BMW has joined the battery electric vehicle range with a vengeance with the arrival of the i4 and iX dispelling the funky weirdness of the i3, a vehicle that didn’t seem like a serious competitor to anything. These new vehicles are far different, possessing a seriousness of design, engineering and manufacture that makes them serious competitors for EV buyers.
If anything can be said of the 2022 BMW iX xDrive 50, it’s that it represents BMW’s state of the are vehicle manufacturing. It arrives in a package that does its best to eliminate compromises, with more than 300 miles of range, cutting edge style, state of the art connectivity and enough performance to endear it to fans of the ultimate driving machine.
There’s an oversized extravagance to the BMW iX that’s overwhelming on first acquaintance. But upon further consideration, you’ll find it’s a bit of a grab bag. The elephant in the room, the gargantuan faux grille covered in plastic, is modern, if divisive in appearance.
But its cutting-edge look makes it distinctive, something that can’t be said of the mundane side view, with its unremarkable daylight opening and blacked-out C-pillar, a hackneyed and common styling gimmick that seems out of place on a luxury vehicle. Yet the elegantly thin tail lamps speak of an elegance and eloquence lacking elsewhere in the vehicle.
To offset the weight of the vehicle’s battery pack, the BMW iX’s bodyshell employs a mix of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, high-performance thermoplastics, high-strength steel, and aluminum.
BMW offers the iX with a choice of 20-, 21- and 22-inch wheels. But your choice of wheel will dictate your vehicles range, with the smallest tires yielding the most, and the midsize ones offering the least, according to the EPA. The 22s are a great choice, not only for their looks, but also for their range.
In contrast, the BMW iX’s cabin is sublimely designed, masterfully negotiating the balance between minimalism and indulgence. A curved glass panel that hovers above the dash shelf houses the digital instrument cluster screen and infotainment touchscreen, which can also be controlled by an iDrive controller surrounded by flush-mounted backlit buttons that are almost invisible.
The controller, as well as the toggle switch for the transmission, are faceted glass. A mix of wood trim and black plastic make for the perfect background accompaniment.
The cabin’s flat floor allows for unusually roomy accommodations. The seats are comfortably supportive, as you’d expect of a BMW, and the cabin proves blissfully quiet. However, the steering wheel isn’t a wheel, but an odd shape that isn’t an improvement over the device used to steer vehicles for more than a century.
And for those concerned about the environment, you’ll be happy to know that the floor covering and mats are made from synthetic yarn made from recycled nylon.
The rear cargo hold is generous, but there’s no front trunk.
The 2022 BMW iX is powered by two AC motors, one on each axle. They use no ethically questionable rare-earth permanent magnets, and produce 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. A 105.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack supplies the juice, providing an EPA-estimated 324 miles of range with each charge.
Recharging from 10-to-80% takes less than 40 minutes according to BMW. But the charger port is at the back of the vehicle, not unlike a fuel filler. This makes it difficult to access when using some public chargers.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2022 BMW iX. BMW’s suite of driver assistance safety systems provides everything you’d want, including blind spot detection, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, evasion assistant among many others. There’s even an available head-up display.
Given its modernist interior, you’d expect a great tech package, and you get it. The touchscreen is big enough that you can easily use several windows at once. The Bowers & Wilkens audio system provides stellar sound, revealing how truly awful Sirius XM’s sound quality truly is. Thankfully, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. Notably, If the car gets low on charge, it triggers Apple Maps to give you a charging station. How thoughtful.
The 2022 BMW iX more than meets luxury EV expectations thanks to an available adaptive air suspension, four-wheel drive, various driving modes and exquisite engineering.
Certainly, there’s the instant torque expected of an EV, and it provides an epic amount of forward momentum, especially in the Sport driving mode. But the throttle’s precision and the nicely weighted, if numb, steering make this a precision instrument of speed.
The throttle’s regenerative braking effort is adjustable, and once used to its most aggressive setting, the BMW iX is very easy to drive with one pedal. Throw in the front-rear torque vectoring and minimal, but noticeable, body lean, and you’ll find this to be a fun way to waste some wattage.
That said, you’ll find that BMW provides enough suppleness for off-road ventures and pavement irregularities to make this an easy bus to live with day-to-day. One last note: the mileage range readout was accurate, something not always true of EVs.
2022 BMW iX xDrive50 specifications
|Dimension||L: 195 inches/W: 77.4 inches/H: 66.8 inches/Wheelbase: 118.1 inches|
|Powertrain||Dual electric motors, one-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||86 MPGe city/85 MPGe highway/86 MPGe combined|
|Performance Specs||516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $83,200; As tested: $104,820 including $995 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
At $104,820 as tested, BMW’s first all-electric SUV doesn’t come cheaply. But you get what you pay for, and the BMW makes for an exceptional electric thrill ride, one that doesn’t have the disadvantages that once rendered EVs an unattractive choice. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But this segment of the market is quickly filling with worthy competition, and whether the BMW iX has enough moxie to overcome them remains to be seen. Still, this is well worth a test drive if you’re looking for a vehicle in this market segment.
2022 BMW iX xDrive 50 — Frequently Asked Questions
Has the BMW iX been released?
The BMW iX appeared in dealer showrooms as an all-new vehicle in 2022. As a follow up, BMW is introducing a new, high-performance iX M60 for 2023 with more than 600 horsepower.
Can the BMW iX drive itself?
No. The BMW iX does not feature any autonomous or semi-autonomous driving systems.
How much is the 2022 BMW iX?
The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 starts at $83,200, plus a $995 destination charge before options, takes and title.