The BMW iX was anticipated for a lot of reasons. Some of this was around it being BMW’s first SUV built as an EV from the ground up.
Will it deliver? Can we live with the look of it? DriveLife drove the car for over 1,000Km to test it out fully.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40
|What we like||What we don’t like|
|Lack of wind or road noise|
Panorama Glass Roof Sky Lounge (optional)
Adaptive brake regeneration
Adaptive distance for cruise control
Performance for a base model
|Glass Craft Elements not optional|
Seat massaging limitations
Route-based adaptive cruise flaky
What’s In The 2022 BMW iX Range?
Currently, there are two models to pick from in New Zealand:
- iX xDrive40 ($163,900)
- iX xDrive50 ($197,900
Both are dual-motor, with one at each end of the car – so all-wheel-drive – but the xDrive40 manages 240kW of power output and a decent 630Nm of torque, the xDrive50 ups the ante to 385kW/765Nm.
In the future, we’ll see the iX M60 with 440kW of power. That will be one to watch out for and absolutely competition for the Audi e-tron S Sportback that we recently tested.
Energy economy varies with each model, with the xDrive40 rated at 24.5kWh/100Km, the xDrive50 at 26.6, and the M60 (when it gets here) at 21.6.
The iX xDrive40 has 77kWh of battery capacity (71kWh usable) with WLTP rating up to 425Km, while the xDrive50 has a larger 112kWh bank, with 105kWh of that usable. The xDriveM50 will get to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, and has a WLTP range of up to 630Km.
When using a fast/supercharger, the xDrive40 can take up to 150kW of charge, while the xDrive50 is rated at up to 200kW. The xDrive50 also has adaptive air suspension, rear-wheel steering, BMW Laserlights as standard, as well as the panorama Glass Sky Lounge roof.
The body styles are identical, so it’s a medium-large, 5-door SUV.
As you’d expect, equipment levels are high.
2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Standard Equipment Highlights
- Driving Assistant Professional
- Sports Package
- Interior Design ‘Suite’ – Olive Leaf Tanned Leather
- LED Headlights
- Metallic Paintwork
- Multifunctional Seats, front incl. massage function
- Parking Assistant Plus
- Storage for Wireless Charging
- 22” Aerodynamic Alloys, non-Runflat, incl. repair kit
- Ambient Lighting
- 4 Zone Air Conditioning
- Charging Cable – Mode 2 for domestic sockets
- Charging Cable – Mode 3 for public chargers
- DAB+ Digital Radio
- LED headlights
- High-Beam Assistant
- Exterior handle area lighting and interior welcome lights
- Interior and driver’s side exterior mirror with automatic anti-dazzle function.
- Exterior mirrors electrically adjustable and heated, with electric fold-in function and passenger side with automatic parking dipping function
- Rain sensor
- Follow-me function, if the headlight flasher is activated after the vehicle is shut off, the low-beam headlights continue to shine for a set time
- Exterior design and equipment
- Radiator grille graphic in chrome
- Air curtain in the front apron
- 22” light alloy wheels, aerodynamic 1020 Bicolour 3D polished buff
- Shadow Line, front bumper and rear diffuser inserts in high-gloss black
- Radiator grille graphic in chrome
- Integrated door handles
- BMW Head-Up Display
- BMW Live Cockpit Professional, 12.3” curved digital instrument display
- Driving Assistant Professional, includes Active Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Prevention, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Change Warning, Lane Change Assistant, Lane Departure Warning, Front Collision Warning with brake intervention, Pedestrian Warning with city brake intervention, Crossing Traffic Warning, front and rear with brake intervention, Rear Collision Prevention, Automatic Speed Limit Assist, Evasion Assistant, Speed Limit Info
- Parking Assistant, includes Rear View Camera, Parking Assistant, Reversing Assistant, Active Park Distance Control, Lateral Parking Aid
- Speed limiter
- BMW Iconic Sounds Electric
- Interior Design ‘Suite’ upholstery, olive-tanned natural leather
- USB ports, 2xType C in front console, 2xType C behind front seat backrests
