BMW iNext vs. BMW iX: Concept vs. Reality

The first BMW SUV developed as an all-electric model from the ground up is here – the BMW iX. Derived from the BMW iNext concept (BMW Vision iNext), the BMW X5-class pure electric luxury SUV targets customers of the Tesla Model Y and the Audi e-tron.

The BMW iX is comparable to the BMW X5 executive SUV (E-segment SUV) in length and width, and it is almost as low as the coupe version of the same – the BMW X6. From the design, though, it is like no BMW on sale today, be it the exterior or the interior. The BMW iX lays the foundation stone for the brand’s design language for the next generation.

BMW iNEXT concept vs. BMW iX front

On the outside, the BMW iX has a sleeker and sharper design compared to existing BMW SUVs. At the front, the large electric SUV looks into the future with the slimmest-ever headlights on a series-production BMW and an intelligent vertical kidney grille whose surface has a 3D pyramid structure. The bonnet has pronounced 3D sculpting extending all the way up to the headlights and the grille, and the bonnet lines converge on the latter. 

The twin headlights are Adaptive LED units with matrix function and a new type of BMW Laserlight module. As for the vertical grille, this is the finest iteration of BMW’s love it or hate it tall kidney grille, and the company calls it “a technologically lavish advertisement for intelligent mobility.”

The kidney grille is blanked off and its function is serving as an intelligence panel; the radar sensor, other sensors and the camera needed for autonomous driving are discreetly mounted behind it. If that or the design didn’t impress you, know this, that it is a self-healing panel! Thanks to an additional polyurethane coating, minor scratches would disappear within 24 hours at room temperature or just 5 minutes if warm air is supplied.

BMW iNEXT concept vs. BMW iX profile side

Moving to the sides, the BMW iX flaunts 22-inch ‘Air Performance Wheels’ that are 15% lighter than conventional alloy wheels, flush door handles and frameless windows – a first for a BMW SUV. Also worth noting are electric door openers operated at the press of a button – even the RR Cullinan doesn’t offer this feature. Unfortunately, virtual mirrors from the BMW iNext haven’t made it to production, but the conventional mirrors are slender and have a slim geometry that is in line with the new type of proportions for this series-production BMW SUV.

The rear-end portrays the BMW iX’s minimalist theme the most with a small number amount of joints and character lines, accentuates its width and gives it a powerful stance. Complementing the highly sophisticated appearance are the tail lights, which are the slimmest units on any series-production BMW to the date.

BMW has placed the reversing light and fog lights along with the reflector in a similar noticeably slim strip in the diffuser of the apron. There are also secondary light units positioned at the outer edges of the SUV. The secondary light set includes rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators, and so, all the relevant light signals are visible even when the tailgate is open.

BMW iNEXT concept vs. BMW iX rear

The interior of the BMW iX is years ahead of any other BMW in showrooms right now featuring a lounge-style ambiance. This is where the BMW iX has the most visible advantages over the Tesla Model X and makes the latter’s cabin look mundane and outdated. The company has stripped down the displays and controls to the essentials, which benefits in two ways: uncluttered look and more space.

The dashboard panel may appear odd at the first look, but the beautiful curved display panel seamlessly combining the virtual instrument cluster and infotainment system displays quickly overshadow it. There’s no center tunnel interrupting the width in the front area and one can shift from a driver seat to the passenger seat and vice-versa without needing to step out. Racing aficionados would appreciate the hexagonal steering wheel, which is a first for a BMW.

BMW has given a lot of attention to the materials and trims, and the efforts seem to have paid off. Polished crystal applications, natural leather upholstery, blue-black color scheme and wood trim make the iX a very appealing and comfortable SUV to leisurely travel in.

BMW iNEXT concept vs. BMW iX interior dashboard

Shy tech, as seen on the kidney grille on the outside, is present inside, too. The midrange speakers, for example, are integrated into the seats. Another fine example is the discreet recessing of the head-up display’s projector into the instrument panel, which makes it almost invisible. Also worth mentioning in this aspect is the rocker switch for gear selection instead of a conventional gear selector lever.

The BMW iX utilizes an all-new aluminum spaceframe architecture and features a ‘Carbon Cage’ – both firsts for a BMW. BMW has used CFRP components for the side frame, rain channels, cowl panel, rear window frame and roof frame, which together form the Carbon Cage.

The BMW iX employs the fifth-gen BMW eDrive motors, one at the front and one at the rear. BMW hasn’t reached the final figures yet, but it is confident of achieving a combined maximum power of over 370 kW or 500 hp from these motors. That would be enough to propel the all-electric SUV from 0-62 mph in under 5.0 seconds. BMW plans to offer the iX with a 100 kWh (gross) battery pack. It is targeting a range of more than 600 km (373 miles) in the WLTP cycle and over 300 miles in EPA’s testing.

BMW iNEXT concept vs. BMW iX rear quarters
Production of the BMW iX will take place at the Dingolfing plant in Germany, from the second half of 2021.

First BMW iX deliveries are scheduled to commence in late 2021. US BMW iX deliveries have been confirmed to begin in early 2022. The BMW iX will compete with the likes of the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQE SUV.

BMW iX FAQs

What the BMW iX US release date?

Early 2022 is the BMW iX U.S. release date.

What is the BMW iX range as per EPA?

The expected EPA-estimated BMW iX range is 300 miles.

Which cars would be considered BMW iX rivals?

The BMW iX rivals will include the Tesla Model X, the Audi e-tron and the Mercedes EQE SUV.