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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

The full-size, all-electric luxury SUV has been ‘a thing’ since Tesla introduced the Model X in 2015, but so far very few examples have been as boldly constructed, or as generously endowed, as the BMW iX.

The car’s structural basis is a new specialised EV platform that will go on to be shared by other top- level BMW Group cars. It consists of an aluminium spaceframe-style construction with various panelling in weight-saving carbonfibre- reinforced plastic, some of which is revealed when the frameless doors and wraparound bootlid are opened.

BMW uses the term spaceframe here to refer to a lightweight underbody structure made mostly of joined aluminium extrusions rather than of conventional stampings or castings. It’s not intimating that the iX has a tubular construction like some giant-sized racing prototype, which is how you might be used to the term being applied. In the same way, the 2003 Rolls-Royce Phantom was described as a spaceframe car, as was the 1999 BMW Z8.

In the iX’s case, the construction style delivers something that’s lighter and stiffer than it might otherwise be – but, for obvious reasons, it’s still anything but light. The car measures just under five metres in length and 1.7 metres in height. Entry-level xDrive40 examples have an underfloor lithium ion drive battery of 77kWh of total capacity; higher- end xDrive50 and M60 derivatives have some 111kWh of installed capacity – and all examples of the car offer twin-motor, four-wheel drive via BMW’s electrically excited hybrid synchronous electric motors.

At its very lightest, then, the iX is a 2365kg car. Our xDrive50 M Sport test car tipped the Millbrook scales at 2593kg, 83kg heavier than BMW’s claim for it, with most of the ballast most likely added by its UK-market standard-fit air suspension and active four-wheel steering systems. That makes it just over 50kg lighter than the now-discontinued diesel-powered Bentley Bentayga we road tested in 2017, yet clearly you still would not want it rolling over your foot.

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Whatever it is that you happen to want from your £100,000 luxury electric car in 2022 – be it supercar- level power (the iX M60 makes 610bhp and is claimed to hit 62mph in 3.8sec), any-weather four-wheel drive, SUV-typical space and versatility, or transformative range (up to 391 miles is claimed for the xDrive50 on the WLTP test cycle) – the iX is looking to cater for you.

That is, unless what you want most is elegant, understated design appeal. This car’s controversial styling has attracted plenty of comment on these pages over recent months, and it isn’t really the job of a road test to involve itself with subjective interpretations. If you find this car lacking in desirability at a fairly fundamental  level, though, you will already know that you’re not on your own.