It’s on its way – eventually. The second half of 2021 should see the much-antcipated BMW iX arrive in New Zealand. And yes, what were the designers thinking with that front end? Did they not consider a car might need a front number plate? The kicker on this is that the ‘grille’ is completely blanked off, so doesn’t actually serve any cooling purpose.

Here’s some information from BMW about the all-new model. The iX, which is inspired by the BMW Vision iNEXT, has been conceived from the outset for purely electric mobility and sees BMW redefine the brand’s successful Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) concept.

The BMW iX is the first representative of a generation of vehicles that BMW says is poised to redefine the driving experience, the feeling of space inside and the relationship between vehicles and those on board.

The BMW iX harnesses the latest innovations in the fields of electrification, automated driving and connectivity to deliver a mobility experience that puts people at its heart more than ever before.

Its design has been developed from the inside out. The BMW iX has been created to provide quality of life and wellbeing for drivers and passengers. The clear and minimalist design of its exterior showcases a new form of mobility geared squarely to the needs of the vehicle’s occupants.

Its interior offers occupants innovative options for using the time during a journey while enjoying relaxation, safety, security and a new form of luxury in the process.

BMW Group’s new technology flagship – courtesy of BMW i, the “workshop for the future”
The design and technology of the BMW iX form an overall package that lays the foundations for what is in many respects a new kind of driving experience.

It comprehensively embodies the character of the BMW i brand, whose mission is to transform personal mobility. BMW i plays a central role at BMW Group as a “workshop for the future” and driver of innovation across the company.

“The BMW Group is constantly striving to re-invent itself,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “That is a central element of our corporate strategy. The BMW iX expresses this approach in an extremely concentrated form.”

The BMW iX will go into production at BMW Plant Dingolfing from the second half of 2021 as the BMW Group’s new technology flagship and will launch in Australia later in the second half of 2021.

It brings together the company’s latest developments in the strategic innovation fields of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification and services. Added to which, the vehicle concept and design of the BMW iX are rooted in an all-embracing approach to sustainability.

This is reflected in areas of the vehicle such as its optimised aerodynamics, intelligent lightweight design and extensive use of natural and recycled materials, which help to create a cutting-edge sense of luxury and comprehensive feeling of wellbeing on board.

Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology delivers outstanding efficiency and long range

The fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology – which encompasses the two electric motors, the power electronics, the charging technology and the high-voltage battery – guarantees exceptional efficiency.

The power unit developed by the BMW Group has been manufactured sustainably without the use of critical raw materials known as rare earths and will, by the most recent calculations, develop maximum output of more than 370kW. That will be enough to power the BMW iX from 0 to 100km/h in less than 5.0 seconds.

At the same time, the vehicle’s clear aim is to post an exceptionally low combined electric power consumption figure for its segment of less than 21kWh per 100 kilometres in the WLTP test cycle. A gross energy content of more than 100kWh should enable the latest-generation high-voltage battery to record a range of more than 600 kilometres in the WLTP cycle (All figures relating to performance, energy consumption and range are predicted values based on the car’s current stage of development).

DC fast charging: more than 120 kilometres of extra range in 10 minutes

The new charging technology of the BMW iX enables DC fast charging at up to 200kW. In this way, the battery can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in less than 40 minutes. Added to which, within ten minutes enough energy can be fed into the battery to increase the vehicle’s range by more than 120 kilometres. It takes less than 11 hours to charge the high-voltage battery from 0 to 100 per cent at 11kW from a BMW i Wallbox.

Uh…

The batteries fitted to the BMW iX are designed as part of a long-term resource cycle and enable an exceptionally high recycling rate. The power used to produce the battery cells and the high-voltage battery come exclusively from renewable sources.

New technology toolkit underpins further advances towards automated driving

The new technology toolkit making its debut in the BMW iX also provides the platform for significant progress in the areas of automated driving and digital services. For example, the level of computing power has been developed to process 20 times the data volume of previous models. As a result, around double the amount of data from vehicle sensors can be processed than was previously possible.

“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

“The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system.”

Fresh design for a new driving experience

The BMW iX is leading the way for a future generation of vehicles with which the company is redefining sustainability, driving pleasure and what it means to be premium. This trailblazing character is clearly expressed in the new model’s design. It provides the basis for a new kind of driving experience in which familiarity, relaxation and self-determination are the dominant themes.

The exterior of the BMW iX represents a distinctive re-imagining of the powerful proportions of a large BMW SAV. The BMW iX is comparable with the BMW X5 in length and width and is almost the same height as the BMW X6 on account of its flowing roofline. The size of its wheels, meanwhile, brings to mind the BMW X7 flagship.

