Damn good. With 516 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, it’s delightfully quick, both standing still and on the road. It’s fast enough to let you dive into gaps or do other moves you might not have considered before. There’s an M60 version that packs even more power, but honestly it’s not necessary; the accompanying range sacrifice is a bigger loss than the extra juice is a draw
Turn the wheel and you’ll discover an unexpected surprise: precise steering and taut handling, more in tune with a sedan than most SUVs. Some credit certainly goes to the giant 111.5kWh battery that keeps the center of gravity so low, but a lot also deserves to go to the suspension and chassis engineers whose work keeps this trapeze’s mass down so well. controlled even under extreme stress. (My tester came with the Sport Package and the Dynamic Driving Package, for what it’s worth, so it was about as boogie as an iX xDrive50 can get.) If all Bimmers were still just as fun to drive, they could perhaps reclaim some legitimacy for their slogan.
Speaking of said battery, it deserves a special mention, as its size plays a key role in the iX’s downright impressive range. I took the iX on a weekend trip from New York to Washington DC and back, a trip of about 225 miles, and even though I had planned for primary and secondary quick-charge points along the way, I didn’t need to worry about it. Even in the summer heat with the air conditioning on, with traffic alternating between fast freeways (New Jersey), intolerable intermittent traffic (Delaware), and a mix of the two (Maryland), the iX’s full battery would have carried about 320 -340 miles, according to the display and my calculations. At this point, worries about distance anxiety start to fade quickly, at least in my experience.
Slowing down is reassuring and rewarding, thanks to a combination of powerful physical brakes and a regenerative braking system. The active regeneration feature is particularly – and unexpectedly – delicious; using the cruise control’s radar system, it monitors the distance between you and vehicles ahead and dials in the appropriate amount of brake regeneration. If the road is open in front of you, lifting the throttle allows you to roll freely; if there’s a car in front of you, releasing pressure on the accelerator slows the iX down accordingly. It’s seamless, intuitive, and enhances your experience without you having to think about it, like the best technology always does.