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July 22, 2023

Review: 2023 BMW iX xDrive40

Different. Unhinged. Ugly. The BMW iX, inside and out, is one of the most polarizing new cars on sale today. It’s the foil to the BMW iX3 M Sport which is luxury EV motoring at its most incognito. This one is what happens when a carmaker decides to flip the script, going for tech above everything else. While their approach is about 95 percent agreeable, the remaining five perfect makes you question whether they should have done something like this in the first place.

In terms of foundation alone, the BMW iX isn’t constructed like a regular car. Using a combination of aluminum, high-strength steel, and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (BMW calls it Carbon Cage), the resulting body shell is 80 kilograms lighter than the brand’s own large SUV, the X5. Space-age its materials may be, but it is still a portly SUV with its 2,440-kilogram curb weight.

Then again, the culprit here is down to the 76.6-kWh battery pack. Now, that sizeable battery pack should equate to a maximum cruising range of 425 kilometers per WLTP estimates. In the Philippine setting, that drops down to 368 kilometers thanks to its 4.8 km/kWh figure (average speed of 17 km/h).

With 326 horsepower and 630 Nm on tap, the iX is quite fast for its size and weight. It won’t be lighting any dragstrip on fire, but jab down on the accelerator and there’s a satisfactory whoosh all the way to triple digit speeds. Straight-line performance is typical EV, but with an added twist. Normally, there’s no aural feedback that accompanies the surge in speed, but here, there’s a Hans Zimmer-composed soundtrack called BMW Iconic Sounds. It’s eerie with a very 2001: A Space Odyssey vibe. Thankfully, there are no killer onboard computers here.

Instead, what the complex computers on the BMW iX has done is to give it surprisingly good handling. In most situations, it’s adept at being tossed around. With a low center of gravity, it’s secure, planted, and composed through bends with just a slight hint of body roll. It’s only during more extreme maneuvers or through tight, twisty switchbacks (or anywhere where there’s a constant shift of weight) does its mass work against it. The steering too isn’t BMW finest, but at least there’s a good degree of precision engineered in.

If anything, long-distance cruising is what the BMW iX does best. With its adaptive dampers, the ride is flat and well-controlled. There are times it’ll get unsettled, especially over badly-patched roads, but nothing to upset its general composure. Also, the interior’s seriously quiet. There’s hardly any motor whine, while wind and road noise are well muted. If anything, the biggest complaint here is the lane-assist steering interference which is too hyperactive for Philippine roads.

So far, the iX stays close to what’s expected of a BMW: being excellent to drive. Granted driver involvement isn’t so high here, but because the calibration of the various controls and systems is so intuitive, it’s still quite satisfying. What’s all the fuss about then? Well, just look at it.

It’s not BMW’s finest work to be honest; heck, it’s not even close. It’s different though with the weirdness dialed up to eleven. The most controversial (aka ugliest) part here is the nose. That huge not-a-grille is covered in plastic that self-heals after scratching. Maybe BMW expects physical attacks? The schnoz aside, the rest of the car is unique but less contentious like the sealed off engine bay, frameless doors, aero-covered wheels, and electronically-actuated door handles.

Climb aboard and the same sort of weirdness is found inside. The materials are simply upscale and sustainable thanks to leather tanned using olive leaves and carpeting that uses partially recycled ocean plastic, but the way everything comes together pushes the envelop of car interior design to the fringes. Compared to the cockpit feel of traditional BMWs, this one goes for an open, straight-edged theme filled with diagonal detailing. It’s very lounge-like in its look and feel, down to the blended two-piece display that’s held up by bracketing akin to a living room LED TV.

The screen itself is one part instrument cluster (12.3-inch) and one part touchscreen (14.9-inch). It also happens to use the latest generation BMW iDrive system. The driver display itself is configurable (just don’t ask for traditional round dials), while the center screen is maximized with a tile-like structure that shows several widgets at once. Other functions are buried in a smartphone-like app drawer. Scrolling and tapping through them feels overwhelming at first, but given time, the entire menu is logically arranged. Plus, the sharp graphics and quick responses help lower the learning curve.

It’s also great that the BMW iX hasn’t done away with physical controls altogether. There’s still a rotary dial between the front seats. Scrolling through the menus with the click wheel is far easier than having to tap the screen on the move, but there are limitations. For instance, the wheel only understands clockwise or counterclockwise movements. Flicking the wheel to the left is always “Back,” while flicking it to the right is always “Confirm.”

Getting comfortable in the BMW iX is easy since the steering wheel and driver’s seat offer plenty of adjustment. The driving position is superb, but the front seats though don’t offer enough laterally support. Also, the once-piece seats have these hard inserts which can tend to knock heads from time to time.

Now, because it’s designed from the ground-up to be an EV, it manages to maximize space throughout. It’s extremely roomy front or back with a flat floor. There’s also an impressive amount of storage spaces dotting the cabin too. At the back, the cargo hold is generous, but not vast. The rakish tailgate also happens to reduce the effective length of the load bay, but thankfully the rear seats can be dropped in a 40/20/40 split. There’s also a compartment under the cargo hold, but that’s where things like the charger cable and even the tire inflator also go; the iX doesn’t use run-flats.

Controversy never seems to stray far from BMW these days, and the iX has certainly become part of that. It’s supposed to sit atop the company’s hierarchy as its technology flagship, but what everyone seems to talk about and remember is the sheer weirdness of its design. Still, get beyond the looks and there’s plenty to like. It offers a vast amount of tech and is beautifully appointed inside. It also happens to be spacious, comfortable, and quick.

2023 BMW iX xDrive40

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Bottom Line
Pros Tons of tech, high quality interior, spacious.
Cons Ugly looks, not a sharp handler.
TL;DR Get beyond the divisive looks, and you've got an EV with plenty to like.
Year Introduced 2022
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
8 years (for high-voltage battery)
The Basics
Body Type Large SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Motor Type Electrically Excited Synchronous Motor x 2
Maximum Output (BHP) 326 (combined)
Maximum Torque (Nm) 630 (combined)
Battery Size (kWh) 76.6
Architecture (V) 400
Range, WLTP (km) 425
Range, As Tested (km) 368
Energy Consumption (km/kWh) 4.8 (average 17 km/h)
Estimated Charging Time, 1-Phase AC (0-100%) 11 hours
Estimated Charging Time, DC (10-80%) 0.51 hours
Charge Port Type 2 / CCS
Transmission Single Speed AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,953
Width (mm) 1,967
Height (mm) 1,695
Wheelbase (mm) 3,000
Curb Weight (kg) 2,440
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone (Adaptive)
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link (Adaptive)
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electronic, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Alenza 001 Enlighten 255/50 R 21 Y (f & r)
Recommend Tire Pressure (PSI) 32 front / 35 rear (partially loaded)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 8
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Descent Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Acoustic Protection for Pedestrians
Forward Collision Warning
Lane Departure Warning w/ Steering Intervention
Blind Spot Warning w/ Steering Intervention
Emergency Braking for Sides, Rear
Automatic Parking
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Rear (LED)
Light Operation Auto
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Power, w/ Hands-Free
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Electric
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 40/20/40 Split-Fold, Reclining, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display Yes, 12.3-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold, Auto-dimming (Driver Side)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control 4-Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 12, Harman Kardon
Steering Controls Yes


  1. While the iX3 is made in China, I believe the iX is made in Germany.

  2. The exterior makes me cry. 😭😭😭

  3. BMW's on a roll with making their kidney grille designs uglier, evolving to a full on pig snout.


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