10 Best Features Of The 2022 BMW iX

Despite the BMW iX electric SUV's large front grille — which has offended some purists because an EV does not have a hot internal combustion engine behind it that needs air cooling (via Bloomberg Green) — it has delighted pundits and enthusiasts with its thoroughly high-tech overall design, mighty electric powertrain, luxurious interior, and smooth handling.

After debuting as the Vision iNext Concept in 2018, BMW's first all-electric SUV is now available in two hot-off-the-grill flavors, the 2022 iX xDrive40 (not available in the US) and the 2022 iX xDrive50. The MSRP for the iX xDrive50 starts at an eye-popping $83,200 according to Kelley Blue Book. And if you don't want to burn fossil fuels but do have plenty of money to burn, the iX also has a bevy of optional performance, interior, and other extra packages available to add to the luxury. You'll find out about some of those here, along with all the rest of the best of this impressive all-electric SUV.

Thoroughly modern and mighty electric powertrain

BMW bases the iX on its latest electric powertrain, the Gen5 electric drive unit. Both the 2022 iX xDrive40 and 2022 iX xDrive50 have two Gen5 drive units, one at both the front and rear axles. Each of those units comprise an electric motor, one-speed transmission, and the necessary electronics. As BMWblog reported, BMW claims the drive units are 93% efficient and contain no rare-earth metals or magnets.

The iX xDrive50's two motors combine for a total of 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, which can accelerate the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to BMW's own numbers. Its 111.5 kWh battery permits 305-324 miles of range. All told, it's the most powerful EV with the largest battery from any BMW so far.

For such a big battery, it's capable of getting you back on the road quickly. As SlashGear relayed in our 2022 BMW iX First Drive, an iX can DC fast charge at 195 kW max, which in 10 minutes of charging will give 90 miles of range; 40 minutes of DC fast charging can take the battery from 10 to 80 percent full; and 11 hours of 11 kW Level 2 charging will fill the battery from 0 to 100 percent.

An immaculate interior

The spacious and naturally lit iX interior has softened some of the criticism that its faux front grille received. BMW installed the hexagonal steering wheel for the first time in a production model (via SlashGear's first drive), and it grants a better view of the curved display behind it. Four-zone automatic climate control integrates a nanofiber filter to mitigate allergens and microbial particles insie. The panoramic glass roof is another BMW-first: Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal technology that provides electrochromic shading without a roof liner.

Beneath that glass roof, the iX feels very spacious compared to other electric SUVs, with ample headroom according to Green Car Reports.

An optional $1,150 Luxury Package using BMW's build-your-own interface adds glass knobs and dials for the iDrive knob, volume wheel, gear selector and door seat adjustment controls, as well as an open-pore walnut wood backlit center console. And another $2,450 will get you Amido or Castanea Chestnut perforated leather on the seats and interior.

4 modes of regenerative braking

The iX's default regenerative braking mode utilizes adaptive recuperation. Its level of regen is computer controlled to be linear but also adaptive to your surroundings, such as vehicles sensed from the front camera, according to Road Show. The adaptive regen also varies according to approaching intersections or tight curves that the iX anticipates from its navigation data. Switch to a different driving mode and you'll have high, medium, and low levels of regenerative braking. The high setting essentially enables one-pedal driving as all the braking is achievable regeneratively, while the low level amounts to a very modest amount of energy recovery to get close to a traditional coasting experience.

Edmunds thought that the iX's regenerative braking can be reminiscent of video game driving (and that's... bad?), but there's also a "freewheel" function (via SlashGear) that's good for full-on coasting on the highway without any regenerative braking kicking in.

Advanced safety, security, and driving aids

The iX checks off many boxes for safety and security, including an anti-theft alarm, front collision warning, cross-traffic alert, rear-view camera, speed limit info, and standard lane departure warning [via BMW's iX page, linked above]. The standard Active Driving Assistant gives you blind-spot detection and the Safe Exit door-opening warning if there's a collision risk from opening a door.

An Active Protection System alerts you if it senses that the driver is fatigued or unfocused, and if determines that an accident is forthcoming, it tensions the seat belts, closes the windows and activates post-crash braking. Should the worst happen, the BMW Assist eCall feature has what amounts to an SOS button, as well as an Automatic Collision Notification.

For an extra $1,700 the optional Active Driving Assistant Pro package (via the aformentioned BMW build-your-own page) adds adaptive cruise control. And the advanced lane-keeping assistant uses the front and side cameras and radar sensors to hold you in the middle of the lane. The pro package also has park distance control, a rearview camera with panorama view, and a backup assistant. The Evasion Aid helps with the sudden appearance of people, cars, or other obstacle in front of the iX.

The new iDrive 8 infotainment system

BMW's new EVs, the iX SUV and the i4 sedan, are the company's first to come with the new iDrive 8 infotainment system, which is also one of the first automotive systems to support 5G connectivity. That wide 5G bandwidth will make HD-quality video streaming an option for passengers according to Road Show, and it should make the iDrive 8's system response closer to instantaneous for anything that sends data to the cloud.

One long, curved display on the dash incorporates a 12.3-inch information display in front of the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch central infotainment area (via BMW), both with a resolution of 200 pixels per inch. On top of a revamped GUI that is supposed to show only the necessary information concisely at all times, an upgraded AI assistant puts the emphasis on voice control that is said to respond better to "natural dialog" instead of specific pre-canned commands. You can name the personal assistant whatever you like. The combination of voice control and touchscreen control reduces the number of buttons and switches by nearly half from the previous platform.

