The iX, previewed as the iNext concept in 2018, is the first BMW model to be based on an all-new technology toolkit conceived for electric mobility.
The aluminum space-frame body structure is a first for its segment, BMW said. The materials and manufacturing processes increase body rigidity and crash safety while keeping weight low.
BMW’s new large kidney grille is featured prominently. Since the electric-drive system requires only a small amount of cooling air, the grille is closed off and hides a suite of sensors including cameras and radar required for automated driving features.
The iX’s computer can process 20 times the data volume of previous models.
The increase in computing power sets the iX up for achieving a higher level of automated driving when artificial intelligence needed to handle the task is ready to be deployed in customer vehicles, said Conrad Layson, an analyst with AutoForecast Solutions.
“The sensors will have to communicate with the AI faster and more often with higher levels of vehicle autonomy,”
Layson said. “With the new iX, BMW takes a step away from ‘the ultimate driving machine’ and toward what could be the ‘ultimate mobility machine.’ ”
The grille is bookended by the slimmest headlight units on a series-production BMW. Daytime driving lights, with integrated turn signals, have a new design as two-dimensional strips along the upper edge of headlights.
The iX has doors with frameless windows and electric door handles that fit flush into the door surfaces.