My BMW has 382 BHP and 500 Nm of torque but when I went flat out on the highway in this EV, it felt very powerful.
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BMW iX xDrive50 First Impressions of a BMW X3 M40i owner
I had to drop off my X3 M40i at the dealership to replace the windshield camera housing. I had to choose a loaner vehicle for the day. I was offered a 530i or an X3 30i. I asked them if they had an electric car hoping to get an i4. But to my surprise, they asked me if I was okay with a BMW iX. I got excited and immediately said okay. I was asked to wait outside the showroom and then the car pulled up in this beautiful shade of blue.
I am not a big fan of the front grille and the alloy wheels. Leaving those aside, the side and the rear of the car look very attractive, especially the long rear lights. The car is pretty big and is a whole size bigger than my X3.
I open the door of the car and I am welcome to this luxurious interior.
The steering had a flat bottom design, which felt nice to hold.
The electric seat adjust buttons were placed on the door. I adjusted the seat to my driving position and as I tried to adjust the steering, I realized that the steering also had an electric adjust.
The seats of the car were big and they extended all the way to the door, but the seat base was flat compared to my X3 which has smaller seats but is more supportive.
I press the start button and realize that the car has a gear knob instead of a gear lever that my X3 has. The knob felt sturdy and good to use with just one finger.
I connected my phone to the infotainment system and it was amazing to see the entire 14-inch real estate display the Apple car play interface. The resolution of the screen was great, but the aspect ratio seemed to be too wide and felt unnecessary. I would still be better off with the 12-inch screen on my X3 30i. The instrument cluster did not offer too many customizations just like my X3. It just had different graphics in comparison.
The gear knob had two options- D & B. D mode had regenerative braking until the speed of 5 mph. Below 5 mph, the car coasts. In B mode, the car had regenerative braking until it came to a stop which meant no coasting.
I put the car in B mode since I have driven my cousin’s Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor with the regenerative braking in its highest setting. As I took the car outside the dealership, I realized how silent the car was. It is so well insulated compared to my X3 and I don’t even want to compare it to Teslas since they don’t have great sound insulation.
I drove the car patiently until I reached the freeway where I wanted to go flat. I was not aware of the specs of the car until that point. I went flat out as I joined the freeway and I was blown away by the acceleration, it was B-R-U-T-A-L. The car felt so powerful even for someone coming from an X3 M40i.
My X3 M40i has 382 bhp, 500 NM of torque and the car weighs at 1910 kilos. The iX 50 has 516 bhp combined power from both the motors, 765 NM of torque and the car weighs at 2566 kilos.
The car definitely felt like it had 516 bhp due to the brutal acceleration. The surprise here was the handling. The steering was not as sharp as my X3, there was definitely a slight delay in the way you get into a corner in comparison. But the way the car held in the corner was a surprise. The batteries on the floor helped keep the car grounded and it did not feel like a 2.5 ton car around the corners. It definitely had the BMW DNA in terms of handling.
As I was driving on the freeway, I realized that the gas pedal had the same travel as my X3 would and that is not good for an EV since we do single pedal driving, we have to modulate the throttle and brake using the gas pedal and that gets tough, I wish the pedal had more travel.
I tried to accelerate the car flat out again and realized that there is a slight lag to when the car responds to throttle which is not expected from an EV. I put the car in sport mode and I realize the same problem. It is not a deal breaker but if you had driven a Tesla, you can definitely feel the small lag.
As I was driving, I wanted to turn on recirculation, and as I looked for the button, I realized that everything is controlled by the touch screen. I found it difficult to search for the recirculation option as I was driving. I don’t understand why BMW decided to go this route. The buttons for air-con in my car are definitely better to operate.
I reached my home which was 27 miles away from the dealership. The car had 420 miles of range when I started from the dealership and as I reached home, the range dropped to 375 miles. That’s about 45 miles of range drop for a 27 mile drive. I am not sure how much better it would have been had I not done some pulls but the range indication got me thinking twice about trusting it.
I reached home and decided to check out the rear seat.
The rear seat base was flat just like the front seat, but there was a lot of under-thigh support and leg room for a person like me who is 5’11. The rear seat extends till the doors as well making it spacious for 3 people as well since the car does not get a rear central tunnel. One problem I had with the rear seats was the backrest angle. It was upright for my liking and the fact that you cannot adjust the recline angle did not seem good in an otherwise great rear seat experience.
The car has a 4-zone climate control. Rear vents are present in the pillars as well. The controls for the rear AC vents are present below the vents along with the heated seat controls.
There are USB-C ports behind the front seats.
The rear cabin lights were placed way too behind and were not easily accessible.
The boot is big at 500 liters and has the charger neatly tucked inside the boot floor neatly.
Since the boot lid extends all the way till the edge, the car has lights for use when the boot is open.
The power window switches did not feel premium enough in an otherwise well-put-together interior. The ones on my X3 come in chrome.
As for the final verdict, the iX xDrive 50 feels very powerful, it handles really well, the interiors are luxurious and the car is loaded with tech and feels like a car from the future when coming from an X3. If you can get past the front grille, it is an amazing car with a real-world range of 320 miles which is decent enough.
If we compare the iX to an X5, an iX loaded with decent equipment costs about $93K which is around $6K less than a similar specced X5 50e. But the car feels a lot more futuristic compared to an X5.
But for someone like me who travels a lot and would want a gas car and I can do with the lesser rear seat space since I have no family, I would still prefer the X3 M40i.
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