BMW i4 sedan and BMW iX crossover expand pure electric offerings to a broader audience

SamiHA

Posts: 36   +42
Staff member
Why it matters: BMW has always toyed with electrification through plug-in hybrids, the city-friendly i3 compact and the eye-catching i8 sports car, but these two new pure EVs are taking aim at the mainstream market, with vehicles that can be appreciated by anyone, anywhere.

BMW unveiled a pair of electric cars today, known as the BMW i4 and BMW iX, which promise to bring tons of tech, and about 300 miles of range to the very heart of the market. Beyond that, the automaker promises a sustainable approach to its EV production, keeping its carbon footprint as small as possible.

Powerful motors and large batteries but worrisome range

The i4 sport sedan is set to arrive in two forms, the mainstream eDrive40 and a more powerful, sporty M50 model. The eDrive40 uses a single motor powering the rear axle, putting out 335 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque.

The M50 pictured below is the first pure EV from BMW's high-performance M division and features all-wheel-drive with a combined 536 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque. While the eDrive40 model is meant to be a subdued, luxury sport sedan, it still manages to hit highway speeds from a standstill in just 5.7 seconds, while the more hardcore M50 model will do the deed in 3.9 seconds.

Providing the juice for these vehicles is a battery with over 80 kWh. Using an 11 kW charger, it'll take 7.6 hours to recharge the i4 from 0-100 percent, though using a DC Fast Charger will significantly speed things up.

BMW estimates it will take just 31 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 percent, thanks to a peak charge rate of 200 kW. The automaker is estimating that the eDrive40 model can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, while the M50 is expected to have a range of 245 miles.

The BMW iX is a more family-oriented vehicle, with a length and width that's slightly larger than the X5 SUV. Dubbed the iX xDrive50, it features all-wheel-drive thanks to an electric motor for each axle. With 516 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, the iX is sure to be quick reaching highway speeds in under 5 seconds.

That's all made possible through a battery pack with over 106 kWh of juice. It takes 11 hours to charge that battery from empty using an 11 kW charger, while a fast charger with a 200 kW charge rate will charge the iX from 10 to 80 percent in about 40 minutes. It's expected to feature a range of 300 miles.

It should be noted that the ranges of the i4 models and the iX seem pretty conservative, and far from impressive. The recently announced Ford F-150 pickup is expected to reach 300 miles (with a loaded bed), while Tesla promotes a few of its vehicles with ranges well over the 300 mile mark.

Tech features (and also some gimmicks)

Being the latest in luxury, these BMWs feature a well-equipped, high-tech cabin, with all kinds of convenience and safety features, not to mention a few gimmicks. For starters, BMW's infotainment system, iDrive, has been upgraded to version 8 and includes Apple Maps and Android Auto support.

A huge curved display, combining a 12.3-inch gauge cluster and the 14.9-inch infotainment display is found, perched on the dash. Those who have that kind of casual relationship with their car can use voice recognition to perform a variety of tasks, through the use of BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant.

The cars features 5G connectivity and can be updated remotely over the air, though one new feature set to debut on the iX is the Digital Key Plus, which allows users with Apple iPhones to use their mobile device as a key. The digital key can even be shared with others. One feature in the iX that sounds like a gimmick is the interior camera, which can be used to take snapshots during your journey, either through a voice command, a touch button, a self-timer, or even automatically when one of the passengers is smiling. Perhaps more importantly, this feature can be used remotely if the owner wants to know if they forgot something inside the car, or to take a picture of a thief when the vehicle's alarm is triggered.

BMW is also pushing its safety equipment and driver assists, detailing the automotive debuts of its 8 MPix camera and its front-mounted radar system features 300 yards of range, both features found in the iX rather than the i4, which makes sense considering the family-sized vehicle is much more expensive than the sedan.

As with other BMWs, there are different packages of driver assistance features being offered on the i4 and iX, though none seem to have any hands-free driving capabilities like Cadillac's Super Cruise or advanced driver assistance like Tesla's Autopilot. The iX does have a cleaning and warming system for its radar and camera systems mounted at the front of the vehicle, which should allow for better reliability in poor conditions.

