Test drive: Pioneering a new era
BMW's fully-electric iX xDrive40 SUV is a smooth operator
published : 1 May 2023 at 08:23
newspaper section: Life
writer: Jedd Sreshthaputra
BMW recently invited Thai motoring journalists to test the fully electric all-wheel drive iX xDrive40 Sport at the Pathumthani Speedway to experience the German automaker's latest eDrive technology.
Each driver went through a number of runs, which included a handling test for the vehicle's performance when steering into bends, a Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) test in conjunction with the xDrive four-wheel drive system, and a performance test in various situations including a skidpad, double lane change manoeuvres and slalom.
The event also provided an opportunity to test on-road performance and experience first-hand the agility and driving assistance technologies of the car.
The BMW iX is an electric SUV designed for the luxury market. It features advanced technology, including a powerful electric motor and an impressive driving range.
Built on a new platform specifically designed for electric vehicles, it boasts a low centre of gravity and weight distribution that is optimised for handling and stability. This, combined with the car's advanced suspension system, helps provide a smooth and responsive driving experience.
The iX xDrive40 Sport is equipped with the efficient BMW eDrive technology and all-wheel drive system which work together to achieve an exceptional range and performance. There's up to 326hp and 630Nm of instant torque from the two electric motors, enabling the iX to accelerate from a standstill to 100kph in 6.1sec.
The fifth-generation BMW eDrive system -- paired with the very latest battery cell technology -- offers a WLTP-calculated range of 372 to 425km (420km according to the NEDC cycle).
The 76.6kWh battery can be charged via a 150kW DC quick charger from 0% to 80% in 34 minutes. One of the key features of the BMW iX is its all-wheel drive system, which uses two electric motors to provide power to all four wheels. This system helps to provide excellent traction and stability in all driving conditions.
Chassis and suspension
The chassis of the iX xDrive40 Sport comprises a double-wishbone front axle, a five-link rear axle, lift-related dampers and an electric steering system with a Servotronic function. There are also 22in aerodynamic wheels in bi-colour 3D polished buff with noise-reducing tyres, which come with a layer of foam on their inner surface to improve acoustic comfort.
The iX also features adaptive air suspension that automatically adjusts the ride height and damping to suit the driving situation.
The exterior design highlights of the iX xDrive40 Sport start with the slimmest headlights ever to feature on a series-produced model from BMW, flush-fitted door handles (operated via the press of a button), frameless side windows, a tailgate with no separation joints which extends across the whole of the rear and the extremely slim rear lights.
The interior appears to have been designed for comfort and luxury, with high-quality materials and advanced technology.
The large infotainment screen and digital dashboard provide easy access to a range of features, including navigation and entertainment. Vast amounts of room and newly developed seats with integral head restraints set the tone for the luxurious ambience.
Besides the BMW Curved Display, the hexagonal steering wheel and frameless projector integration for the head-up display add a degree of modernness. The anthracite headliner and other bold interior applications also give the cabin a splendid look.
Meanwhile, a 655W Harman Kardon Surround Sound System with 18 speakers promises the ultimate aural experience.
Electronics and Safety
A new generation of sensors, software stack and a powerful computing platform provide the basis for exceptional intelligence.
These include five cameras, five radar sensors and 12 ultrasonic sensors working together to detect the surroundings of the vehicle.
The Steering and Lane Control Assistant has been significantly improved while the Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function offers enhanced situational distance adjustment. Offered in the iX xDrive40 Sport is Parking Assistant Plus including Surround View Camera and Remote 3D View. BMW Live Cockpit Professional and the BMW Natural Interaction also come as standard.
Braking and emergency system
One notable feature of the iX is its braking system. Like many electric vehicles, the iX uses regenerative braking to help recharge the battery while driving. However, the iX also features an advanced brake-by-wire system that provides a smooth and predictable feel, even when regenerative braking is active.
Other cool features are Automatic Stability Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Cornering Brake Control, Anti-lock Brake System, Brake Assist, Crash Sensor, Active Protection, Attentiveness Assistant, Passive Protection for pedestrians, Teleservices and Intelligent Emergency Call.
Driving the iX
BMW says the iX is designed to provide a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience, with excellent handling and stability in all conditions.
In order to prove it, BMW instructors set up a few stations for the handling, skidpad, double lane change and slalom tests. With all safety functions engaged, the iX is kind to its owner. The car went through every station easily even in real-life emergency scenarios requiring quick manoeuvres.
I wanted to recheck by turning them off at on the skidpad. The result was that the iX lost its grip and spun out pretty easily. This gave me no doubt that we should be leaving these systems on at all times.
After these extreme tests, we went onto the track and drove the iX at normal speeds. If you are looking for comfort, it will not disappoint.
After I increased the speed and started hitting the apex at the Pathumthani track, the iX performed quite well and I instantly felt that this is a trustworthy vehicle that can be driven fast and confidently.
BMW's next-generation of electric vehicles like the iX are getting better and better, offering a high level of driving pleasure along with longer operating ranges.
PROS: Great handling, tonnes of safety features, increased range
CONS: Sport version doesn't look so sporty, could be too high-tech for some