The Bavarian firm has unveiled the evolution of the prototype iNext as a production version, giving the stigma of "a new era", the curtain of which will open the present luxury electric SUV that is expected to start its commercial course in about a year from today.
More important than the imposing presence of the Bavarian SUV in this case is what is not seen, as the iX, apart from the production version of the original iNext, is the first BMW model that has as a starting point a variable architecture designed from the beginning with electric drive and will in the future be the basis for a variety of models in the BMW range.
Apart from the new architecture, the iNext has more powerful processors, the most powerful ever installed by BMW in a production model, as well as a 5G network, elements that… by law, will provide it with expanded semi-autonomous driving possibilities except of course in terms of applications and accessibility.
More specifically, in terms of the drive unit, it consists of two electric motors, -one for each axle- which are powered by lithium ion batteries with an efficiency of 100 kWh. Electric motors are recommended as the fifth generation eDrive which simply means that they take up less space providing more power than for example the i3. In absolute terms, the two engines provide 500 horsepower and four-wheel drive, making it possible to accelerate the iX from 0-100 km / h in less than five seconds.
New generation are the 100 KWh batteries which are placed under the floor for the benefit of the device, and promise a range of 600 km and the possibility of ultra-fast charging 200 KW which means that they can replenish 80% of their energy in about 40 minutes. Of course there will be the possibility of charging through a home Wallbox 11 kW which promises a full recharge in 11 hours.
In terms of the new architecture, it is an aluminum spatial network with a carbon fiber core which has evolved according to the requirements of electric propulsion and autonomous driving. It is for this reason that BMW has installed in the iX processors 20 times more powerful than anything it has built in the past, in order to ensure that the electric SUV will be able to efficiently process the abundance of data resulting from the surveillance instruments, the plethora of cameras and the sensors it is equipped with.
BMW has not yet released details on the dimensions of the iX, revealing only the wheelbase which amounts to 3,0 meters specifying an extremely spacious interior. According to the official recommendations, the iX will be analogous to the X5 in terms of length and width, while in terms of height it will be equivalent to the X6.
In terms of details, in addition to the characteristic large kidneys that adorn the front part obeying the latest design developments in the Bavarian firm and hosting the radars that are part of the semi-autonomous driving system, it is worth noting that the grille and the front part have a special polyurethane coating that promises to "absorb" minor damage.
Unlike the kidneys, the LED luminaires are the smallest that BMW has ever installed in a production model, while the characteristic handles are the first. The aerodynamic factor plays an important role in the overall aesthetics, which according to the recommendations has contributed to the increase of the autonomy of the iX by 65 km.
The iX has an electro-colored roof which can automatically adjust its light transmittance, depending on the lighting conditions. Given that the Bavarian SUV was originally designed as an electric vehicle, it does not have a transmission tunnel, an element that in combination with the 3,0-meter wheelbase promises unprecedented comfort to both the rear and front seat occupants.
Deliberately, however, for reasons of keeping the weight low, BMW has followed a simple logic in terms of interior design, which in terms of design obeys a minimalist trend, as evidenced by the design of the air vents of the speakers and the head-up. displays that are a continuation of the layout rather than stand out.
Of course, the necessary digital consciousness is not missing, which in this case translates into two curved screens. The first with a diagonal of 14,9 inches houses the indications of the instrument panel and the second the functions of the entertainment and information system which incorporates the new generation of BMW operating system.
This promises improved voice commands and nods as well as a new more user-friendly interface. The image of the interior is complemented by the hexagonal steering wheel and a crystal small gear selector, both of which are a first for a BMW production model.
According to what has been announced, the iX is still in progress, which however will be completed soon with the prospect of its production starting in the second half of 2021.