Style and luxury

The exterior styling of the two vehicles is pretty conservative, while the interior design is pared down with a somewhat minimalist approach. While both vehicles feature frameless doors, the iX sports flush door handles, which are embedded into the door surfaces.

The controls and layout of the i4 are similar to the current BMW 4-Series, but the iX has made a few interesting choices, like using touch-sensitive surfaces on the open-pore wood, and crystal controls for the infotainment system and gear selector.

Sustainability and availability

BMW's approach to its EVs has a focus on sustainability. The automaker notes that the electric motors in the i4 and iX do not use fixed permanent magnets, reducing the need for rare earth metals. The batteries contain less than 10 percent cobalt content, and the lithium is sourced from hard-rock deposits in Australia, which BMW says ensures a high standard for sustainability, and with respect for human rights. The plants producing the i4 in Munich and the iX in Dingolfing use green hydroelectric power produced locally.

The BMW i4 eDrive 40 is the most affordable of the three vehicles, with an asking price of $55,400 in the US, while the i4 M50 will be $65,900. The more expensive BMW iX starts at $83,200. The plan is to put these vehicles into production this year, with a high-performance iX arriving in 2022.

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

Posts: 2,337   +2,604
TechSpot Elite
No thanks to the digital console focus. I like it tactile where things work the second I turn on my car (instead of after booting up).
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 94   +220
R3fead13af3b66546185c7659a5c4cacc

Minus the rockets
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,866   +5,388
All of these EV drive roughly the same. The only major differences are: "exterior looks", " interior space", " comfort features", price, range and warranty.

Thus far, my favorite EV is the Tesla Model X but the price for it is ridiculous (for what you get) and there are too many comfort features missing. Heated/cooled seats should be standard at that price.

The Audi Etron Sportback is also great, comes with a lovely interior and all the comfort features I demand.

However, I'll continue to wait till I see more offerings. I'm not a huge fan of BMW exteriors, interiors or the high price just to say "I drive a BMW".

$83,000 for the ix is ridiculous.

I'll wait and see what the Cadillac Lyriq offers - and I love Cadillac's autonomous driving more anyway. The Mercedes EQS also looks cool, and I prefer Mercedes interiors.

"Acceleration" is a stand-out feature of the Teslas, but for the most part, no one is driving heavy on the pedal because they don't want to have to spend time charging the car and are usually hypermiling.
 
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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,351   +2,366
So much weight. That's really the downside of any of these EVs. Hard to beat a small lightweight car for driving fun. Even the base i4 is well in excess of two metric tonnes.

Not exactly going to compete with a straightforward 440i xDrive for dynamics, which is the best part of half a tonne lighter. Still smoking fast as well mind you! Sub 4 second 0-60 when tested.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,249   +1,382
TechSpot Elite
So much weight. That's really the downside of any of these EVs. Hard to beat a small lightweight car for driving fun. Even the base i4 is well in excess of two metric tonnes.

Not exactly going to compete with a straightforward 440i xDrive for dynamics, which is the best part of half a tonne lighter. Still smoking fast as well mind you! Sub 4 second 0-60 when tested.
It's true that there is significantly more weight with an electric vehicle and from a handling standpoint, it does affect it negatively. However, there are positives as well. Like the fact that an electric motor has all of its torque available at 0rpm (so it takes off like a rocket, woohoo!), the fact that there are fewer moving parts to wear out and, of course, the fact that it doesn't spew poisonous chemicals into the air.

I love light and quick-handling vehicles as well but... the way things are going, it's a sacrifice that we're just going to have to accept. It sucks, but we'll get used to it after awhile.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,154   +1,090
TechSpot Elite
It's true that there is significantly more weight with an electric vehicle and from a handling standpoint, it does affect it negatively. However, there are positives as well. Like the fact that an electric motor has all of its torque available at 0rpm (so it takes off like a rocket, woohoo!), the fact that there are fewer moving parts to wear out and, of course, the fact that it doesn't spew poisonous chemicals into the air.

I love light and quick-handling vehicles as well but... the way things are going, it's a sacrifice that we're just going to have to accept. It sucks, but we'll get used to it after awhile.
And that is where battery tech comes to play in my opinion. An EV motor tops out with the Tesla's at 75 lbs which gives a lot of leeway compared to even a 4 cyl gas engine which averages 250 lbs.