- Automatic climate control, 4-zone
- Multifunctional seat for driver, incl. memory function and lumbar support for driver
- Massage function, for driver: 3 programmes / 3 intensity levels / 3 speeds
- Seat heating, driver and passenger
- Floor mats, sustainably made from recycled fishing nets
- Auxiliary heating and air-conditioning
- Comfort Access, keyless entry to all doors incl. contactless tailgate operation and BMW Digital Key via NFC card
- Instrument panel in Sensatec
- Hexagonal steering wheel
- Headliner in anthracite
- Wireless smartphone integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Vehicles apps (News and Weather)
- BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant
- Remote Software Update
- Connected Package Professional incl. Remote Services, Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and Concierge Services
- ConnectedDrive eDrive Services
- Navigation and Infotainment via 14.9” Curved Control Display feat. BMW Operating System 8 and natural voice recognition and map updates
- DAB+ digital radio
- Storage for wireless smartphone charging
- Extended Bluetooth Connectivity
- Harman Kardon Surround Sound system, 18 speakers, 655 Watts
Our Review Vehicle’s Optional Equipment
- 22” Alloy Wheels – $1,100
- Interior Camera – $250
- BMW i Blue Seat Belts – $550
- Sun Protection Glazing – $1,200
- Interior Application Clear and Bold $2,000
- Heat Comfort Package – $2,100
- Towbar – $2,600
- Enhancement Package – $8,600
The Enhancement Package includes soft-close doors, BMW Laserlights, and a panorama glass roof Sky Lounge.
The Heat Comfort Package includes:
- Steering Wheel Heating
- Active Seat Ventilation, front seats
- Seat heating, front and rear
- Armrest heating, centre console
- Armrest heating, front and rear doors
- Heated instrument panel lower section, beneath the steering wheel and glove box lid
- Heated front and rear door panels, upper trim
Including $18,400 of optional equipment, our review car’s retail price is $182,300
There’s a good range of nine colours to choose from, most are no cost while others carry additional cost:
- Alpine White (NCO)
- Mineral White (NCO)
- Black Sapphire (NCO)
- Phytonic Blue (NCO)
- Sophisto Grey (NCO)
- Blue Ridge Mountain (NCO)
- Aventurine Red ($2,600)
- Storm Bay ($2,600)
- Oxide grey ($2,600)
There are also 4 colour options for your interior, all at no cost.
For a full list of specs and options available for the 2022 BMW iX, head to the BMW New Zealand website.
How Does The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Compare To Its Competition?
|Audi e-tron S Sportback||95||370/973||4.5||27.0*||378||615||$189,900|
|Tesla Model X Long Range D||95||375/660||3.9||20.8||560||1050||$182,990|
|Jaguar I-Pace HSE||90||470/696||4.8||22.0||470||557||$169,900|
|BMW iX xDrive40||77||240/630||6.1||24.5||425||500||$163,900|
|Mercedes-Benz EQC 400||80||300/760||5.1||21.4||353||500||$151,500|
First Impressions Of The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40
Well, it’s certainly imposing. The 2022 BMW iX looks similar to other BMW SUVs, and yet so different. BMW has managed to morph their standard design into the iX so the familiarity is there, but it’s much more of a stand-out design. It is also bigger than you’d expect; I was thinking the car would be around the size of an X3, but it’s definitely more X5-sized.
An example of the sharp design was when I was pulling into a car park, and saw a guy watching me closely. As I got out of the car, he threw me a “that is beautiful” comment. I’m not quite sure I’d call it beautiful (and I’m pretty sure he was talking about the car and not me), but it is certainly eye-catching, even if our test car was finished in a somewhat boring Sophisto Grey.
Side and rear on are where this car really shines. The flush door handles and frameless doors – a first for a BMW SUV – look very sexy, as do those (optional) 22” rims. The car comes with 22” alloy wheels as standard, but our test car was fitted with another design of 22” rim, at $1,100. I felt they were an exceptional design, as did others.
