January 27, 2022

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Test: BMW iX xDrive40 – The future has its limits – Car tests – The car

Photo: Tomáš Andrejčák

BMW iX xDrive40 – 2021 test You have to get used to designing a new electric SUV. But he wanted to provoke from the start. It shocks with giant blind kidneys, extremely narrow reflectors and bronze decorations.

The first truly electrified BMW, i.e. the i3 and i8 models from 2013, was very brave. It seems BMW wanted to keep that tradition alive with the iX SUV, which shows more of the Munich brand’s future than all of the other BMWs combined. It’s radically different – futuristic, grandiose, provocative, paranoid and loaded with new technologies. A show of what they can do at BMW. He has to prove that even after a long blackout, Munich has the ability to attack the best. He did so relentlessly and without restricting the hands of tradition. It’s just a big change. And like any major change, this one is also polarizing.

It is intentionally provoked

The huge SUV, which is about five meters long and about two meters wide, has caused a real storm with its design. Even the creator of the first BMW X5 – Frank Stephenson – criticized him. He didn’t spare him much. Discussions began with the connection of vertical kidneys, circular openings of the septum above which there are heterogeneous gaps, as well as unusual proportions. The BMW iX looks a bit like a violent panorama of new design elements in the X5 format, including the frameless windows, but without them they all work with the typical “wau effect” we’re used to at BMW until recently. We’ll see, it might take time. The fact that the mask is the largest and the lights are closer does not necessarily mean success.

The iX is approximately five meters long.  But more... Photo: Tomáš Andrejčák

BMW iX xDrive40 – 2021 test The iX is approximately five meters long. However, he was shocked more than his two-meter width. Huge 22″ discs in “secret” format with high-profile tires.

BMW iX xDrive40 - 2021 test

BMW iX xDrive40 - 2021 test

It was similar to the BMW 5 Series and 7 at the turn of the millennium by genius Chris Bangl, which ultimately proved to be timeless and very successful. Anyway, we haven’t seen a car in a long time that would impress that much wherever you park it. Most of the feedback was positive. Live looks better than the pictures. The futuristic touch of the iX xDrive40 version is complemented by additional 22-inch dynamically-optimized discs, fitted with high-profile 235/60 tires, or Titanium Bronze, matched with Sophisto Gray Brilliant Dark Gray paint. They revived the fenders, the lower edge of the windows, or the visor.

The cabin features a ‘home’ environment

Even in the cabin, the iX is bold in design, but in this case everything works better. But before you get into it, you have to touch the recessed knobs of the inner button. It is fired electrically. It is similar in performance. The mechanical handle has been replaced with a button, but in the event of an emergency, the pull rod is still disguised in the door panels. And if we are at the door, then this SUV does not have fully covered sills, by the way, a vehicle, so in bad weather you can get your underwear dirty. But what pisses you off the most is the amazing space. The cabin is simply huge. This effect is mainly due to the maximum width and the flat floor.

Is it BMW?  Looking at the cabin, the breath is hidden .... Photo: Tomáš Andrejčák

BMW iX xDrive40 – 2021 test Is it BMW? Looking at the cabin, I held my breath. It is simple and reminds us of the world of home design. This corresponds to the generous width of space and the choice of special materials.

The atmosphere is radically different from all the BMWs you know. This is because the design is inspired by the world of furniture and not the world of cars. You will find examples at each step. The seats are like armchairs. It is far from organized, but it is large and very comfortable. The instrument panel, consisting of a block as if separated from the interior, is equipped with a curved screen consisting of two interconnected screens with a diagonal of 12.3 and 14.9 inches. To make matters worse, BMW’s curved screen hovers over a “deck” mounted on four legs, similar to modern smart TVs.

Glass and wooden surface controls create... Photo: Pravda, Martin Domic

BMW iX xDrive50 (2021) The glass controls and wooden surfaces create a very innovative atmosphere.

