First Impressions: BMW iX xDrive40

CarBuyer Team

A brief drive of the BMW iX in Singapore gives our boys plenty to think about, including whether they should have spent more of this year being less naughty and more nice…

Photos by CarBuyer Team and Yang

SINGAPORE – BMW’s most advanced electric vehicle (EV) is here, the BMW iX. We’ve reported extensively on the car first at its international announcement and then at its local debut at EV Weekend, Singapore’s first-ever showcase of electric cars.

But now our Derryn (above, right) and Ju-Len have finally had a brief go at the iX, the car which brings BMW i back to the cutting edge of EV tech. Here’s what our resident gargoyles have to say.

Derryn: First off, the iX is one of those cars that definitely looks better in the flesh. When BMW said it was making its new EV flagship an SUV it sorta made sense, but then I looked at the photos and went, ‘What?’ But now that we’ve seen it in person, it looks like a super-sized i3, which still may not be to everyone’s liking, but is a foreshadowing of things to come. 

Idiot ruins iX shot while cyclist goes past merrily

Ju-Len: Yeah, the iX doesn’t photograph well, I’ll say. But in the flesh it has a lot of presence, and it’s an eye-catching car. Seeing it in real life brings out the subtleties, too. The wheelarches look precise, everyone seems to love the recessed door openers, and there are these curves that really smoothen the car’s edges. I’ve looked up the specs and it’s slightly longer than the BMW X5, slightly narrower and not as tall, so it’s imposing, but not just a giant box. I reckon it’s pretty much the biggest electric SUV on sale here now, and it looks like nothing else out there.

Derryn: Yep, that’s one thing I missed about BMW i – you really felt you were driving the future with the BMW i3 and i8. And the inside too has that lounge-like feel of the i3. You really feel the open layout of the whole electric car thing, with a flat floor giving so much room for feet, and those big, plush front seats looking like arm chairs. But BMW’s turned the luxe dial way up, so if the i3 was a normal lounge, this one feels like the executive lounge for sure. 

Ju-Len: That’s where the iX really impressed me, at least. The crystal iDrive knob and transmission selector, plus the seat adjuster switches all look and feel seriously posh. And the wooden panel with its haptic switches is such an upgrade over the shiny, fingerprint-collecting black plastic that everyone is using these days.

The BMW iX debuted at Singapore’s very first EV-dedicated car show earlier this month – EV Weekend. Read on to find out what happened there and why it’s caused a buzz in Singapore

But I have to say, the BMW feels more new-school luxe than old-school. I love how you can press a button and the electrochromic roof changes its opacity, just like that.

Derryn: And you can’t miss the screens – one yuuuge 14.9-inch central touchscreen display, and a 12.3-inch one for the driving instruments. It’s the first thing you see when you get in, and it’s nice how they mounted it like a piece of furniture. Notice how it curves gently so you can see it properly from the driver’s seat?

Ju-Len: It does look sharp, and the surface is apparently oleophobic so it’s not going to be a mess of fingerprints after you choose a podcast to play. The graphics render really smoothly and quickly, too. BMW says the iX has the most powerful processor for the system ever, and that’s a believable claim.

But even though the BMW OS8 interface looks great, I really found it confusing, relative to OS7. You have to hunt for functions you want, and the tiled layout is a lot busier than before. I guess more screen space equals more stuff to look at and figure out.

Derryn: It’s one of those things where you really have to live with the car to see how it works. So unless BMW gives us one for a long term test drive, we’re gonna withhold judgement. Or maybe Santa will drop one off at CarBuyer HQ? We have no chance, do we…

BMW iX electric car in Singapore

Ju-Len: Look, if I were Santa I’d keep an iX for myself! As nice as the cabin is, the real treat is how it drives. It’s so very refined on the move, and even though it doesn’t have fancy air springs the suspension really treads that line between tight handling and a comfortable ride, don’t you think? 

Derryn: The chassis guys did well, that’s for sure. This is the xDrive40 version so there’s 326 horsepower, which isn’t a lot actually, but there’s 630 Newton-metres of peak torque. I kinda like that BMW didn’t go overboard with it, because while the fast acceleration is always funny, we really don’t need that in a heavy car. I think the iX is just right here, fast and responsive enough for city traffic without being overwhelming. 

Ju-Len: Not me. I don’t think less is more. More is more! And 6.1 seconds to 100km/h is just about adequate on paper, although I will say the iX feels quicker than that. The immediacy of electrons just can’t be beat right now.

But the xDrive50 and the M60 versions are coming next year so there’s those, if you’re an acceleration junkie. Given my first impressions of the chassis, I don’t expect those to feel overpowered, but I do hope they preserve the general comfort we experienced in the iX xDrive40.

READ MORE: Check out what versions of the BMW iX you can buy here – and how much they cost!

Derryn: They let us drive it for a little over an hour but honestly I could spend all day in a car like this. Which is just as well because it has the range for it. On paper it’s good for what, 426km with one charge? I reckon it’s doable in real life.

The battery isn’t huge, with just 71kWh of capacity, but we never saw more than 18kWh/100km on the trip computer, did we? We probably have to investigate that with more time behind the wheel, but I think you’d be looking at charging your iX once a week.

Ju-Len: Absolutely, although home charging is still the best way to do things, I reckon if you stop at a mall with a 50kW DC charger every week and have a relaxed meal, maybe do some shopping, you’ll be able to run an iX with no problems.

Derryn: That brings up something interesting: buy an iX now and you apparently get to choose between a home charger with installation thrown in, or 10,000kWh worth of energy for three years, which BMW says is good for roughly 50,000km. I wonder what iX buyers will take up in the end? 

Ju-Len: Plus there’s six years of free servicing, a five-year warranty and an eight-year warranty for the battery. That’s about as good as owning a car gets.

Derryn: Ok so let’s sum up. The iX is striking to look at, luxurious inside, it feels spacious, and I was impressed with how it felt during our short drive. It should be good to own, too. Did I leave out anything?

Ju-Len: Yes. It’s futuristic. I know EVs are sort of everywhere now, but the iX does feel like a different kind of car, or at least a different kind of BMW. Buy it and you’re almost guaranteed to be the first one on the block to have one, and that’s probably half the appeal for some buyers. Drive this, and I think it’s going to feel like you’ve left both the neighbours and the combustion era behind. 

BMW iX Sport Launch Edition

Electric Motors326hp (combined output),  630 Nm
Battery Lithium ion, 71kWh net 
Charge Type / Time7.4kW AC wallbox / 10 hours (estimated)
Max Fast Charge Type / Time150kW DC / 31 mins to 80 percent
Electric Range 373 to 426km (WLTP) 
0-100km/h6.1 seconds
Top Speed200km/h (limited)
Efficiency25.1 kWh/100km
VES Band A2/ -S$15,000
AgentPerformance Motors Limited
PriceS$411,888 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict Early impressions are of a futuristic, spacious and refined car that’s good to drive, but we’ll tell you after a full review

READ MORE: The latest on CarBuyer!


5 door 5 seat bmw electric ix SUV xDrive40 Sport Launch Edition

About the Author

CarBuyer Team

CarBuyer Singapore brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.

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