What is it?
This is what will ultimately be the middle-sitting of three available versions of the all-new, all-electric BMW iX: the firm’s new zero-emissions luxury flagship model, and receptacle for its most advanced platform, connectivity and semi-autonomous driving technology, as well as its very latest electric propulsion tech. We’ve already driven the iX abroad, but in the UK so far, only in entry-level BMW iX xDrive40 form.
Unlike other luxury EVs, the iX offers twin electric drive motors (the electrically excited kind, which don’t rely on heavy rare earth metals to serve as permanent magnets) whichever version you buy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several technical lures to tempt you to part with the extra £25k you’ll need to step up from a 40 to a 50.
There’s the usual power upgrade, which is quite a big one here (516bhp vs 322bhp). Then there’s the bigger drive battery (105kWh usable capacity vs 71kWh) and the associated improvement to usable range (the 50 is WLTP certified to put 120 miles more between charges than the 40). The 50 will also hit faster DC rapid-charging speeds (195kW vs 150kW).
For customers with the wherewithal to have either, you can’t imagine there’ll be much of a decision to make, but there is more to convince if needed. BMW fits multi-chamber air suspension and four-wheel, active-ratio steering to iX 50 models as standard, whereas 40s only get those systems as cost options. Have M Sport trim and you’ll get uprated brakes, too, which ought to come in handy when slowing what is a 2510kg car without anyone or anything aboard.
The ‘carbon cage’ construction of this car’s mixed-material chassis and its new-generation model platform may both be cutting-edge, but a five-metre SUV with twice as much on-board energy storage as the longest-range Nissan Leaf is always going to be hefty. This is a heavy car.