BMW iX xDrive40 review

Not shy of tech

₹ 1,32,00,000

(on-road, Mumbai)

After you soak in the view and spend a few minutes in the presence of the BMW iX, you’re left scratching your head. And still polarised. Undeniably futuristic yet impossible to fall in love with, it’s different and quirky and those are the kindest words I can think of for its buck-toothed, granny-hipped design. What does work in its favour are the elements BMW has imported from 2045 such as the slimmest headlights ever to adorn a Bimmer’s face, the hexagonal steering, the single pane electro-chromatic sunroof, the “shy tech” that cleverly hides essential tech behind some truly innovative materials and the exposed bits of carbon fibre that go into making this luxury all-electric SUV. The first all-electric from BMW to have 4WD by the way!


A dashboard design like no other BMW sets it apart, instantly. Both, from its stablemates and the competition. BMW’s “shy tech” hides things cleverly that are seldom used or needed. The BMW roundel logo on the hood is actually a conduit for filling up the windshield washer fluid! Inside the cabin, door handles are replaced with opening buttons that unlock and free the doors, but also warn you of obstacles before pushing them out manually. The concealed speakers behind swathes of sustainable materials on the door pads make for a rich-looking interior. Of course, the cut crystal bits add a layer of sheen on top of all this and maybe a hit or miss, depending on personal preference.

The floating centre console’s top plate is finished in light wood with the icons etched into the wood itself and looks fantastic along with the crystal volume dial, drive selector and iDrive wheel. I’m glad the iDrive controller has been retained because as sharp and crisp as the 14.9-inch curved infotainment screen is while driving, it’s just inconvenient to reach out to the top left of the screen to select options. The upshot of this design and having a born-electric platform is the space that has been freed up in the cabin. Wireless charging pad with storage options, USB-C ports galore and a flat floor in the front and second row create an airy ambience that makes driving or riding in one quite the experience.

Amongst the unique tech highlights is the augmented reality Maps view on the instrument cluster which overlays navigation information on top of a live feed from the front camera, making it easier to decipher the directions for bunched-up flyovers or narrow bylanes. Another cool feature that has evolved further from BMW’s ICE-powered cars is the Live Vehicle graphic display on the infotainment screen. It shows you the driving data in real-time, letting you know when you’re using energy or putting charge back into the batteries, as you lift off. Every detail from all the exterior lights to the steering wheel input is precisely translated on the animated version of the car.

Powered by BMW OS8, it gains the ability to mimic a lot of your phone apps, including Zoom and Meetings and many others that challenge the very idea of being in a moving vehicle, but some may find a use case for this. Cluttered is one way of putting it, but the OS8 is also not the easiest to decipher while on the move. You can choose from various moods such as Expressive, Personal, Efficient, Digital Art and Sport..but some only vary the graphics and information overload on the displays whereas some also alter driving characteristics. It’s all a bit much when you just want to get in and drive. This clearly is a car with a learning curve and it starts with getting used to the angular gauges for the instrument cluster along with a customisation menu that relies more on graphics than a gamer’s PC. A bit OTT and unnecessary, but definitely worth exploring if you want your car to have your own stamp all over it. There’s an HUD which was kept off for driving around Mumbai, because you know…Mumbai!

Having dissed most artificial and synthesized “engine sounds” for EV cabins, the iX employs none other than Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer to break this spell. And it works! Pedal to the carbon-fibre and it sounds like an SR-72 Darkstar and you will feel like Maverick too! There’s even a Hans Zimmer sampler to test out the mega sound system by Harman Kardon and overall, the effect is futuristic, yet not alien like another EVs.


The ultimate electric machine now eschews the petrol engine for an electric motor on each axle to make a total of 326hp. Supported by a 76.6kWh battery mounted on the floor of the iX to maintain the famed 50:50 weight distribution of all BMWs, the iX gets a move on, rapidly. It dismisses the first 100 in under 6.5secs and retardation will recuperate charge back into the batteries in a variety of ways. The simplest method is to toggle the drive selector beyond D, into the B position where the recuperation is at its most aggressive, calibrated for single-pedal driving. In stop-go traffic, it works but at slow speeds it’s too intrusive, leading to head butts every time you lift off the throttle. Using the D mode and keeping the energy recovery in Adaptive mode is the most natural feeling and closest to an ICE-powered driving experience. Only quieter and quicker. The twin motors of the iX xDrive40 propel it off a standing start like a Gazelle running away from Gordon Ramsey and will shock and awe the occupants. Especially, if they’ve never been in a big EV before. Under hard braking or cornering, you will feel the weight shift around and it won’t be mistaken for an M340i, for example. But give it big, luxury SUV kinda respect and it will reward with dynamics that will surprise given its girth.

It scores big on ride comfort and practicality over pathetic city roads, never once scraping its heavy underbelly and keeping things plush and level on the inside. Even on the gigantic 21in wheels! Piloting this luxo barge is actually fun, thanks to the instantaneous synapses from the throttle pedal, the brilliant feeling steering wheel and the captivating 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system pumping out 655 watts. Replete with 3D speakers integrated into the rear headrests that chime in subtly for a more enveloping sound field and a subwoofer that really means business, you could easily be stuck at the toll booth for hours without ever complaining. And yes, there is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support like with all BMWs.

The ambient light isn’t anywhere near the drama of the Mercedes EQE-SUV but it is functional, glowing red around the doors if you try to egress with an obstacle in your blind spot. But also like on the modern Mercs, the automatic emergency braking kicks in unannounced in our traffic conditions and I found myself making mental notes to switch it off every time I drive off. BMW’s parking tech is ace though, backing up automatically into complex nooks without any assistance from the driver. It remembers its path for the last 50mts and retraces it. Clever stuff.


Capable of both AC and DC charging, all I had at my disposal was the 11kW AC charger in our office that did the job well and the BMW’s display clearly and conveniently shows the time to 100% charge. In my week-long stint with the iX, it was used primarily for in-city commuting, mostly during peak hours and a range of around 300kms was easily possible on a single charge with the Adaptive mode of recuperation. It will accept DC charge up to 150kW if you can find the necessary charging equipment but for most home uses, the 7-hour window from 0-100% is very respectable and depending on how you drive (and where), you can get closer to the claimed 450km range.


The BMW iX XDrive40 is a template for future EVs from BMW and it’s evident from its concept-car-like interior, exterior and material choices. It rides almost like a Range Rover over bumps and will still offer some thrills for the driver like expected from a BMW. Seats, though they miss cooling or ventilation in the India spec car, offer massage options and can keep you comfortable over inter-city commutes as well. It may not have the range of competing Mercs, but as with all EVs, that is largely a function of how they’re driven as well. If you like to be ahead of the curve and want a dose of practicality too, the iX should be in your mix of contenders.

Stuff Says

A head turner for more reasons than one, the BMW iX is a slice of the future but easy enough to live with today.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Space optimization, cabin design and finish

  1. Power delivery from the twin motors

  1. Ride comfort and 190mm ground clearance

  1. Exterior design polarising

  1. OS8 makes menu system too cluttered

  1. Range could be better

Motor: Twin
Battery: 76.6kWh
Power: 326hp/630Nm
Range: 450kms (claimed)
Acceleration: 0-100km/hr in 6.1secs
Wheels: 255/50 R21