BMW iX xDrive50 long-term test: a high-tech SUV that's great to drive

First report: all the tech is key to enjoying our new electric BMW iX long termer

  • 4.5 out of 5

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    BMW’s use of AI has also proven useful. It means the car can sense that I’m searching for a parking space and offer to guide me in (in such a polite voice). The iX has also realised that when I’m leaving my driveway, I tend to lower the driver-side front window to listen for traffic or people, and offers to do that for me whenever it knows I’m there. With a mind on the British weather, I declined the latter.

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      I’m not the only one wowed by the tech. Passengers and passers-by have commented on the curved screen that combines a 12.3-inch driver display with a 14.9-inch infotainment panel – all perched on top of the dashboard, pointed towards the driver and behind a beautiful glass screen.

      The quality of the display is superb and the menus are pretty intuitive, too. Plus BMW’s iDrive scroll wheel is still present and correct, so you don’t always have to reach forward to the screen to control it or input details. You can also use two types of voice control: BMW’s to work the car’s functions, or Siri with seamless wireless connection to my iPhone’s Apple CarPlay features.

      One minor complaint I have so far is that occasionally my iPhone seems to connect without the display showing. Disconnecting and reconnecting usually sorts it out, but I’ll check if the car’s software needs updating.

      Oh, and when it comes to the phone, there’s actually a couple of places to put it: just at the front of the centre console (makes a change from in a cup-holder) or on the wireless charging pad a bit lower down.

      Aside from all the tech, the iX is still very much a BMW, so it’s great to drive. For me, comfort is as important as agility and this big SUV combines both brilliantly. There’s decent space for the entire Fowler Five, although whoever draws the short straw and gets the middle seat lasts about an hour before complaining. Legroom is impressive, while the flat floor helps. And Sky the Goldendoodle fits into the boot – just. If she could speak, she’d tell me she preferred the Range Rover I used to run, but the BMW’s lower boot lip means she can jump in easily.

      I’m loving being back at the wheel of an EV, too -– that instant zip of acceleration is intoxicating, while the silence is a joy, too.

      The BMW’s big 105kWh (usable) battery means I’m glad I upgraded my home charger to a new 7kW unit from Hypervolt (which is just as cool to use as the car itself), so I stand a chance of a full top-up overnight. And so far, in six weeks with the car, I’ve only had to use public charging once – a top-up when staying at a hotel.

      Average efficiency isn’t too bad either at 2.8 miles/kWh, meaning a 300-mile range is within reach, too, although that’s some way shy of BMW’s 380-mile claim.

      Model: BMW iX xDrive50 M Sport Edition
      On fleet since: September 2023
      Price new: £106,400
      Powertrain: 105kWh battery, 2x e-motors, 516bhp
      CO2/tax: 0g/km/2%
      Options: 22-inch Individual 1021 Style Aero Alloy Wheels (£1,485), Interior Design Suite – Amido (£3,250), Laserlights (£2,000), Parking Assistant Pro (£300), Black Sapphire metallic paint (£795)
      Insurance*: Group: 50/Quote: £3,822
      Mileage: 6,650
      Efficiency: 2.8 miles/kWh
      Any problems? None so far

      *Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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