In their financial results report covering the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, BMW Group reported what other luxury car manufacturers also were experiencing: a volatile market dominated by supply chain issues and bottlenecks for semiconductors and supplier parts, leading to lower sales. There was a bright light though: They more than doubled their sales in pure electric vehicles, year over year. Electric SUVs are more and more going to be the big story with BMW.
Pure electric vehicle sales were at 75,890 units during the first half of 2022 (36,087 during the first half of 2021). So, as we have said often, the market is sorting out the shift in North America and Europe to electric vehicles, rather than tiresome pontificating by elites. The BMW iX3 remains their most in-demand fully electric model this year so far (21,548 units sold, with the Mini Cooper No. 2 at 18,428).
Which brings us to the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50. Frankly, what we experienced was something beyond, compared to other EV experiences so far, as soon as we hopped in and made an 87-kilometre highway drive west to Burlington, just outside of Toronto.
BMW luxury iX xDrive50 SUV: Next level experience for fully electrified driving
Everything starts and ends with the powerful electric powertrain. At the core is eDrive technology with dual electric motors pushing 516 HP, with AWD. The range is impressive as well – 521 km. It was a very strong, agile, highway-adept drive, with sharp steering, right out of the proverbial gate. The vehicle comes with Low, Mid and High regenerative braking.
Like everything in the new world, fast-charging remains an ongoing challenge. We have five SWTCH chargers in the corner grocery store parking lot but I wouldn’t describe the experience as “fast” at all. The BMW iX xDrive50 as tested with all the packages and options had an MSRP of $113,285. So if you’re going to go this level EV, and have your own parking spot, invest the $2K, get your own fast charger and go all the way.
In that financial report, the company sees the percentage of electrified vehicles still increasing significantly and sales of fully-electric vehicles are expected to more than double. BMW is walking a line there, between providing a new tech-heavy EV lineup while not alienating customers who know them most for their lineup of prime luxury ICE sports cars, sedans and SUVs. The BMW iX and BMW i4 are being launched in markets around the world now. The more expensive and powerful iX M60 model is coming next year.
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Electric vehicle sales were at 75,890 units during the first half of 2022 (36,087 during the first half of 2021). So, as we have said often, the market is sorting out the shift in North America and Europe to electric vehicles, rather than tiresome pontificating from elites.
Then there’s the interior cabin. That’s where the “wow” factor resided for us. Both faux leather and genuine leather seating are offered. Ours though came with a textile that uses microfiber cloth, soft to the touch. We loved it, as an alternative to leather, which gets cold and stiff during those winter months. They’re calling this interior “Loft”. Ours was in “Stone Grey”.
The 14.9-inch infotainment display was more than wide enough, and was curved, mounted in a way that it appeared to be floating. The Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System powered an intense Sirius Radio listening experience, against the whisper-quiet of the car’s ride. There was a large panoramic sunroof. Then there were the little touches – those glass-effect finish seat-adjustment controls mounted on the side doors were particularly cool. BMW IconicSounds Electric were composed in part by Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer.
Ease-of-use and comfort? See what you think of the center console, and the ease of access to the glass-effect iDrive knob and volume control. So everything you need for your drive is right there, all sitting on sustainably-sourced wood trim. And with the vehicle’s air suspension, the highway ride was very comfortable.
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Electric SUVs: BMW iX xDrive50 exterior is not for everyone
There’s been some debate about the design of the exterior, especially that front grill. It’s not for everyone. In the end though it’s more about maximizing aerodynamics.We had just driven the small school bus-like Lincoln Navigator, so the BMW seemed compact in comparison. The vehicle is 4953 mm (195 inches, or just north of 16 feet), with plenty of room in the cargo space for golf clubs and several pieces of large luggage.
Ours came with the Sport Package – including 22-inch Ind Aero Wheels, Multicolour 3D Polished Buff. “Dark Graphite Metallic” was the exterior colour, not too bold.
The BMW electric SUV is loaded with driver assistance – Parking Assistant Plus with Surround View, (Premium Enhanced Package), Blind Spot Warning, Cross-Traffic Alert, Collision Warning with City Braking, Lane Departure Warning Interior Camera and more. Inside there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wifi HotPot with 5G cellular connection, Gesture Control, Universal Remote Control, and more.
Overall? We loved it, and look forward to seeing the next chapter in BMW’s SUV evolution with the iX M60, which promises a 1-100 km/h sprint in 3.8 seconds.
Images: Mark Keast