BMW’s kidney grille is present on the 2022 iX xDrive50, but it’s completely blocked off. (Manufacturer photo)

BMW’s kidney grille is present on the 2022 iX xDrive50, but it’s completely blocked off. (Manufacturer photo)

BMW’s iX xDrive50 is the brand’s first all-electric SUV

A profusion of advanced technology and gorgeous design elements are contained in this new flagship.

It isn’t seismic news when BMW comes out with yet another high-performance vehicle, but the 2022 iX xDrive50 generates quite a rumble.

The iX xDrive50 is BMW’s first all-electric SUV. It has 516 horsepower, 564 pound-feet of torque, a range of 305 to 324 miles, and a profusion of advanced technology, luxury, and gorgeous design elements.

BMW lists a number of environmentally and socially progressive factors in its production of the iX, including the following:

Its electric motors, built in-house by BMW, don’t use permanent magnets, thus negating the need for rare earth metals in their construction.

The iX is assembled in Dingolfing, Germany, in a factory powered entirely by local hydroelectric power.

BMW oversees the extraction of the cobalt and lithium used in the iX high-voltage batteries to ensure environmental responsibility, transparency, and respect for the human rights of the labor force.

The aluminum used in the construction of the iX is manufactured in a plant powered by solar energy.

Carpeting and floor mats are made from recycled fishing nets.

Recycled material accounts for more than 20 percent of the thermoplastic content in the iX and 50 percent of the aluminum.

The iX xDrive50 is the size of BMW’s popular X5 SUV. It provides seating for five and has 33.3 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats upright, or 77.9 cubic feet with seats folded. All-wheel drive is standard. Similarities end there.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 has seating for five passengers and a 33.3 cubic-feet cargo area. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 has seating for five passengers and a 33.3 cubic-feet cargo area. (Manufacturer photo)

The iX is a 100-percent new SUV from the ground up, able to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.4 stealth seconds. Maximum range capability varies, based on wheel size. With the standard 20-inchers, the range is 324 miles. Optional 21-inch and 22-inch wheels are rated 305 miles and 315 miles, respectively.

Hooking up the high-voltage battery to a Level 2 Wallbox allows it to be topped up with AC at a charging rate of up to 11 kW. Using a Level 2 charger, the iX xDrive50 can recharge its battery from 0 to 100 percent in less than 11 hours. It can also charge its high-voltage battery at up to 195 kW using a DC fast charger. Plugging it into a fast-charging station with 10 percent charge, for example, enables its range to be increased by up to 90 miles in 10 minutes at 195 kW. Using the same fast charger, it would take less than 40 minutes to increase the high-voltage battery’s state of charge from 10 percent to 80 percent.

BMW offers two years of free 30-minute charging sessions for the iX at Electrify America stations. There are multiple Electrify America charging stations conveniently located throughout Snohomish County. I used one during my test week and the iX charge port’s location (near the back, where a gasoline fuel filler is typically found, rather than near the front, like most electric vehicles) made it more challenging. By the way, a charging station’s apparatus is unwieldy unto itself, and while waiting I pictured future generations joking and laughing about the crudeness of today’s charging methods.

The iX exterior design gets mixed reviews but the most controversial feature, the big and bold grille, is my favorite outside part. Because the iX only needs a small amount of cooling, BMW’s trademark kidney grille is still visually present, but completely blocked off. Not just a useless ornament, it includes an intelligent sensor panel and has a “self-healing” polyurethane coating that repairs minor damages, such as scratches, within 24 hours at room temperature or after five minutes of exposure to warm air. So much more creative than the blank faces of oncoming Teslas that look like they’re going to suffocate.

The iX interior is a showplace. People attracted to crystal and other sparkly materials will have difficulty taking their eyes off the door-mounted power seat controls, gear shifter, and infotainment control dial. The hexagonal steering wheel looks a little goofy but works well ergonomically.

With a sea of exciting highlights to mention, but kept in check by a limited word count here, the iX xDrive50’s standard upholstery deserves attention. It’s a synthetic material called Sensatec and is used on seat surfaces, door panels, armrests, the center console, and upper section of the instrument panel. Durable, comfortable, and easy to clean, Sensatec is in keeping with BMW’s enlightened approach. The animal cruelty and environmentally detrimental effects of leather production are well established. BMW offers leather as an option for the iX, but downplays it, mentioning it like an afterthought. I hope to see leather in cars gone for good. There’s nothing luxurious about it, and it certainly has no place in something as innovative as the iX xDrive50.

Innovative design and sustainable materials are prominent within the interior of BMW’s new 2022 iX xDrive50. (Manufacturer photo)

Innovative design and sustainable materials are prominent within the interior of BMW’s new 2022 iX xDrive50. (Manufacturer photo)

2022 BMW iX xDrive50

Base price, including destination charge: $84,195

Price as driven: $101,020

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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