BMW has unveiled two versions of its new all-electric iX SUV — and they look like they should give the Tesla Model X a run for its money.
The BMW iX xDrive 40 and xDrive 50 will both feature a twin-motor, four-wheel-drive setup that'll take them from 0-62 mph in super-quick time then on to a top speed of 124 mph. But they can also lay claim to being among the greenest mass-produced cars yet, thanks to an array of environmentally friendly features.
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BMW iX xDrive 50: Release date and pricing
The BMW iX xDrive 40 and xDrive 50 are due to arrive towards the end of 2021, with the xDrive 50 expected to cost in the mid-$80,000 range. That gives it something of an advantage over the Tesla Model X, which starts at $91,000 and rises to $121,000 for the most expensive version.
We don't yet know if the xDrive 40 will be released in the US, but in the UK it will start at £69,000. Either way, look out for iX pre-orders to go live this summer for a late-2021 / early-2022 delivery.
BMW iX xDrive 40 and 50: Key specs
The iX xDrive 40 and iX xDrive 50 are BMW's first ever electric SUVs, and both will be seriously powerful.
The entry-level xDrive 40 will produce 296bhp (240 kW) and will be able to handle the 0-62 mph sprint in a little over 6 seconds, while the even beefier xDrive 50 will serve up 493bhp (370kW) and reach 62 mph in under 5 seconds.
That's impressively quick, if not quite as spectacular as the Tesla Model X, which can hit 60 mph in either 3.8 or 2.5 seconds, depending on the model.
BMW iX xDrive 40 and 50: Range and charging
In terms of range, the xDrive50 has a 100 kWh battery that's good for a 373-mile trip, while the 40 has to make do with a 70 kWh cell that will conk out after 249 miles. The Model X, by comparison, can go for 340 miles, or 360 in its Long Range guise.
Both the iX cars can go from 10-80 percent of charge in a little under 40 minutes, though the xDrive 50 is faster overall in this regard: its 200 kW charging can take it to 75 miles in 10 minutes, whereas the xDrive 40 has a 150 kW charger and will add 56 miles in the same time.
BMW iX xDrive 40 and 50: Intelligence panel and iDrive
As you'd expect for a modern EV, the iX series is packed with tech. That large kidney-shaped front grille functions as an "intelligence panel", which houses the cameras, radar and sensors it uses for its automated-driving systems. BMW says it will process 20 times the amount of data compared to previous models.
Inside, the iX range will be the first BMW to use the brand's new iDrive operating system, complete with onboard digital assistant.
But impressive though the cars look, BMW seems most excited about their green credentials.
BMW iX xDrive 40 and 50: Greenest SUVs ever?
The xDrive 40 and xDrive 50 are the result of "an all-encompassing approach to sustainability" that covers every step of the production process. Neither uses any rare-earth materials and BMW itself procures the cobalt and lithium used in their batteries, to ensure that “environmental and sustainability standards are observed."
The batteries are manufactured exclusively using green power and BMW says that overall production process emissions for the iX range were cut by 18%. The interior, meanwhile, uses a "high proportion of secondary aluminum and recycled plastic" included recovered fishing nets, plus FSC-certified wood and other natural materials. In total, the iX contains 132 pounds of recycled plastic.
BMW claims that over the course of 125,000 miles, the iX xDrive40 has a 45 percent lower global warming potential than a comparable diesel car.