The iX’s many innovations include BMW’s fifth-gen eDrive power units, these combining motor, transmission and control unit into a single casing. The motor itself also scores green points by swapping the rare earth materials used in conventional magnets for a rotor using an ‘electrically excited’ combination of copper and iron. According to BMW benefits also include increased power, control and efficiency. With a power unit on each axle the iX is, effectively, all-wheel-drive, the xDrive40 deploying a combined 326PS (240kW) and 630Nm (466lb ft) while the 523PS (385kW) xDrive50 we drove has a total of 765Nm (566lb ft). A 619PS (455kW) M60 version will follow in due course.
The 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds puts the xDrive50 version on a par with the Audi E-Tron S and leaves the Mercedes-Benz EQC trailing, while the 380-mile range beats both by well over 100 miles. It’s taken a while but with the arrival of the iX (and cars like the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-Tron GT and Mercedes EQS) Elon finally has something to worry about, given the German premium brands can now match Tesla-rivalling range and performance with proven ability to bolt panels on straight.
On the road the iX makes the most of its 2.5-tonne mass by pounding any bumps or undulations into submission by sheer brute force alone. Our test models had the optional air suspension, which can alternate between wafting and more sportlich settings according to your mood and even the optional variable rack steering feels predictable and precise, suggesting BMW hasn’t entirely forgotten its Ultimate Driving Machine roots. The iX is simply too big and heavy to fling around, though, and the fleetness of foot that characterised the i3 and i8 is notable by its absence. Subtlety is therefore replaced by brute force, characterised by fierce acceleration in the sportier modes, be that from a standstill or in the childish, TDI-blasting squirts from 80mph to the 120mph limiter we enjoyed on the Autobahn. Having indulged such childish impulses the impressively low drag did wonders for the efficiency as well, the iX happy to coast without draining any power and no doubt contributing to the 500 miles or so it reckoned we’d have covered on our full charge driving as we did.