So, what about that front? Honestly, in the flesh, it’s not too bad. It very much reminded me of the BMW M440i that we tested. On viewing the initial photos of the 4 Series I was just about gagging, but on seeing it, it actually suits the car. I’m not sure I’d go so far as saying that big grille suits the iX, but it’s just fine. And while many would say it isn’t necessary to have a grille on an EV, it covers up much techo stuff behind it, like the car’s radar systems. It’s self-healing as well, so if it does get a scratch on it, theoretically it will self-heal over that scratch. You can also see some lines on the grille where there is a heating element, so if the front of the car gets covered in snow, the heating element will get rid of it to keep all the safety systems working correctly.
More sexy is waiting at the rear of the car. I love what BMW has done with the taillights, slimming them right down to a small slit. Very nice and certainly looks cool when you have the taillights on. The BMW badge on the bonnet and tailgate have a blue accent around the outside, to signify that it’s an electric BMW.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40?
There are few people who wouldn’t be impressed by the iX’s interior. Blue Alcantara is everywhere, and there are two huge displays plonked right up there on top of the dash. It’s all very eye-catching and reminds me of the Hyundai Ioniq 5. There are a lot of similarities here, especially with the dual-but joined screens sitting up proud on top of the dashboard.
Actually, just opening the door is a bit of a moment, as the car has a carbon tub design so when the door is open you can see the carbon in all its glory. It’s so very different, it really makes you look twice. The components for the side frames, rain channels, roof frame, cowl panel and rear window frame are built to become a “Carbon Cage”. It helps reduce the weight of the car while remaining extremely strong. You can also see the carbon clearly when you open the tailgate.
One of the design ethos BMW has created for the interior is called ‘BMW Shy Tech’. They say, “A hidden world of interaction and functionality is at your fingertips in the First-Ever BMW iX. Shy Tech features are subtle, yet highly engaging – like the sound system cloaked by acoustic fabric, radiant heat in the dash and door panels, and haptic controls concealed by open-pore wood trim.” They’ve mostly pulled this off except for the sound system cloaked by acoustic fabric. I know we’ve mentioned this before, the last time with the M50d, and it’s a shame that once again, right up there on the middle of the dash is a huge piece of cheap black plastic for the speaker. It’s the opposite of being hidden and really catches your gaze when you get in the car. With the Alcantara being so very blue, it stands out even more than if the dash was a simple black.
Last complaint about the interior from me would be the Glass Craft Elements for seat controls (located on the door), the seat memories, the volume knob, the iDrive controller and start/stop button. So instead of a nice alloy or even plastic, you get glass. I’m sorry BMW, they don’t feel good and they look pretty tacky. Just not for me. I see in the new i7 Glass Craft Elements has moved to go right across the dashboard and down the length of the door. If only it was an option instead – it used to be – so people could make their own decisions if they want it or not. For me, it’s a big fat no.
The rest of the interior is superb. You can absolutely tell that this car has been designed as an EV from the ground up. There’s no transmission tunnel, the floor is flat everywhere, and there is gallons of space for everyone. Legroom, headroom – plenty for all passengers, with generous amounts of space for three in the back seat. Like a Tesla and the Ioniq 5, the rear of the centre console is undercut, so the middle passenger can slip their feet further forward. This is a great design feature, taking away one of those pain points of being in the middle. Rear seat passengers get their own individual air-con controls, as the iX has 4-zone AC.
Right up on top of the dash, are two in-your-face displays, the centre one at 12.3” and the dashboard display at 14.9”. No attempts at any sort of integration there, the screens are bolted right on top of the dash, with even the screen mounts visible to passengers.
Our test car was fitted with blue seatbelts, a $550 option. Not sure I’d have these for my own iX, but they got commented on by passengers all the time. I guess the other eye-catching thing is the hexagonal steering wheel. It does look odd, but actually, it feels great and in normal use you barely notice that it isn’t round, or even close to it. Don’t let the steering wheel put you off driving this car.
Up front and centre there’s a dual-level thing going on, with a cellphone holder up top, with a hole under it to allow for a USB charging cable. Below that is a Qi wireless charging pad, along with 2 USB-C ports and a 12-volt socket.
