As with the exterior, the interior represents a new direction in design. Opening the frameless driver’s door reveals the lightweight construction methods through swathes of unpainted carbonfibre concentrated within the sills, pillars and other sections of the inner body structure.
The first thing that grabs your attention, though, is the hexagonal steering wheel. The screens for the digital dials and infotainment, meanwhile, are grouped together on a single free-standing curved display atop the low-mounted dashboard.
The latter can be controlled via touch or conversational speech commands as well as BMW’s traditional rotary controller, which was fashioned from crystal glass on the iX we tested. Buyers can also specify gesture control.
BMW has further refined its iDrive system for the iX, which is the first model to receive an eighth-generation version. One notable change is a separate climate menu that can be accessed at all times without you having to dig deep into the menu layers.
Thanks to the long wheelbase, there’s no shortage of rear-seat accommodation. But due to the flat floor and subsequent lack of footwells, your feet are positioned quite a bit higher than in other CLAR-based BMWs. Perhaps oddly, given the size of the iX, there’s no option of a third row of seats.
Boot space, meanwhile, is a somewhat disappointing 500 litres (160 less than in the rival Audi E-tron and 150 less than in the X5), due to a high floor necessitated by the packaging of the charging system. This increases to 1750 litres when the split-folding rear seats are stowed.
A full-length glass roof with optional control that allows you to automatically dim the amount of sunlight entering makes for a bright environment inside. BMW has also included a lot of recycled materials within the interior. The material used for the seat coverings, for example, is a microfibre fabric made of polyester.
The driving experience of the iX is predictably well distinguished from that of the X5, and not only on account of the electric powertrain. The emphasis is on comfort and refinement – both of which are clear strengths. There will be more powerful versions of the iX promising greater performance in time, but the balance struck by the xDrive50 should suit a wide range of potential buyers. Step-off is sharp in Sport mode – but isn’t kick-in-the-back aggressive, like some battery-propelled rivals. Rather, it has been programmed to deliver a smooth surge of propulsion from the off, after which it gathers speed very smartly.