BMW iX xDrive40 - 2021 test

BMW iX xDrive40 - 2021 test

The material is also horrible. Our version, equipped with a Loft Stone Gray interior, uses wool-based faux suede with a white undertone, which covers not only the seats or door panels, but also the entire dashboard. Then there are the wood trims made from organic and sustainable wood, for example in the middle box. But the real crown is worn with an unusual combination of cut crystal. It is used to control the iDrive ring, “transmission” selector, drum volume control, or seat controls. Everything is in perfect harmony and looks very innovative, certainly not too eye-catching.

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Total change in the work environment

The work environment has also undergone a complete change. The classic design of items that have been engraved in Munich for decades is a thing of the past. BMW has radically reduced the number of drivers. The air-conditioning panel is gone, and the aforementioned seat controls have relocated to the door on the competing Mercedes-Benz model. Even the on-board computer button is no longer on the left lever. Most of the functions have moved to the eighth generation of the infotainment system. It has amazing graphics, accuracy and speed, but not everyone will like this solution. Simply put, it takes more commands than before, although you can choose touch, the circular controller, or the not-too-reliable gestures.

So like dashboard graphics with... Photo: Tomáš Andrejčák

BMW iX xDrive40 – 2021 test We don’t like diamond scale dashboard graphics. The data was not read correctly.

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The Bowers & Wilkins audio system’s glass volume control is slippery, and if you push it too hard, you’ll inadvertently turn off the sound. Illuminated pictograms directly into the flat planks without haptic guidance are also not intuitive. Forget the traditional round steering wheel. This is a hexagon and double-armed. We didn’t understand its benefits, but it doesn’t look bad. It supports a comprehensive futuristic iX image. We have more reservations about the dashboard, as BMW has turned its attention back to the analog graphics of traditional “alarm clocks”. The speedometers and force gauges on the sides have a diamond shape, similar to the French DS models. It is difficult to read and has a small scope and therefore has little informational value.

There's also plenty of room in the back.  And also... Photo: Pravda, Martin Domic

BMW iX xDrive50 (2021) There’s also plenty of room in the back. And individually adjustable temperature conditioning for each passenger.

It is incomprehensible why BMW does not give customers a choice in this regard. The screen can still display anything. It’s true that the mediocre metrics made room for additional information, such as a navigation map, but if it shows up here, there’s more “clutter” on the screen. A large display screen with most of the necessary data will be at hand. However, we must commend the view through the massive windshield, although the front pillars are certainly not “skinny”. And steering through the rearview mirrors is also excellent, and fortunately a classic. You won’t even complain about storage space. You can find it in the door, in the box under the armrest, under the center console and with the induction charger “Cell phones”. A small tray for vertical smartphone storage on the console is ideal. You see it while you are at hand.

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Where did the bag go?

In the back, the kingdom of space and comfort continues. Three passengers in the back seats? No problem in this case. The nice thing is that the seats aren’t much higher than the front seats and have the same generous dimensions. Soft furnishings literally pamper you, as do a four-zone air conditioner, split vents, or other USB ports for external devices. Reading lights will also come in handy. Rear passengers are best to enjoy the huge panoramic roof, which changes transparency at the touch of a button – it’s monochrome. However, looking into a suitcase is no longer very exciting. For the dimensions of these ship routes, 500 liters is really a pathetic figure. The classic BMW X3 is even better.

The travel bag is one of the weaknesses of the iX.  she has ... Photo: Tomáš Andrejčák

BMW iX xDrive40 – 2021 test The travel bag is one of the weaknesses of the iX. It has below average 500 decimeters. Unfortunately, you will not find a second luggage compartment.

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There is still a relatively large box under the raised floor, but you won’t use it much, because it will be taken up by the charging cable. The good news is at least the symmetrical shape and completely horizontal loading surface, which is created after lowering the backrests directly from the luggage compartment. Minor regret goes to the expense of the electrically operated hood, which lacks a button to simultaneously close and lock the car. It’s a detail, but at a price above 100,000 euros, perfection should be the law. Unfortunately, the modest size of the trunk is not in place to attach. Although the iX is a pure electric car, you won’t find an extra liter under the massive front hood. It is tightly closed. By the way, you pour the mixture into the washing machine through the hole under the logo. Therefore, BMW has not taken advantage of all the possibilities offered by the integrated electric driving structure.