Powertrains on test: BMW iX i20 xD50M

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BMW’s flagship EV, the iX, is certainly an imposing beast and though its styling divides opinion, it can’t be accused of lacking presence. The catchily named iX i20 xD50 M that APTi tested sits one rung down from the all-out performance M60 model, but still has punch aplenty thanks to its twin-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain providing an impressive 385kW. Of particular note, BMW eschews the use of permanent magnet motors in favor of three-phase excited synchronous motors, incorporated into front and rear EDUs that bundle power electronics and a reduction gearbox together. These are paired with a 111.5kWh battery pack, netting a WLTP range of between 550km and 630km.

It should come as no surprise that the iX can deliver blistering straight-line performance if needed, although its sheer size makes the idea of chivying it around corners at pace less appealing. In Sport mode, the combination of settings BMW has devised for the air suspension and adaptable damping do a good job keeping its heft in check. But as the saying goes, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A back-road blaster this is not, but keep it within its comfort zone and the iX serves up mountains of grip and more agility than a 2.6 ton SUV has any right to.

It is when loping along open roads that the iX comes into its own; the ride refinement is hard to fault and cabin noise is kept to a minimum. Factor in an interior with plenty of high-quality, tactile materials to hand, and BMW’s big beast presents an alluring long-distance companion. The only downside is that the latest generation of iDrive infotainment, dubbed Operating System 8.0, has lost the previous generation’s happy balance between button and touchscreen functionality. The iX impresses with its refinement while still retaining a signature BMW feel when on the move and will doubtless appeal to many looking to go EV in the luxury SUV segment.

LB

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About Author

Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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