regulate how sensitive the accelerator is (and, thus, how much energy is consumed), but they also have an impact on the steering and other vehicle components. For instance, Sport mode may lower the suspension by 0.4 inches for, uh, more dynamic handling when the optional Dynamic Handling package is installed.

The optional Iconic Sounds produced by the iX’s speakers are also influenced by the My Mode that has been chosen. With the use of Shepard tones, an illusion of overlapping sound that appears to endlessly climb in pitch, the EV’s fake powertrain noise, which was created by German film score composer Hans Zimmer, fills the cabin as it speeds up. Compared to the other two settings, sport mode has a slightly deeper and louder sound. Iconic sounds may also be completely turned off for individuals who want silent sailing.

There are four regenerative braking levels, with BMW’s Adaptive Recuperation being the default. The amount of regeneration to apply while pulling off the accelerator is determined by this mode using navigational data, battery level, and the distance to the vehicle in front of you. In theory, this should result in the most effective energy recovery, but in fact, it only makes deceleration seem erratic, unpredictable, and occasionally jerky. Low, medium, or high static regen settings are the ones I prefer to use because they are more reliable. The iX can slow down to a halt without applying the brakes when the transmission is switched from D to B mode with strong regen, which is my preferred EV braking technique overall.

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Range and charge

The battery that powers the iX has a total capacity of 111.5 kWh, of which 105.2 kWh are really useable. It’s interesting to note that the EPA provides different range estimates depending on the size of the wheels installed. The best 324-mile rating is achieved by the smallest 20-inch wheels. The range decreases to 305 miles when using 21-inch wheels, but weirdly rises to 315 miles when using bigger 22-inch wheels. My best guess as to why is that the stronger sidewall of the 275/40R22 tyre decreases rolling resistance just enough to offset the heavier rim bulk.

I drove 209 kilometres on an initial charge of 80 percent before stopping to recharge with 17 percent remaining.That’s roughly 10 miles more than I should have based on the EPA estimates; even while it’s still within the acceptable range, it’s even more amazing given that a significant portion of my testing was driving in Sport mode up winding mountain roads. very good.

When it’s time to recharge, the iX can draw up to 195 kW from a station that can handle DC fast charging. That’s rapid enough to add 90 miles of range with only a 10-minute session, or to go from a 10 percent to 80 percent state of charge in 40 minutes, but it’s not as quick as a 250 kW Hyundai Ioniq 5 or a 270 kW Porsche Taycan. BMW and EVgo collaborated to provide customers and tenants a $100 credit for charging at the company’s locations.

In the evenings, when demand is low, charging at home is the most economical option. The iX can draw 11 kW from a Level 2 outlet, which means it will charge from empty to full in around 11 hours.

A ride’s handling

The aluminium and carbon-fiber composite chassis, which are visible when you open the doors or rear hatch, and aluminium suspension components are just a few examples of the lightweight materials that have been extensively used to save weight. Even so, the iX weighs in at a hefty 5,769 pounds when equipped as shown. Fortunately, most of the weight is in the battery pack, which lies underneath the floor. Due to the iX’s low centre of mass, which aids in keeping it flat through turns, BMW’s engineers were able to adjust the double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspensions to be a little softer for comfort. Even on the optional 22s, the SUV absorbs bumps nicely. This is probably because of BMW’s lift-related dampers, which are hydraulic shock absorbers that gradually change their damping force when the SUV lifts off the ground.

When towing a braked trailer weighing up to 5,500 pounds, this model is fitted with the optional Dynamic Handling package, which adds an auto-leveling air suspension. However, who knows what havoc that will wreak on your range? As previously established, the air suspension may be manually lifted for an additional 0.8 inches of ground clearance at extremely low speeds and automatically lowered to increase stability at high speeds and in sport mode. This package also includes rear-wheel steering, which improves highway stability and low-speed agility.

Polarising style

The iX’s towering waggon proportions may be considered beautiful in the eyes of some, but I don’t think the design is very well-rounded. For instance, I find the harsh L-shaped trim on the front bumper to be much more annoying than BMW’s new corporate grille because it doesn’t appear to match up with any other part of the front. Most of the time, I just don’t like staring at the iX, but occasionally I’ll see an odd angle and it’s not that horrible. (Some of my coworkers think more favourably of BMW’s aesthetics.)

