The electric BMW iX went on sale in South Africa recently, with the first units sold out shortly after release.
This luxurious electric vehicle (EV) has a starting price of R1,650,000 – which gets you the “entry-level” iX xDrive40.
There’s nothing entry-level about this car, though, as it offers the most cutting-edge features that the premium automaker has at its disposal.
Front and centre in the cabin, the new iX sports a redesigned Live Cockpit that has not been in any BMW before.
It offers a curved 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 14.9-inch infotainment display.
The dash, as well as the seats and armrest, are wrapped in Sensatec artificial leather, while gold bronze and crystal glass finishes give the cabin a high-end ambience.
This is further emphasised by the Sky Lounge roof that can turn from transparent to opaque to control cabin brightness, as well as four-zone climate control with additional aircon vents placed in the B pillars.
Soft-close doors and electrically-adjustable seats are fitted, too, as is ambient lighting with special animations.
Around the outside, you’ll find stylish 21-inch alloy wheels, heated and folding wing mirrors, and a kidney grille with a polyurethane coating that has “self-healing properties”.
Equally impressive are the many abilities of the iX, such as gesture control for the infotainment system.
This allows you to adjust things like volume and skip songs by hovering your hand close to the screen.
The automatic LED headlights need little intervention, too, as they autonomously adjust the brightness of the lights depending on the traffic situation.
Keyless entry and start and a contactless tailgate take it a step further, while Digital Key support removes the need to ever carry around a physical fob again.
Through the central screen, you also have access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, an intelligent personal assistant, and a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot if the integrated eSIM is activated.
While on the move, the IconicSounds package plays acoustic feedback through the 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system to enhance the driving experience, as no engine or exhaust notes are emitted.
Advanced driver assistance
Start driving the iX xDrive40 and you’ll notice it has many more tricks up its sleeve.
Through an array of exterior cameras and radars, it offers lane departure warning with active return guidance, active cruise control, front collision warning, rear collision prevention, rear cross-traffic warnings, speed limit assist, and entrance approach control with brake function.
It also comes with ABS with brake assist, all-round parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view monitor, and the Active Protection system that reduces damage in the case of an imminent collision by automatically closing windows, tightening seatbelts, unlocking doors, and applying brakes.
The parking and reversing assistant system, in conjunction with the lateral parking aid, is also standard and sees the iX guide itself into any parking spot without physical inputs from the driver.
Additionally, an interior camera is fitted for security as well as entertainment purposes, and its photos can be accessed on the My BMW app.
The main trump card of the new iX is its electric powertrain.
With a 76.7kWh battery powering an electric motor on each axle, the four-wheel-drive SUV generates 240kW and 630Nm.
This makes the iX xDrive40 one of the cheapest SUVs in the country to boast this substantial level of output.
While similarly-price internal combustion engine vehicles produce equal power, the torque of the electric iX beats almost everything in its price range.
As a result, this BMW sprints to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 200km/h.
Maximum driving range for the large battery is then rated at 425km, with a 150kW fast charger taking it from 10%-80% in 31 minutes.
On an 11kW wall box, the xDrive40 takes 7 hours and 15 minutes to charge from 0%-100%.
To increase the large SUVs agility, the iX also comes with adjustable air suspension and rear-wheel steering, as well as an electrically operated trailer hitch.
You might not want to tow anything with a fancy new electric BMW, but you’ll be glad to know that it supports a maximum towing capacity of 2,500kg, while also being able to carry up to 645kg in the boot.
The BMW iX xDrive40 has a South African price of R1,650,000.
Included in the price is a 5-year/100,000km BMW Motorplan and an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty.
BMW is currently advertising a launch offer on its website that includes 1-year complimentary comprehensive insurance and a complimentary wallbox charger.