Round one: 2021 BMW iX prototype review Car News

Door handles do not require any physical mechanism to operate. A simple touch is enough to trigger the electronics. When you do, you quickly realize that this isn’t just a dressy X5. The thresholds are narrower and the ground is higher. Look closely and you will also notice that sections of the internal structure of the body are made of carbon fiber. They are not painted on the prototype, as they will be on the production version.

There will be two iX models from the start of deliveries in the UK in November, both fitted as standard with two electric motors and four-wheel drive: the iX 40xDrive and the iX 50xDrive in which we are here. An iX M60 developed by BMW M is also in the pipeline, although it won’t be ready to join the lineup until next year.

Interestingly, BMW is leveraging in-house engineering skills by sourcing electric motors produced at its own Munich-based manufacturing facility instead of going to suppliers like Nidec, Bosch or ZF.

We won’t be able to tell you how the iX rolls for a few weeks, but the opportunity to roll in the iX50xDrive prototype with the new SUV’s project manager, Johann Kistler, confirms that it delivers really strong acceleration with the kind of handling that you wouldn’t deserve from an SUV weighing over 2,500 kg and an exceptional level of refinement.

But in other areas, it also represents a radical departure from almost every other BMW model. It’s clear the moment you step into the cabin.

Indeed, there is an intriguing new feel inside. With its low dashboard and raised seats that provide better cushioning than other BMW models, you feel like you’re sitting rather than in the new BMW. Standard seats also lack the traditional side support available in traditional BMW models, giving them a distinctive lounge chair-style feel.

Even with the passenger seat lowered to its lowest setting, via Mercedes-Benz-style controls mounted high on the door trim rather than in the outer base of the seat like on other BMW models, you’re perched pretty high.

This is further emphasized by the rather tall greenhouse of the new model, which offers occupants exceptional visibility. There’s also a flat floor with no defined foot space, placing your feet much higher than in conventional combustion-engine SUVs, including the X5. A panoramic glass roof adds to the contemporary look of the cabin, flooding it with light when automatic electrochromatic shading allows.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-01 22:01:23

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