A Different Kind of BMW
BMW iX xDrive 50 (2022)
por Juan Robbin - Aug 8, 2022
The all-new iX is incredibly different in
many ways and it is clearly signaling a new direction for BMW.
The look and feel are unique and yes, for
a lot of BMW purists, this is not what they like but its ok, the world
is moving forward and so is BMW. The design is polarizing, some really
like it while others donít really care for it. Regardless of what you
think of it, it creates an emotional reaction which at the end of the
day, is usually a good thing. The front grill is large, no, make that
huge and striking. Some really dislike this new, oversized look while
others, typically a younger demographic, like it. I donít care for it,
but I also realize that if I owed this as my daily driver, I would get
used to the look quickly and it would be a moot point from then on. The
side profile does show its X lineage, especially with its signature
Hofmeister kink located on the third window. This BMW design feature is
the kink on the rear-most window edge of almost every BMW designed since
the late 50ís and named for the legendary head of BMW design from 1955
to 1970, Wilhelm Hofmeister. An additional item to note are the
frameless doors, this is a bit of an oddity, as these tend to be used
more in a coupe or a sports car, still cool though. As the iX is fully
electric, there are no exhaust tips, thus making the back end look clean
and sleek. The taillights are thin and elegant, giving the iX a
luxurious and modern look to it from the rear.
Inside, you are greeted
with a technology driven cockpit with the prominent placement of the
large screen that flows from the dash to the center infotainment area.
This looks modern and clean, better than previous designs that made the
placement of the screen look as if it was an afterthought. The controls
and switchgear are all BMW, offering the delightful feel of the heft and
detent quality of each button and knob that is legendary to this German
brand. We liked the walnut finish and the jewel-like rotary knobs on the
center control console that manages the volume as well as the iDrive
system. These elegant crystal-like controls are also used for the seat
adjustment buttons. I have always been a fan of the Mercedes Benz
interiors, I found them to be luxurious and elegant, while the BMW
interiors are nice, but felt a bit cold and spartan.
The iX interior seems to
have eliminated this gap, as I clearly felt being surrounded with a
luxury feel throughout the cabin. Bravo BMW! The seats are excellent,
with easy adjustments and even though Iíve heard from other journalists
that they felt that the seat bottom felt flat and hard, I found it to be
comfortable for my size and frame. I liked the floating center console,
giving extra space as well as an under-console storage nook between the
driver and front seat passenger.
The infotainment is the
latest generation of the BMW iDrive, so for those that have interacted
with this system in the past, it will be an easy learning experience.
Headroom is ample, and seating in the second row is comfortable and easy
to enter and exit. There is a flat floor that makes for a roomy center
seat if you happen to be three in the back. Rear cargo area is well
appointed and generous in size. Second row seats do fold down thus
making those Home Depot runs a breeze.
The iX is all about
technology, and sometimes this technology can be a bit overzealous. For
example, every time I got near the car it would wake up or lock itself.
A bit too eager, if you ask me. The architecture is pure high tech,
using carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in several areas such as
around the doors as well as the rear hatch. Itís exposed and looks
pretty cool to boot.
I enjoy driving electric
vehicles, as there is that wonderful rush of instant torque which gives
a reassuring feeling of security when you need to make a dash to the
left or right in traffic. The throttle, or in this case, the accelerator
pedal, sometimes can be a bit finicky regarding smoothness, but on the
iX, it is superb. I was able to do extra slow crawls without any jumps
or jerks from the drivetrain. Brakes on
electric cars can give a
sense of being disconnected or even act as if it is an on/off switch.
Other times, you get a hint of brake action followed by a whole lot of
braking, so being smooth can be a bit of a chore. On the iX, the brakes
feel direct and linear, making smooth stops easy every time. Nice job
You can adjust the amount
of regenerative braking that the car can gives back when you come off
the accelerator pedal, personally, I like to coast and manage my own
regen, but others may like the single pedal driving feature, so this is
a nice way to be able to individualize the system based on personal
preferences. What I liked the most was the power. The iX is simply an
explosion that is almost mpossible to explain. I had my sister on board
and asked her, are you ready? She said yes and the catapult sensation of
forward acceleration was simply breathtaking, of course, she yelled at
me for driving too fast. I must warn you, this is addicting, and it also
will reduce the range if you do it repeatedly. Other than the
straight-line performance, the iX reminds me more of a luxury vehicle.
Itís heavy, (5,700 lbs) and not as crisp in the handling as the brandís
sedans or SAVís but still does a nice job being an all-around vehicle.
The oddly shaped steering wheel seems to be mimicking the dash
instrumentation, odd but easy to get used to.
BMW and all the car manufacturers are
changing, this is a new era and BMW knows it needs to stand out from the
rest. They have done that with the iX xDrive 50.
The verdict? Two thumbs up from me.