Function keys on the steering wheel allow you to personalize onscreen options, as well as navigate the displays and toggle between menus, layout types, and widgets using your thumbs. BMW Maps can anticipate your driving habits and suggest charging and parking spots. The software OS updates over-the-air and is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

One-off Carbon Cage frame

To achieve a sweet spot of aerodynamics and light weight, BMW has crafted a Carbon Cage multi-material body that is designed for the iX and only the iX, according to BMWBlog. Based on the multi-material Carbon Core body of the BMW 7-Series luxury sedan but with the carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) interior frame that was used in the i3 and i8 (via CompositesWorld), the iX's EV platform is not meant for any other BMW model. Its reliance on CFRP is bolstered by an aluminum floor and steel exterior framing to add strength and increased crash safety.

In its design, the iX is also a bit of a hybrid of other BMW X-series vehicles. The iX has a similar length and width to the X5 mid-size SUV, a similar height to the X6, and the same size wheels as the X7. However the iX's CFRP body shell sheds 176 pounds off the X5's weight to reach a total curb weight of 5,659 pounds.

Superior handling

Reviewers have been impressed by the iX's handling, saying it's "better and feels sharper to drive than a Jaguar I-PACE or Tesla Model X" (from SlashGear's first drive linked above) and also mentioning that its steering ranks among the best of contemporary BMWs.

Some of the technology behind the handling includes shocks made with a high level of hydraulic damping and a self-leveling air suspension. There's also an adaptive all-wheel-drive system that doles out the torque variably through the front and back motors to be efficient.

An optional $1,600 Dynamic Handling Package—again from BMW's build-your-own tool—adds Integral Active Steering for rear-axle directionality depending on speed. At low speeds, the rear wheels turn counter to the front wheels for a sharper turn when parking or cornering. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn with the front wheels for stability and smooth lane changing. This package also adds two-axle air suspension, which raises or lowers the car a total of 3.1 inches across five discrete levels according to driving conditions to enhance vehicle response. A button also lowers it to the bottom level when parked for easier loading or unloading.

Elaborate, high-tech startup sequence

If you make the BMW iX your carriage, it will treat your approach like you're royalty. As explained in SlashGear's first drive report, the car senses your nearby presence due to ultra-wideband triangulation technology that will recognize your keyfob or smartphone when you're near. Come within 10 feet of the iX, and it begins a welcoming lighting display that illuminates the door handles, active light carpet, and exterior lights. The iX unlocks and then returns the cabin to your personalized settings, such as the proper steering wheel position. The infotainment system boots up with a startup animation, and roughly by the time you're ready to drive, the iX is linked to your phone and prepared to your exact specifications.

Just in case that's not enough VIP treatment for you, the iX's custom sound effects and musical compositions have been created by this year's Oscar-winner for best original score.

BMW IconicSounds Electric by Hans Zimmer

Teslas can emit wind-breaking sounds in their Emissions Testing Mode or display a crackling fire in Romance Mode (via CeanTechnica). But BMWs have their fun, too. Who wouldn't want to patrol the streets in their own personal Batmobile to the sounds of Batman's greatest composer? That's right, BMW Group Sound Design teamed up with legendary film composer and Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer, who created special sounds and compositions for the OEM's new iX and i4 EVs.

As detailed in BMW Magazine, Zimmer finds that sounds and tones connect to emotions and memories. As a child, he could distinguish the different sounds of both his mother's and father's BMWs, and hearing the cars arrive home gave him comfort and security. "If you have the right sounds, you feel connected," Zimmer says in the story's accompanying video. "What we are trying to do in the car is to humanize the technology."

Zimmer's sounds play through the cars' sound system and accompany different actions and purposes, such as the start/stop sounds and the external acoustic pedestrian warning system. The sounds vary according to the selected driving mode. Graphics on the BMW Curved Display complement the IconicSounds, like neon abstract patterns in Expressive mode and nature-inspired Relax mode graphics to match the calm, harmonious composition.

You'll hear traditional sounds such as human voices, violins, and other orchestral instruments along with otherworldly hybrid sounds that won Zimmer the 2022 Oscar for his original score to Dune.

It's getting even better: The 2023 BMW iX M60 kicks up the horsepower

As soon as June 2022, the 2023 BMW iX M60 that the company unveiled at CES 2022 will arrive for sale in the US for an MSRP starting at $105,100. This flagship of the iX series pumps up the get-up-and-go to 610 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque—a noticeable jolt above the iX M50. Its revamped dual-motor electric powertrain is good for 0-60 mph in only 3.6 seconds according to BMW, and almost constant acceleration until the electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

In exchange for that oomph factor, you get a shorter range in the iX M60: an estimated 280 miles instead of the iX xDrive50's 305-324 miles. But the iX M60 picks up some styling extras and other M-badged perks as standard features. These include an enhanced air suspension with automatic level control for balance. The standard 21-inch Aero Bi-color wheels are swappable with optional 22-inch Titanium Bronze wheels, and  matching Titanium Bronze exterior paint is also an option.

The iX M60's standard interior flare also stands out. It comes with a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound Audio System, along with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, and Radiant Heating Package, which heats the seats, steering wheel, armrests, door panels, and dashboard, all as standard. Regardless of what you may or may not think about the looks of the iX front grille, the future of BMW electric performance SUVs rolls on.