A 4 cylinder gas Focus average weight is 3300 lbs and the EV Focus is only 200 lbs more.
Batteries are already getting smaller and lighter, so eventually we will see a day when a battery similar in size to the Focus EV will be able to hold the energy for todays modern EV range.

But when is the big Q. I'm not planning on living a day past 110. Maybe 115 if the Pirates get good, the Penguins can escape the first round of the playoffs, or Arkansas gets any Pro team.
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 720   +616
BMW design team decided an ugly stick was too small for this generation and used and ugly forest this time around. Truly the most vomit inducing designs on the road now. All one can hope is the aftermarket is readying new front ends for these monstrosities.
 

Tantor

Posts: 125   +167
EVs are just another major scam. Considering the fact that they are less complex than an Internal combustion car, they should also cost less.

But what do we see? Very high prices, with no rational explanation as to why.

The big corporations are using EVs as a way to ramp up prices, not to make life simpler or transportation less expensive or complex.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,154   +1,090
TechSpot Elite
EVs are just another major scam. Considering the fact that they are less complex than an Internal combustion car, they should also cost less.

But what do we see? Very high prices, with no rational explanation as to why.

The big corporations are using EVs as a way to ramp up prices, not to make life simpler or transportation less expensive or complex.
So you were happy with the oil companies? I bet you own stock in the torture industry.

There have been rational explanations for nearly 2 decades now. One of many is that getting to a motor that will provide 500,000 miles with near no maintenance takes some additional work. These are not the same motors as your refrigerator. Not to mention the electronics to tie it all together. From new options to basic driving.

Seeing as the Mach-E is coming in at 40% less than the first Tesla's, and the F-150 EVs are ringing up at $15,000 less that a gas F-150, I'm going to say you are wrong about pricing.
 

Lounds

Posts: 797   +710
All of these EV drive roughly the same. The only major differences are: "exterior looks", " interior space", " comfort features", price, range and warranty.

Thus far, my favorite EV is the Tesla Model X but the price for it is ridiculous (for what you get) and there are too many comfort features missing. Heated/cooled seats should be standard at that price.

The Audi Etron Sportback is also great, comes with a lovely interior and all the comfort features I demand.

However, I'll continue to wait till I see more offerings. I'm not a huge fan of BMW exteriors, interiors or the high price just to say "I drive a BMW".

$83,000 for the ix is ridiculous.

I'll wait and see what the Cadillac Lyriq offers - and I love Cadillac's autonomous driving more anyway. The Mercedes EQS also looks cool, and I prefer Mercedes interiors.

"Acceleration" is a stand-out feature of the Teslas, but for the most part, no one is driving heavy on the pedal because they don't want to have to spend time charging the car and are usually hypermiling.
The Jaguar I-Pace is a decent EV. It'll be interesting what jaguar does as they plan to have no petrol or diesel cars by 2025.
 

Hadakajime

Posts: 12   +6
That hog nose. Damn fugly.

I point them out when I see them: Piggy! Piggy! Piggy!

I can't believe they didn't recall them for fugliness.

BTW, you cannot see digital displays in direct sunlight. Sucks to be you driving at dawn, midday, sunset, or any other time when the sun hits your dash.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,249   +1,382
TechSpot Elite
And that is where battery tech comes to play in my opinion. An EV motor tops out with the Tesla's at 75 lbs which gives a lot of leeway compared to even a 4 cyl gas engine which averages 250 lbs.

A 4 cylinder gas Focus average weight is 3300 lbs and the EV Focus is only 200 lbs more.
Batteries are already getting smaller and lighter, so eventually we will see a day when a battery similar in size to the Focus EV will be able to hold the energy for todays modern EV range.

But when is the big Q. I'm not planning on living a day past 110. Maybe 115 if the Pirates get good, the Penguins can escape the first round of the playoffs, or Arkansas gets any Pro team.
Well, I already have my plans for that eventuality. A good chunk of my inheritance will go to cryogenics. Since I'm not the least bit religious and don't like the idea of dying, I figure, what have I got to lose? If it works out, I'll be wildly happy and if it doesn't I won't care. LOL