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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

The iX’s cut-glass-finish drive selector lever is certainly attractive, but it is somewhat small and fiddly, and isn’t easy to find without taking your eyes off the road. It doesn’t inspire much of a sense of tactile connection with the car, and while other EV makers offer column- mounted paddles with which to vary electric motor regeneration settings, BMW continues to decline to do so.

There’s little manual interaction on offer with this electric powertrain, then (although you can adjust the car’s regen settings through the touchscreen system). Predictably, though, it isn’t short on oomph. Since we referenced the diesel Bentayga earlier, let’s continue the comparison to gauge 2022’s idea of a forward- looking luxury SUV against 2017’s equivalent. The iX gets away from rest very smoothly, without uncouthness or wasted energy, and very briskly indeed for something so big. Under full power, it’s past 60mph in 4.4sec and 100mph in 10.0sec, covering the 30-70mph roll-on benchmark in just 3.4sec. The triple-turbo Bentayga (with 100lb ft more torque on tap) needed more than a second longer in the first instance, over 2.5sec longer in the second and 4.6sec in the third.

The iX is high, wide and (some cynics say) not so handsome but corners with grace and gusto. Its rolling refinement, despite those 22in alloys, is even more impressive

For the record, Audi’s E-tron S Quattro (torquier still than even the Bentley on paper, remember, thanks to its three-motor layout) is also slower than the BMW on two of those three benchmarks. Why should that be? Well, it has been tempting to think of all electric cars – and motors – in homogeneous performance terms, but the iX calls for a rethink. Its electrically excited motors not only create really potent roll-on pedal response and outright acceleration but also seem to have greater stamina than permanent magnet equivalents, continuing to make big torque at motorway speeds and beyond.

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What that translates to on a luxury car in most real-world driving, however, is simply ultra-fine control of momentum and prevailing speed. The iX may be capable of eye-widening pace, but it’s a car you will rarely, if ever, drive to its full potential. It’s the almost instantaneous way it can respond to your intentions on part-throttle, noiselessly if you like and without any trace of effort, that really impresses.

If the car’s drivability could be improved, perhaps it would be by making those regeneration settings we touched on previously easier to adjust. BMW’s Adaptive regen mode, like so many, sometimes catches you out by blending up retardation unexpectedly in close-quartered traffic, when it detects a car changing lanes ahead or as it is approaching a corner or junction. Predictability and consistency is all when it comes to luxury cars – and in one respect, the iX’s could be improved just a little.