By Clive Funziwe
The move to electric powered cars has obviously had many car companies release various derivatives and models of electric cars. Some are very good and some, not so good. We recently tested the BMW iX xDrive 50 which certainly falls under the very good category. Let’s start with the best news.
Powering the beast is a 111.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that produces 385kW/765Nm and propels it from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds. In reality it feels much quicker, with its instantaneous power. Better than the speed, is the claimed range of 550 – 630kms.
The reality that South Africa sits with, barring the known electricity generation crisis – is that the distribution of charging stations, especially fast chargers, are few and far between. Apart from the latter, our time with the BMW was a marvel. We took delivery of the car at around 70% range. To get a fair sense of the battery and how it lasts, we commence the testing by charging it using a DC-to-DC charger and had the battery on full. The stated range was 610km and when the car was collected, we had done 480kms with about 120kms still showing. This is the best range we have gotten out of the electric cars we have tested.
Other good news are around the car itself. The iX represents a strong expression of what the future looks like in car design and execution. Because of the batteries being housed as the floor of the car, it creates a base that is easier to work with in creating more legroom for the front and rear passengers and there are no ‘floor humps’ across the cabin. Road noise is quieter and the car feels a lot more isolated which equates to a relaxing and tranquil journey. Adding to the leisurely ride, are the driver aid systems like the radar guided cruise control, lane keep assist, park distant control, electronically adjustable seats, automatic climate control for all passengers, ample charging sockets with an additional wireless charger. The now ubiquitous Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wirelessly supported.
There is also a virtual reality navigation system that applies arrows to an on-screen camera displaying the road you are travelling on. Voice commands also use two different sets of voices for directions and warnings that are announced through the impressive Bowers & Wilkins Active speaker system – imperceptible but brilliant.
The rest of the cabin is laid out with premium materials all around and over a futuristic design that remains ergonomically sound. We also appreciated how inert the cabin felt. This helps a lot as the car has frameless doors and we did not get the feeling of the car ‘flexing’ over undulations and uneven road surfaces – Impressive build quality.
The BMW iX xDrive is top-drawer product and a fine example of an electric car that brings the future to the now with no hassle. A highly recommended product for anyone who seeks a car around the R2,177,000 that the iX is priced from.
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