The glovebox is pretty tiny, taking the owner’s manual and not a lot of space left over, perhaps just for a pair of BMW driving gloves.
Since our car came with the $8,000 Enhancement package, that meant it had the ‘Panorama Glass Roof Sky Lounge’. This is potentially the party trick or all party tricks since it’s electrochromatically operated. There’s no blind for the panoramic roof, instead, you press a button on the roof and the glass clouds over, effectively cutting out the sun. It’s an impressive piece of kit and is right up there in the running for our Best Gadget Of The Year award for 2022.
Getting out of the car, there are electric buttons to open the door, like a certain American EV already mentioned. Most passengers struggled with this but soon felt foolish once actually looking at the button. There’s also an emergency handle underneath the door’s armrest, in case you ever need it.
The boot has a high loading lip but is a good size at 500 litres with the seats up. There are buttons on the right side to release the rear seats, and another to extend the electric towbar out, which is a $2,600 option. There’s no spare under the floor, instead, you get a pump and some extra storage for your charging cables – but you could always call up the BMW Concierge to get some help if you had a flat.
What’s The 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Like To Drive?
I’d be covering 1,100Km in the iX, so should get to know this car very well. First impressions are that, even though it’s the ‘slow’ model with 240kW of power, it can really pick up and go with that 630Nm pushing the car along. That torque is available anytime, anywhere, and is more than enough for New Zealand roads and traffic, and midrange acceleration is excellent. I’m not sure that we need the iXM60 with its 440kW, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t mind it. EVs can be quite addictive in that way.
Initially, I was a bit put off that there were no paddles to adjust brake regeneration. Instead, you head into the menu system and change the amount of regen there. This seems too painful (it is painful) but then I read in the manual that the iX has adaptive regenerative braking; this means it takes into account your location and adjusts your regen to suit. Let’s say you’re approaching a roundabout; brake regen will be strong, washing off speed so you can one-pedal drive. On the open road and coming off the accelerator? Your regen will be less. It’s a brilliant system and actually works well in practice. After a few days, I didn’t miss or need to adjust my regen at all.
So while brake regen is adaptive, it is still dependent on the actual amount you have it set to. Tapping the shift button down to D twice will engage ‘B’ mode, meaning brake regen will be at the max level when used. I did this most of the time and rarely used the brake pedal. The other benefit of this is the lack of brake dust on the front rims.
As well as adaptive regen, the iX also has adaptive distance for its cruise control. So not only does it have adaptive cruise control (of course) but the distance between the iX and the car in front is set for you automatically as well. It takes into account your location (e.g. on the motorway) and your speed, and adjusts the distance between you and the car in front all by itself. It was a repeat of the brake regen for me here; initially, I wanted control, but after a few days of seeing just how well it worked, I felt comfortable with it and didn’t miss manual control at all.
And so to the adaptive cruise control on the iX. BMW has made it route-based, like we have seen on some Mercedes-Benz models, most recently the S Class 450. This means that the car will slow down for corners when using adaptive cruise, so it won’t rocket around tighter bends at the set speed, freaking some drivers out. The issue we’ve found with the Mercedes-Benz system is that it’s a bit too nanny-like, and slows down far too much for my liking.
I’ve mentioned in reviews of the Mercedes-Benz system that it would be great if we could have some adjustability here, to set the route-based adaptive cruise to our own personal preferences. Well, BMW has done just that, as you can set the route-based cruise control to slow/medium/fast. It sounds great, but unfortunately for me, it rarely worked. In fact, only once did the car actually slow down for any corner, even when the setting was on Slow. I think more work is needed here, or perhaps it was only our test car that was affected by this. It’s a great idea, and I hope we see it on more cars further down the cost chain.
Enough of the tech (for now) – how does the iX actually drive, and what’s it like to live with on a daily basis? One word: Excellent. Wind noise and road noise are incredibly well subdued, to the point of almost non-existence. Regardless of it being an EV, the iX allows for quiet conversations with ease, in any conditions.