The minimalist use of character lines and generously shaped surfaces conjure an aura of supreme assurance. The crisp lines, clear structure and almost rectangular contours around the wheel arches contribute to an imposing body design. And the reduced design language steers the eye onto precisely constructed details which accentuate the sophisticated character, brand identity and optimised aerodynamics of the BMW iX.

Front end: expressive, vertical kidney grille serves as an intelligence panel

At the centre of the front end stands the prominent, vertically emphasised kidney grille. Since the electric drive system of the BMW iX requires only a small amount of cooling air, the kidney grille is completely blanked off. Its role has duly turned digital and here it functions as an intelligence panel. Camera technology, radar functions and other sensors are integrated seamlessly into the grille behind a transparent surface.

Developed and produced at the BMW Group’s LuTZ lightweight design and technology centre in Landshut, the kidney grille for the BMW iX presents a technologically lavish advertisement for intelligent mobility. The grille has reinvented itself as an innovative and multifunctional high-tech interface for the advanced driver assistance systems with which the BMW iX paves the way for automated driving.

The kidney grille has an additional protective polyurethane layer that reduces susceptibility to minor damage such as stone chips. Should it sustain minor scratches or chips, it can heal itself within 24 hours at room temperature or five minutes of exposure to hot air.

Clearly designed surfaces, discreetly integrated technology

The exterior design highlights of the BMW iX also include the slimmest headlight units ever to feature on a series-produced model from BMW, the flush-fitted door openers (operated at the press of a button), the frameless side windows, the tailgate – which has no separation joints and extends across the whole of the rear – and the extremely slim rear lights.

The BMW kidney grille is not the only example of how the principle of ‘Shy Tech’ has been integrated into the design of the BMW iX; an array of other cameras and sensors are likewise positioned discreetly, the door openers are flush, the filler neck for the windscreen washer fluid is concealed under the BMW logo on the bonnet and the rear-view camera has been integrated into the BMW logo on the tailgate.

The technology stays in the background and only becomes apparent as and when the relevant functions are called into action.

“The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotionally engaging design,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. 

“The car is technologically highly complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated.
The BMW iX offers a mobile living space in which people will feel at ease and the car’s intelligence is always available without becoming obtrusive.”

Interior design: people at centre stage

A high level of spaciousness, a mixture of high-quality materials, newly developed seats with integral head restraints and an exceptionally large panoramic glass roof immerse all five seats of the BMW iX cabin in a luxurious, lounge-like ambience.

The all-new architecture of the BMW iX cabin underpins a perfectly clear and straightforward functionality that revolves entirely around the needs and emotions of the driver and their fellow occupants.

The drive concept means there is no centre tunnel, adding to the open, airy feel while also allowing extra legroom in the front and rear, sufficient space for storage facilities, and a centre console crafted to look like a high-quality piece of furniture. The minimalistic design language and clearly structured surfaces shine an even brighter spotlight on the feeling of spaciousness inside the car.

The displays and controls are all stripped down to the essentials, further reinforcing the impression of an uncluttered cabin offering a place of relaxation.

The technology of the BMW iX is used intelligently and only becomes visible when it is needed. This makes it intuitive to use rather than seeming overly complex. The interior design conveys a sense of safety and familiarity and engenders a new type of bond between occupants and vehicle.

The Shy Tech approach for the interior can be seen in a number of features, including speakers integrated out of sight, intricately styled air vents, heated surfaces and the discreet recessing of the BMW Head-Up Display’s projector into the instrument panel so it is almost invisible. The hexagonally shaped steering wheel, a rocker switch for gear selection and the BMW Curved Display – which forms part of the next-generation BMW Operating System – clearly advertise the futuristic form of driving pleasure on offer.

Intelligent lightweight design and optimised aerodynamics increase range

The energy and range of the BMW iX benefit from innovative solutions in the areas of lightweight design and aerodynamics. Its body structure, featuring an aluminium spaceframe and innovative Carbon Cage, can claim extremely high torsional stiffness, which in turn enhances agility and maximises occupant protection, while minimising weight.

The intelligent material mix, with a variety of materials employed exactly where their specific properties can be utilised to best effect, is unique in this segment. Combined with superb aerodynamics, the intelligent material mix helps to endow the iX with remarkably composed, relaxed driving characteristics together with instant, precise response to every movement of the accelerator and turn of the steering wheel.

Fully capitalising on the benefits provided by the all-electric drive system and meticulously implementing proven measures from the past in the front end of the vehicle, the underbody section, the wheels and the rear end gives the BMW iX optimised aerodynamics which have a positive effect on both the performance and range of the purely electrically powered SAV.

The BMW iX boasts impressive aerodynamics for its class, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.25.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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