A vision is turning into reality, as the BMW Vision iNEXT becomes the BMW iX. With a year still to go before its market launch at the end of 2021, the BMW Group is providing a first look ahead to the future BMW iX, which is currently still in the series development phase. The BMW iX is the first model based on a new, modular, scalable future toolkit developed by the BMW Group and focused on a fresh interpretation of design, sustainability, driving pleasure, versatility and luxury.
Conceived from the outset for purely electric mobility, the iX sees BMW redefining the successful Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) concept. With its completely newly developed, precise and minimalist design, the BMW iX is the first representative of a trailblazing generation of cars 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 which puts people more than ever at its heart. To this end, 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 those on board innovative options for using the time during a journey – and enjoying relaxation, safety, security, and a new form of luxury in the process.
The 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. In so doing, it comprehensively embodies the character of the BMW i brand, whose mission is to transform personal mobility. BMW i plays a central role at the 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. That is a central element of our corporate strategy,” says Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “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. 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 car 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 370 kW/500 hp. That will be enough to power the BMW iX from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 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 21 kWh per 100 kilometres (62 miles) in the WLTP test cycle. A gross energy content of more than 100 kWh should enable the latest-generation high-voltage battery to record a range of over 600 kilometres in the WLTP cycle. That equates to more than 300 miles according to the EPA’s FTP-75 test procedure. (All figures relating to performance, energy consumption and range are predicted values based on the car’s current stage of development.)
DC fast charging: over 120 kilometres (75 miles) of extra range in ten minutes
The new charging technology of the BMW iX enables DC fast charging at up to 200 kW. In this way, the battery can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in under 40 minutes. Added to which, within ten minutes enough energy can be fed into the battery to increase the car’s range by more than 120 kilometres (75 miles). It takes less than eleven hours to charge the high-voltage battery from 0 to 100 per cent at 11 kW from a Wallbox.
The batteries fitted in 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 as a whole 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. 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,” says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.
Fresh design for a new driving experience
The BMW iX is leading the way for a future generation of cars with which the company is redefining sustainability, driving pleasure and what it means to be premium. This trailblazing character is clearly expressed in the car’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.
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.
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 likewise 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. The car is technologically highly complex, but it feels very clear and uncomplicated,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “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. Together with the superb aerodynamics, the intelligent material mix helps to endow the iX with remarkably composed, relaxed driving characteristics combined 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 car, 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 outstanding aerodynamics for its class, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.25.