BMW Blog has provided another info dump on what we can expect from the production version of the BMW iNext electric crossover concept. The first, minor bit of info helps us get our terms straight: BMW Blog says the crossover’s retail name will be iX, not iX5 or i6. That’s interesting for two reasons, the first being that it breaks with the iX3 and the i4, the second that the BMW iX would be the first ultimate driving machine without a number in its name since the Isetta ended production in 1962. The substantive details claim that there will be three power outputs from three battery pack sizes, the entry level iX serving up 230 kilowatts, or 308 horsepower from a single motor. Automotive News believes output will come in around 335 hp. A battery around 63 kilowatt-hours would get the vehicle about 285 miles on a full charge, but it’s not clear if the range figure is WLTP or EPA.
A mid-level model with a rumored 92-kWh battery pack would get 523 hp. BMW Blog says the iX will offer all-wheel drive, but it’s not clear if this mid-tier trim would get all of its power from one motor or more. Last year, this model was predicted to get at least 350 miles on a charge. The top trim is said to fit a 120-kWh battery pack and at least two e-motors good for 610 horsepower. At the moment, the most powerful Audi E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC both make 402 horsepower, the Tesla Model X Performance makes something like 778 hp.
As the spear-point for BMW’s EV crossover range, the automaker plans to throw a lot of technology and design into the iX. The CLAR architecture will house BMW’s fifth-generation battery design, with cells provided by China’s CATL from the factory CATL is building in Germany. BMW promises Level 3 autonomy, which partly explains the polygonal steering wheel — the shape makes it easier for a driver to identify the 12 o’clock position. A little larger than an X5, based on seeing the two side-by-side in transport, the iX will offer wheels from 20 to 22 inches. Luxury options will come from the 5 Series chapbook, with potential add-ons like air suspension on both axles, soft-close doors and Bowers & Wilkins audio.
The iX could launch the production version of BMW’s Natural Interaction gesture control, a technology the carmaker first showed at the 2019 Mobile World Congress. The system uses a range of sensors tracking gestures and speech to enable conversational inquiries, such as a driver asking about a nearby restaurant by pointing at it while driving by.
We expect the production model to debut in the next few months. Production won’t start in BMW’s plant in Dingolfing, Germany until July 2021, with retail units reaching the U.S. in early 2022.