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Our Long-Term BMW iX Was Weird, Wonderful and Worry-Free

In which we say goodbye to one of our favorite long-term testers

Long-Term BMW iX front three-quarter
  • After 17,000-plus miles, it's time to say goodbye to our long-term BMW iX xDrive50.
  • This oddly styled SUV won us over with its great interior and unflappable driving dynamics.
  • We loved everything about this EV — except maybe its $102,070 price tag.

Since I'm the one tasked with bidding our long-term 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 adieu, I'm going to kick off with a dissenting opinion: I freakin' love the way this thing looks. BMW gets a lot of crap for its recent designs, and while I agree that some (like the 4 Series) aren't great, I'm a fan of cars that embrace weirdness from every angle. The iX is one of those. The XM is another. I'm the only person at Edmunds who feels this way, but you know, it's time the iX got the credit it deserves. It's my story and I love it. You're all wrong. Anyway.

Here's the thing, though: Even my co-workers who are extremely wrong with their styling opinions will admit that they're sad to see the BMW iX leave our long-term fleet. Many of our current electric test cars irritate us with their constant faults and foibles. But the iX? It just worked. All of the time. What a concept. Add to that great driving dynamics, solid range, useful tech and a bangin' interior, and it's no wonder the iX was a staff favorite during its year and a half in our care.

What we got

At Edmunds, we buy a lot of our long-term cars, but the iX was loaned to us by BMW. So we didn't really get to go wild and option this one ourselves, yet everyone agreed that our spec was pretty much perfect.

The iX xDrive50 is powered by a 111.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and a pair of electric motors, cranking out 516 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque. That's more than enough shove for a crossover of this size, and in our testing we recorded a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds — an 0.2-second improvement on BMW's 4.4-second claim.

Our test vehicle was delivered to us with 22-inch wheels, a $1,600 Dynamic Handling package (air suspension FTW), $1,150 Luxury package (glass controls FTW), $4,000 Premium package (surround-view camera FTW) and $3,400 Bowers & Wilkins stereo (which deserves its own FTW). We also got the $2,800 Sport pack, $950 Radiant Heating pack (we deserve it), $1,700 Active Driving Assistant Pro system and $1,000 adaptive LED headlights. Subtract $175 for the passenger lumbar control that should've been on our test car — hey, remember the chip shortage? — and we arrive at our tester's $102,070 MSRP, which includes $995 for destination.

2022 BMW iX front

What we liked

Everyone dug the interior. The colors, the materials, the layout of the controls ... the vibes, as they say, were quite good.

"I really like the seats," noted editor Jake Sundstrom. "They're comfortable, even after sitting in them for a long time, and putting the seat adjusters by the door handles is really intuitive. A minor complaint about BMWs in the past is how tough it's been to find a comfortable seating position; I just don't have that problem in the iX."

"Notably, our test vehicle has the base bluish/gray microfiber-and-cloth upholstery, and even this is respectably upscale," wrote senior manager of written content Brent Romans. "BMW extends this upholstery to the dashboard, which I think is cool. When you switch to the available synthetic leather or real leather seat upholstery in the iX, the dash becomes black."

"The Radiant Heating package costs $950 but I promise you it is well worth it," noted senior editor and finicky car-cabin commenter Clint Simone. "This adds rapid heating to the front seats and even better, heated armrests. I'll be direct: The iX has the best heated seat experience of any car I've ever tested. With this option added, they heat up in less than 10 seconds and the armrests are just wonderful. The overall experience is so cozy and plush you can't help but love it. This might seem like a small thing, but in the luxury car world, it's the little details that make all the difference."

BMW iX seats

We also loved the real-world range. "This thing's got more range than Rory McIlroy teeing off at the Masters Tournament," said Romans, probably while making one of those swinging-golf-club gestures, or at least I assume. "The EPA says to expect 315 miles of range from a full charge, and we officially recorded 377 miles in a different iX as part of our standardized real-world EV range test. We haven't gone that far in our long-term iX (yet) but it's pretty obvious from driving it that it's got the legs. I personally drove it 298 miles before stopping to charge, with an indicated 23 miles left to go. Plus, a majority of those miles were on the highway, which is rarely kind to EV range."