I appreciate that the self-healing polymer used to create the buck-toothed grille conceals some very intriguing technologies. Pick up a rock chip or a blemish on the glossy surface, and the finish will gradually become shiny and flush once again. You may see it mend in front of your eyes on a hot summer day (or with the help of a hair dryer). Heat speeds up the process. If the iX’s hood didn’t need to be opened by a service professional, there would be no frunk, which is a double disappointment. Instead, the BMW roundel immediately above the grille pulls out to reveal a secret washer fluid reservoir. However, compared to Mercedes-Benz’s washer fluid fender slot on the EQS and EQE, this is a more classy option.

On the other hand, the iX’s cabin is just stunning. From the optional crystal cut glass iDrive control knob and seat adjustment controls to the distinctive wood veneer capacitive buttons on the centre console, it makes excellent use of materials that look spectacular and are tactilely engaging to touch. The upright posture of the bucket seats, which provide an excellent view across the spacious greenhouse, makes them rather comfortable. This model’s electrochromic glass roof, which increases the impression of space and turns opaque at the push of a button to keep the sun off your head, is also an option.

But there are a few ergonomic nitpicks that jump out, so everything is not perfect in this visual paradise. There is also the electronic door release, which is placed too high and far forward on the door to provide sufficient opening leverage. My tiny copilot needed to push with both hands to force the door open as I clumsily elbowed and shoulder opened it to exit.

BMW has drastically reduced the complexity of the iX’s steering wheel controls by substituting glossy capacitive touch panels encircling a thumb wheel for distinct physical buttons for the infotainment system, cruise control, and other features. The system is constantly armed and prepared for one tap to establish or resume your cruising pace; there doesn’t appear to be a toggle to turn it off. So far, so good, but twice when manoeuvring the iX around a corner, my palm came into contact with the steering wheel’s pad while turning the wheel 90 degrees. This abruptly resumed the cruise control mid-turn, sending the vehicle lurching ahead as I fumbled for the brakes. Although I was able to avoid it both times, it marred an otherwise excellent driving experience.

With the exception of this ergonomic complaint, the iX’s optional and built-in driver assistance functions perform admirably. It interacts well with the hands-free Traffic Jam Steering Assist that operates at speeds under 40 mph, the lane-keeping steering assist, and the optional adaptive cruise control that operates in stop-and-go traffic. With the push of a button, Parking Assistant Professional can also autonomously direct the SUV into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. Standard forward collision avoidance has the possibility to be upgraded to include side collision avoidance as well.

iDrive 8

The multimedia software known as iDrive 8 is an improvement over its predecessor but also two steps backward. The system’s core components continue to be a pair of enormous screens that now appear to float on struts above the dashboard. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is on the left screen, while the bigger primary touchscreen is on the right. The high-resolution panels in iDrive 8 look great and can be customised with themes that include natural images, just like the rest of the iX’s cabin.

The menu, however, is a jumble of small symbols. There were about 30 of them on the main screen, arranged rather haphazardly and in no apparent sequence. Instead of, for instance, integrating FM and Sirius XM radio into a single audio sources menu, they each have their own buttons on the home screen, which, at highway speeds, must be located among hundreds of others.The curated organisation of iDrive 7 was a better out-of-the-box experience, in my opinion. My coworkers reminded me that I could organise the menu myself by dragging the icons around and that eight shortcuts could be saved to a favourites menu for quick access.There is, however, a significant learning curve.

Back in the positive column, wireless connection for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a standard feature. You don’t even need to mess around with the settings to get connected and working with either because the iX supports the most recent rapid pairing technology. Six USB type-C charging connections are also distributed around the interior (two for first-row passengers and four for those in the second row), and there are cute small niches on the centre console and in the doors that are just the right size to accommodate smartphones.

Price, rivalry, and closing remarks

The starting price for the 2023 BMW iX xDrive50 includes the necessary $995 destination fee. This version cost $101,075 when it arrived at my driveway, largely because of the premium leather upholstery that cost $3,500, the improved seats that cost $1,600, and the 22-inch wheels that cost $1,900. I also have the $7,700 Ultimate package, which combines practically all of the options still available, such as the Dynamic Handling improvements, Iconic Sounds, the interior glass and wood trim, the full suite of driver assistance features for the iX, and more, into a single line item.

The BMW iX is more upscale than the majority of its electric SUV rivals at that price point. Compared to an Audi E-Tron SUV and Sportback, the BMW is much more costly but also more powerful and has a nearly 100-mile longer range. Additionally, the iX falls halfway between the Tesla Models X and Y.

If the all-new iX is evaluated only on the basis of the driving experience, range, and handling, it will be a stunning addition to BMW’s electric car lineup. But after that, BMW made so many odd tiny design choices—from the controls on the steering wheel to the odd door openers, the confusing menus, and, yes, my aesthetic quibbles—that it didn’t quite land as one of my favourites in this class.

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