Visibility out of the car is very good, with a huge front windscreen and lots of assistance systems to help keep you safe. The A and B pillars are pretty chonky though, so you’ll need all the assistance systems to guide you and alert you to possible hazards. While the iX is laden with such systems, happily they don’t intrude too much, as can happen in other cars. I think only once did it give me a ‘BRAKE NOW!’ warning that was unnecessary.
Easter weekend approached, as my wife and I left Wellington on Thursday to head to Haumoana, on the coast and not far from Hastings. We had a few things to do in Wellington before leaving town, so ended up with 308Km battery range, with a 317km drive to Haumoana. Obviously, we’d need to stop and charge somewhere.
I was reminded of a few things about the iX while on this trip; for one, the brake auto-hold system stays on when you get out of the car, and back in. It seems manufacturers are listening to us, and making changes. It’s so much safer to drive with brake auto-hold on, and I use it all the time. In fact, with brake auto-hold turned on and using route-based adaptive brake regen, you can cruise up to a red light or stop sign so easily with very little throttle control and then the car does a perfect coach-stop, then all four brakes lock on. In this respect, it’s the perfect city car.
While the iX is fitted with 22” rims as standard, the ride quality borders on outstanding. No doubt the car’s 2.4-ton weight helps things here, but with even those 22” rims the ride is extremely smooth. As is normal with Pirelli P Zero tyres, there is a reasonable amount of tyre noise when driving on coarse chip seal.
We got to the Remutaka Hill where the iX’s midrange punch helped us motor over the hill quickly, easily, and safely. As with other EVs, having that massive brake regen means you can simply come off the accelerator on approaching a bend and let the regen wash your speed off, then on the ‘gas’ again. The iX does have a small amount of body roll – it’s fairly tall, after all – but the grip from those wide Pirelli P Zero 275/45 tyres is excellent, and overall handling is quite neutral. This car can be hustled around the bends with ease.
The iX has a My Modes button, or basically a drive mode button with another name. You get three options here: Personal, Sport, and Efficient. Personal is really a ‘Normal’ drive mode, and the other two are obvious. Running in Efficient mode sees a small degradation in acceleration and a heavier accelerator pedal but honestly, there’s so much torque it doesn’t really matter. Switch to Sport mode will make the car sit up and take notice more, but again – there’s so much torque, I basically left the car in Personal mode 95% of the time and let it do its thing. There was never a lack of performance.
On getting to Dannevirke, we had 120Km of range left and a 130Km drive. Because I’m a guy, I wanted to have a go, but my more cautious wife won in the end, and we stopped there to charge up some. We took on 20kW of charge for $12.64 using the Chargenet charger, and that took the car from 33% to 61% in 29 minutes. We had to go to the supermarket anyway and enjoyed a walk around Dannevirke at the same time.
We got to Haumoana with 109Km range left, more than enough for trekking around Hastings and Havelock North. While parking in Hastings in a particularly tight spot, I didn’t use the car’s auto-parking feature. But on returning to the car, someone had parked behind us even closer. I used the auto-parking feature to get me out of that tight spot; it was good to know you can use it to exit a car park, even if you didn’t use it to get in. Auto-parking in or out will see the car doing everything; accelerator, brake and gear changes.
After our weekend away we hit the road home, stopping in Waipukurau at the Civic Theatre to charge. After plugging it in we went and got coffee, then went for a refreshing walk while getting the charge to get 50kW input. In 45 minutes this took our battery to 65% charge and 223Km range. With a 160Km drive to Masterton to visit someone and have lunch, that was plenty.
On arriving in Masterton, we had lunch and the car was charged to 80% before we had finished eating. Driving an EV is not hard.
The iX carries a massive heads-up display (HUD) as standard, and it’s very similar to other high-end BMWs we have driven. While Mercedes does a 3-panel HUD, BMW, chooses to go big, with (for example) maps shown right across the HUD, and it’s huge. It makes navigation a breeze, with streets named clearly right there on the windscreen. I love the BMW HUD if just for this.
Speaking of Satnav, BMW has their own version of the Augmented Reality system from Mercedes-Benz, and Audi has their own system too. This means that, when using SatNav, the centre screen will switch to a live view as you approach any sort of change of direction. Overlaid on top of that live view are arrows and other signs needed to navigate, and they dynamically move with the live view. It’s an amazing thing to see in action and engages your passengers more to assist with directions.