Officially, the EPA said our car's energy consumption should average 39 kWh per 100 miles, but our lifetime average was 36.1 kWh per 100 miles. That's a 7.4% improvement over the EPA's estimate.

Director of vehicle testing Jonathan Elfalan really sums it up best: "The BMW iX is my favorite long-termer in our current fleet. As a family of four with two young kids, it really checks all the boxes for an all-in-one vehicle. It's quiet, rides incredibly well, has loads of passenger and cargo space, and is fast enough to satisfy your g-craving every once in a while. Not to mention the range on this means I can go days without worrying about charging, yet it supports nearly 200 kW of DC fast-charge power, so you can top off quickly when you need it."

BMW iX at a charging station

What we didn't

OK, everyone except me hated the way this car looked from the outside. But the good news is, once you're behind the wheel, you can't see the, uh, polarizing design. Aside from that styling hatred, there wasn't another attribute of the iX that garnered frowny faces. Just, you know, little things.

"The windows in the iX roll down too slowly," wrote video manager and noted nitpicker Will Kaufman. "I timed it, and it takes about 5 seconds for the front windows to roll fully down. For comparison, on my wife's CR-V, it takes about 2.5 seconds. Rolling up takes the same 5 seconds on the BMW, where it takes about 3 on the CR-V. Two and half seconds extra to roll the window down doesn't sound like much, but, what if you work in an office where you badge in and out of a parking lot twice a day? If you work the average 260 days a year, that means you roll down your window 520 times a year every time you enter or exit the parking lot (assuming you don't drive to lunch). Those extra 2.5 seconds add up to a cumulative 21.6 minutes a year! That's an extra 21.6 minutes every year you'll spend just trying to get in and out of the work parking lot!"

BMW iX glass controls

"Getting back into the BMW iX after a couple of months and I'm instantly reminded of how annoying the gesture controls are," said associate vehicle testing manager Rex Tokeshi-Torres. "Kaufman and I went out to grab a quick lunch [and time the windows?—Ed.] and upon shifting the iX into reverse, the act of moving my hand down to the shifter was identified as a gesture control movement and switched the radio stations."

"Man, the latest iDrive 8 system in our iX is a challenge to learn," Romans noted. "I've had to consult the on-screen owner's manual to try and figure out how to change settings or find features on a couple of occasions now. The basic premise is still the same — there's a control knob and on-screen menus that flow from left to right — but somehow it's gotten more complicated. There seems to be more steps involved, and there are simply more features to tinker with."

On the whole, we loved driving our iX, but the steering drew some ire from several staffers. "The steering isn't just numb, it's dead from a novocaine overdose," said Kaufman, and editor Sundstrom described the steering as "ridiculously light."

We didn't even really like the shape of the steering wheel itself. "In real-world driving, the iX's hexagonal shape feels weird in my hands when I'm making turns or parking," wrote Romans. "I haven't gotten used to it even after weeks of driving."

BMW iX at dealership service bay

What went wrong

We had to take the iX to the dealer for one scheduled recall early on in its time with us. "The recall was for a software update that can prevent the monitoring of the high-voltage battery charging process from failing and, in turn, avoid sudden loss of power or stalling," wrote editorial assistant Albert Hernandez. "This update required us to take our iX to a service center where it stayed overnight. The next day BMW ordered us an Uber, and we picked up our car. There was no cost to us. The whole process was short and smooth."

The only other issue was kind of a weird one: We noticed our right passenger-side tire was wearing much quicker than the other tires. And just as we were about to take it to the dealer to get the tire replaced, we got a flat on the highway. Replacing the Bridgestone Alenza tire cost $652.50 including labor, and we were back on our way.

2022 BMW iX rear

Edmunds says

Look, just because we can't all agree on the fact that the iX looks fab, one thing's for sure: We'd all welcome another iX in our long-term fleet again. Comfortable, spacious, nice to drive, easy to live with and — crucially — hassle-free, the iX is exactly what a premium electric SUV should be.

Here's hoping BMW takes more daring chances and keeps vehicles like the iX in its EV portfolio moving forward.