- We tested BMW’s first electric SUV for the US, the $83,200 iX. Our tester came out at $96,000.
- The iX looks weird, but its comfortable and luxurious interior makes you forget everything.
- The iX arrived at dealerships earlier this year.
Say what you want about the look of the 2022 BMW iX. Say it has buck teeth or gaping nostrils. Call him a squint-eyed robot beaver from the future.
These are all fair points. Either way, BMW’s new electric SUV is great.
Since the $83,200 model was unveiled in late 2020 as BMW’s first electric SUV for the US market, much of the conversation has centered around its looks, focusing on the giant, polarizing grille that dominates its front end.
I’m here to say that after riding the iX for a few days I let go of all notions I had about whether it looked good or bad and saw it for what it was. it is: an incredibly fast and surprisingly luxurious electric SUV that makes a statement wherever it goes.
The iX may not be attractive in the traditional sense, but that’s a matter of opinion. What is certain is that he has a presence. It’s dramatic, bold and screams loud, “I’m a BMW, I’m expensive and I’m here!”
As for price, the iX xDrive50 that BMW loaned us came in at around $96,000, including a Sporty Appearance Package, upgraded interior and destination charge.
For what it’s worth, I actually think there’s a lot to like about the styling of the iX. I loved the gold accents found on the side mirrors, the door cutout and the speckling of the grille panels. The door handles – small slits with a button inside – give off a clean, futuristic vibe. Headlights and taillights are slim and sleek.
And throw all the insults you want at that grille, because BMW claims it has a self-healing coating that repairs dents and scratches. Not really.
You’ll forget all about the iX’s controversial looks – and your other worries – once you’ve settled into the SUV’s beautifully crafted interior. Slip inside and you’ll be swaddled in plush, patterned seats, wrapped in soft leather and peacefully isolated from the world around you.
Everything feels incredibly well built and high quality to the touch. All of the buttons and switches, especially the large glass dial you can use to control the infotainment system, are sturdy and satisfying to use.
The digital gauge cluster and touchscreen are elegantly suspended above the dash on a single curved panel, and the latter responds quickly to swipes and taps. The center console doesn’t connect to the dash, eliminating the piece that normally sinks into the knee and making the cabin feel more open.
The rear seat is plush, with separate climate controls and plenty of legroom thanks to a totally flat floor, a virtue of EVs because they don’t need a bump for bulky drivetrain components. If you’re looking for cargo space, the iX has more than BMW’s gas-powered X5, despite being about the same size overall.
There are many other nice touches, but I will name just a few. The Premium Package adds a massaging driver’s seat. The iX’s glass roof changes from clear to frosted at the touch of a button. There’s a thoughtful slot at the end of the center console that’s meant to prop up a smartphone – no more losing it between seats.
The comfort doesn’t stop once you move. The iX glides silently over the road and soaks up bumps effortlessly. The only thing you hear is the faint sound of tires hitting the pavement. (And futuristic driving noises, composed by Hans Zimmer, which people seem to like, but I found them distracting and turned them off.)
Don’t confuse the iX’s smooth mannerisms with an utterly boring driving experience; the nearly 6,000 pound SUV hauls a fat ass when you want it.
Push the throttle a little too hard and the all-wheel-drive iX shoves you back into your seat and explodes forward with all the power its 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque can afford. BMW claims 60 mph comes in just over four seconds.
And the iX offers great range for long highway trips: a maximum of 324 miles per charge or 305 miles with the optional 21-inch wheels that came with my tester, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Remember that this number will drop rapidly the more you press the accelerator. And you will be tempted.
Of course, the BMW iX’s arguably ugly mug isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And it’s flawed in other ways. If it was my choice, I would swap the hex flywheel for a regular circular flywheel. And the lack of a front trunk is kind of a disappointment in such a big vehicle.
But none of that takes much away from the gorgeous iX. If you happen to have $80,000 or $100,000 to burn, I can’t recommend it highly enough.