If you were to start with a blank piece of paper and set out to design a car that is as repellent as possible to the Fully Charged audience, it’s highly likely you’d end up with something that looked an awful lot like the new BMW iX.
Big, excessive and entirely out of reach for the vast majority of people, it’s precisely the type of car you lot get the most cross about. Yet another expensive, electric SUV joining an already well-stocked segment, while the economy EV space continues to be frustratingly overlooked.
So why on Earth am I covering it then? Just to wind you all up? To invite a tirade of angry comments and mass unsubscribing? Certainly not. I’m covering it because, whether you can afford one or not, the iX is important to you.
You see, much like high fashion provides an extreme and exaggerated snapshot of what we normal consumers will eventually buy on the highstreet, BMW’s new electric flagship has the same relationship with an incoming wave of smaller, cheaper E-Bimmers. It is a showcase of technologies and (alas) design language that will soon adorn cars that we mere mortals might actually be able to afford.
Now I grant you, it would be better if BMW and everyone else just got on with making the smaller, cheaper EVs we so crave right now. But it would also be better if beer was nutritious and England had won the Euros this summer.
Sadly, this is not the case. And while we are entirely entitled to our shared frustrations at the glacial speed at which so many OEMs are transitioning to electric, while we’re waiting, we may as well take a look at their current offerings and gleam what we can about the future.
And actually, aside from its harrowing face, the lessons from the iX are extremely positive. It drives great, the interior design is delightfully odd, the new iDrive system is outstanding, and the Hans Zimmer-composed electric whirry noises it makes are a right laugh. All of this will, I hope, apply to the entry-level electric 1 Series when it eventually rocks up some time between now and the end of the century.
This is why we will continue covering halo cars like the iX on the Fully Charged channel. It’s not because I just really enjoy zipping about in 115 grand’s worth of drug dealer’s wet dream from time to time – although I very much do.
It’s because cars like the iX provide us with the best information available as to what the electric cars we really want will look like when they do finally arrive.