Preview: 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 promises 500 hp, 300-mile range, and starting price in $80,000 bracket

If you’re looking for a battery-electric SUV that will stand out but never quite warmed up to the Tesla Model X, BMW will soon have a credible alternative in the form of the 2022 iX.

Like the Tesla, the iX fits into the mid-size category and offers buyers a combination of performance, range and polarizing looks.

The iX made its debut last November and on Tuesday BMW revealed the first U.S. specs. The striking SUV arrives at dealerships in early 2022 as a 2022 model, and you’ll be able to pre-order one from June. Pricing hasn’t been finalized but BMW said to expect a mid-$80,000 starting point.

There will be the one grade at launch, an iX xDrive50 with with dual-motor all-wheel drive and a peak output of 500 hp, or enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in less than five seconds. The top speed will be capped at 124 mph. Each electric motor forms part of a modular drive unit that combines the motor, a single-speed transmission, and power control unit into a single housing. Up to two of these can be fitted on an axle so we could potentially be looking at a more powerful iX down the road.

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

The battery in the iX xDrive50 will have over 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity, or enough for 300 miles of range. When it comes to charging, high-speed charging at rates up to 200 kilowatts will enable the battery to be charged from 10-80% capacity in less than 40 minutes. And for people in a real hurry, just 10 minutes of charging is all that’s needed to add about 75 miles of range. Since development is ongoing some of these figures are subject to change, BMW said.

Brake energy regeneration can help to boost range, and the driver will be able to choose how severe the regeneration is. The most severe setting will enable one-pedal driving, as the regeneration will be enough to slow the vehicle to a complete stop. Adjusting this is via the iDrive interface which in the iX will be the new eighth-generation system.

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

2022 BMW iX xDrive50 (Euro spec)

The iDrive interface integrates most of the non-driving functions and can be controlled via a 14.9-inch infotainment screen or using natural-speak voice activation. There’s also the traditional iDrive controller found in the center console, though the other buttons you normally find here have been replaced by a control surface with active haptic inputs. Also located here is a rocker switch to replace the traditional gear lever. A digital key feature will allow drivers to use their smartphones in place of a key fob.

The iX is similar in size to the X5, though the two vehicles use separate platforms. The iX is based on a unique aluminum space-frame platform and has an inch of extra wheelbase over the X5. There are two rows of seats, and greeting the driver is a floating instrument cluster and a hexagonal steering wheel. The new shape is in preparation for the arrival of self-driving features. Knowing which way the wheels are pointing when retaking hold of the steering wheel once the iX exits self-driving mode will be crucial for maintaining vehicle control. BMW hasn’t said what level of self-driving capability the iX will have.

BMW iX production - Dingolfing

BMW iX production – Dingolfing

Production of the iX will be handled at BMW’s main plant in Dingolfing, Germany.

The iX isn’t the only electric BMW coming up shortly. We’ll also see an i4 sedan revealed this year and electric versions of the 3-Series and next-generation X1 and 7-Series should follow in 2022.


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