For going on two years now, my fellow automotive journalists have been in full freakout over BMW's newly-enlarged nostrils---the trademark "twin-kidney" grille. Photography accompanying these digital cries of anguish play up the appearance by being taken at angles that emphasize, if not over-emphasize it.
As a result, based on photos alone, I was expecting the 2022 BMW iX to be a behemoth---the EV version of the full-size X7 SUV.
Not the case. The BMW iX is a mid-sizer, with trim proportions (well, as trim as any SUV that expects to sell in America). Chalk a ton of that up to the iX being a five-seater. Yeah, a lot of buyers say it's three rows or else, but there is a somewhat underserved market for people who only need two, and the iX steps in to help fill that void.
Performance is a given in the iX. There are two models to be had, the iX xDrive50 and the iX M60. This is the 50, and it's no slouch, with 516 horsepower on tap, 0-60 times of 4.4 seconds, an EPA-estimated range of up to 324 miles and a BMW-claimed maximum charging rate that, at peak power, can add 90 miles of range for every ten minutes of charging time. So that's a touch over half an hour from zero charge to 100% and something in the 20-minute range for 10%-80%, making it roughly competitive with the Genesis GV60 Performance.
As I've mentioned before, there are two schools of thought in EV design right now---the EV that looks just like a regular gasoline-powered model of the same car, and the starkly different vehicle that proclaims its EV-ness loudly. BMW chose the latter path for the iX. Maybe it's because I'm driving an increasing number of EVs, but the iX is different without being intimidating. I think they've done this one very well.
Where the iX loses some competitive ground against the GV60 Performance is price. Base price for the 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 is $83,200---a shade over 14 grand more than the Geneesis. There is a significant amount of standard equipment in the iX--gold bronze trim accents, keyless entry, a thermally insulated windshield, panoramic eclipsing roof, anthracite headliner, four-zone climate control, glass controls, a walnut console, and wireless device charging.
But there's also a lot of extra-cost options, or were on our tester. $2,450 for the Amido perforated leather, $1,600 for the 2-axle air suspension Dynamic Handling Package, $4,000 for the Premium Package (multi-functional seats, interior camera, Parking Assistant Plus, Live Cockpit Pro, Surround View with 3D view), $3,400 for a tremendous Bowers & Wilkins sound system, $1,900 for 22-inch bi-color wheels, $500 for BMW Individual titanium bronze, $950 for a radiant heating package, $500 for front ventilated seats, and $1,700 for Active Driving Assistant Pro. Supply chain issues meant this vehicle was built without a passenger lumbar adjustment, so there's a $175 credit on the window sticker. Add it all up, including the $995 destination charge and the bottom line reads---$101,020.
Value judgements at this level are tough. Six figures for a mid-size BMW electric SUV? There are absolutely people who wouldn't blink. The vehicle itself is excellent. How it does in the marketplace will depend on a lot of factors.