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BMW iX 2021: EV SUV bound for Australia with 370kW of power and 600km of range

John Law

BMW is bringing the iX to Australia in the fourth quarter of the year in two spec levels. Pricing will be locked in closer to launch.

The 2021 BMW iX concept burst onto the scene late last year, so seeing the production version in xDrive50 and xDrive40 guise so soon is a bit of a surprise.

But unlike Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the Bavarians have been playing around with electric vehicles for some time. In fact, their experiments have resulted in some rather exciting cars including the i3 and i8

BMW iX 2021-5
BMW’s new electric car, the iX, will land in Australia before the end of 2021.

However, like the iX3 due soon, the new iX is much more about volume than those two experiments – this is an all-wheel-drive electric SUV that boasts up to 600km of real-world range, enough to handily beat the Audi e-tron 55 and Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 and enough to worry a Tesla Model 3.

BMW will launch the iX in two grades; the xDrive40 is the entry-level SUV that boasts outputs of 240kW from two electric motors that avoid the use of any rare-earth metals. 

Buyers will be able to DC fast-charge the 70kWh battery pack at a rate of up to 150kW in the xDrive40. The range is quoted at about 400km, with efficiency rated at less than 20kWh/100km.

BMW iX 2021-6
BMW will offer the new SUV in two spec levels with up to 600km of range.

The range-topping iX in Australia will be the xDrive50 that ups the stakes considerably, with its dual motors pushing out a total of 370kW to all four wheels for a 0-100km/h sprint time of five seconds. 

A larger 100kWh battery is standard in the xDrive50 for a range of around 600km. Fast-charging can be done at up to 200kW, 50kW faster than the xDrive40. Both grades will allow 10-80 per cent of charge to be recuperated in just 40 minutes.

The looks will not be to everyone’s tastes. The iX adopts the controversial vertical kidney grilles first put into production on the 4 Series Coupe. The iX’s proportions don’t look quite right, either, but you can never really tell in pictures. 

BMW iX 2021-3
The iX is not BMW’s most beautiful car, at least in the pictures we’ve seen.

We’ll hold final judgement on the exterior until the iX arrives on Australian shores later this year.

What interests us is the iX’s airy cabin design that makes the most of the EV architecture, which BMW has dubbed a “mobile living space”. 

The appointments look to be of high quality. BMW says they have sourced the wooden inlays from sustainable sources, while the leather upholstery is tanned with olive leaves and floor mats made from recycled fishing nets

BMW iX 2021-4
Exquisite cabin appointments will win many over, however, and the iX uses many sustainable materials.

Aside from the range and power, the iX brings technology headlines too – the SUV will run the brand’s latest iDrive system with new eight-generation software, which is 20 times more potent than the outgoing software.

The new iDrive runs on a whopping 14.9-inch touchscreen that curves into a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. BMW has not abandoned the rotary dial, either, instead glamming it up to 11 with a glass controller set into luscious wood trimmed centre console in the iX.

BMW iX 2021-2
BMW has not abandoned the rotary controller in the latest generation iDrive – a win in our books.

Australian information, including pricing and specification, will be revealed closer to the iX’s release date in the fourth quarter of 2021.