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World Premiere: BMW iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive50 with 600 km range

Up until now, BMW’s recent electric vehicle announcements have been rather vague. BMW has given out roundabout, estimated numbers; power, performance, and price; without actually giving away any exact figures by which to judge its vehicles. Now, though, the Bavarians have released some details about its first-ever electric SUV. Welcome the all-new BMW iX xDrive40 and BMW iX xDrive50.

BMW iX xDrive50

Let’s start with the more expensive of the two, the BMW iX xDrive50, as it’s going to be the flagship model. Powering the iX xDrive50 will be a pair of electric motors, one at each axle. These motors are part of BMW’s fifth-gen eDrive power units, which combine the electric motor, transmission and all requisite electronics into one module.

The fifth-gen eDrive units make 30-percent more power than any previous BMW electric motor, while operating at 93-percent efficiency. They also use current-excited electric motors, rather than permanent-magnet motors, which entirely eliminates the need for rare earth materials.

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The two drive units will make around 370 kW (500 horsepower) and will be powered by a battery pack larger than 100 kWh. Oddly, BMW wasn’t specific as to the battery density, simply claiming it to be larger than 100 kWh. With that large battery, though, the BMW iX is said to have a range of 600 km (373 miles) on the WLTP-cycle.

For the U.S., BMW is claiming around 300 miles of range. The BMW iX xDrive50 is also said to have a 0-60 mph time of under five seconds, though BMW was again unspecific.

BMW iX xDrive40

As for the entry-level model, the BMW iX xDrive40, it will pack a smaller-density battery, with only 70 kWh. That smaller density will only allow for 400 km (249 miles) of range but that’s still better than the Audi e-tron SUV. The xDrive40 will also get dual electric motors, giving it all-wheel drive, but it will make fewer ponies, only 240 kW (300 horsepower). According to BMW, the xDrive40 will around six seconds to get from 0-60 mph.

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In terms of charging, both BMW iX models will have 200 kW charging speed on compatible DC fast chargers. At the moment, that’s faster than anything except the fastest of Teslas. At that speed, the BMW iX can go from 10-80 percent battery in just 40 minutes. There’s also a quick ten-minute fast charge, that can quickly 120 km (75 miles) of charge to the BMW iX xDrive50 or 90 km (56 miles) to the xDrive40.

Some of the cooler features available on the BMW iX will be the massive panoramic sunroof, which will be the largest sunroof fitted to any BMW model and will also come with electrostatic shading. There will also be a Bowers & Wilkins 4D surround sound system, with thirty speakers, eight of which are in the car’s headrests. Being 4D, there are also magnetically controlled shakers in the front seats.

As for pricing, in Germany, the BMW iX xDrive40 will start at 77,300 EUR, though BMW didn’t announce pricing for the xDrive50 model in its home market just yet. In the U.S. market, though, pricing for the BMW iX xDrive50 will begin in the mid-$80,000 range.

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However, BMW said nothing about the lesser xDrive40 model for the U.S. Regardless of market, expect BMW iX models’ pricing to coincide with those of the BMW X5. So the xDrive40 models will likely be similar to those of the BMW X5 xDrive40i and the BMW iX xDrive50 will likely be price closer to the X5 M50i, in all markets respectively.

The BMW iX is now positioned well to take on cars like the Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X. It’s priced similarly to those cars, in regards to specification, and packs competitive ranges, power, performance, and actually boasts class-leading charge speed in most regards.