Those two screens – centre and dashboard – are extremely crisp, with zero lag anywhere. I’m not so sure about BMW’s updated iDrive system. The first negative, as mentioned, is the glass effects used for the iDrive controller, but the new iDrive system itself doesn’t seem an improvement on the ‘old’ system. It’s different, sure, but it’s not necessarily any better. Under the Menu button, there are a heap of different icons, and it often took me longer than it should to find the one I wanted.
Our test car had the optional ($250) interior camera, and one of those icons was for this. You can take interior shots of the Ix with your passengers making goofy smiles at the camera, and that’s pretty much it. Well, not quite. The interior camera also works with the Remote Theft Recorder to take images of who is inside the car in the event of theft.
The dashboard has 7 options for different content and three for layout. While the content options are quite usable, the layout ones just changed graphics around a bit, and didn’t really seem to be worthwhile.
The iX comes with a Digital Card option as well as a Digital Key. The Digital Card is a credit-card-sized key that can be programmed to allow you to unlock, lock, or start the car. Once set, you can leave the normal key at home and simply use the card key to operate the car. This seems great, and certainly the same as a Tesla, but possibly not as practical in use.
It’s not proximity-based so you need to hold the card up to a certain spot on the driver’s door handle to unlock the car, and the same place to lock it. Also, you can’t start the car unless you put the digital card on the wireless charging pad. Once started, you can move the car and put your phone on charge, but of course, if you stop the car while your wife pops into the shops, you need to put it back there again to start the car.
The Digital Key programmes your smartphone to do the same thing. You need both physical keys to set this up, so we couldn’t test it out.
While our test car had up-specced seats as part of the optional Heat Comfort Package, they are admittedly very impressive. As part of this package, you can set the seat, armrest and console heating, and even the steering to one of 4 levels. To have 4 levels of heating for the steering wheel seemed like overkill, but it wasn’t. The seats themselves are supremely comfortable with zero aches or pains even after hours behind the wheel.
The seat massaging option wasn’t so great. All this option does is use the lumbar adjust electric motors to ‘massage’ your back in one of three places up and down, and one of three levels of intensity. Mercedes-Benz has it all over BMW here with genuine and impressive seat massaging options.
A mention must be made of the awesome quality of the Harman/Kardon audio system. It is outstanding in all respects of clarity and frequency response across all ranges. Very impressive.
On checking a few video reviews and articles on the iX, all said that you can’t open the bonnet on the iX and it’s only for service people to get access to. To fill the washers on the iX, you push down on the BMW badge on the bonnet, and it opens to reveal the washer tank. But you can open the bonnet, and very easily – it’s in the manual. There are two wire pulls, one on each side of the car’s interior. Pull these, and the bonnet opens.
The energy economy for the iX was far better than I had expected. Over 1,100km the car used 20.2kWh/100Km. That’s quite a bit less than the 24.5kWh/100Km quoted by BMW, and is an excellent result. While BMW gives a WLTP range for the iX xDrive40 as 425Km, our real-world experience sees that as more around 350km. If you take the usable battery capacity of 71kWh and divide it by the 20.2kWh/100Km we got in real-world testing, that equates to 355Km if you drove the ix xDrive40 from full to flat.
2022 BMW iX xDrive40 Specifications
|Vehicle Type||Five-door, all-wheel-drive electric SUV|
|Price as Tested||$182,300|
|Engine||Dual electric motor|
|Spare Wheel||Pump only|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||2,440|
|Length x Width x Height|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,|
(seats up/seats down)
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 24.5|
Real-World Test – Combined – 20.2
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
|Range, kilometres||WLTP: 425|
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||5 Year Warranty|
3 Years Roadside Assist
3 Years Free Servicing
3 Years Connected Drive Services
Battery Warranty: 8 years/160,000Km
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – 5 stars – Link|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – NHG374
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Thanks to Elephant Hill for allowing us to take photos at their winery.