first conceptualized at the LA auto show 2018, the BMW vision iNEXT envisaged your favorite space – a technology rich yet highly personal car and cabin experience. it imagined a space subtly integrated with shy tech to enable infinite tailored possibilities. this future is not far from reality though. in fact, the brand announced that the production model, the BMW iX, will be on our roads by the end of 2021. shown at the group’s #NEXTGen 2020 digital event, which provided a unique look ahead to the future of mobility, the vehicle heralds as their new technology flagship. it unites innovations in electric mobility, automated driving and intelligent connectivity.
stay tuned to designboom as we delve into the evolution of the BMW iX’s design in an insightful video series from the #NEXTGen 2020.
‘we were able to translate all of the ideas from the concept car into the iX for production,‘ clarifies adrian van hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group design, to designboom. ‘we were able to integrate smart materials to give more functionality to those that were formerly only decorative. for example, a beautiful open-pore wood surface lines the center console but, hidden underneath, there are micro-switches. also, a completely transparent glass object sits atop as if a crowning piece of jewellery, but it doubles as the drive controller with touch functionality so users can scroll, spell and control displays. these smart materials meant we were able to reduce visual clutter, improve aesthetics and add even more functionality without just removing elements.
we wanted to create an interior that is more like a living space on wheels than a traditional car design. and I believe we have achieved that,’ adds the designer.
the BMW iX has been designed from the inside out. it enhances a newly developed architecture made from an aluminum spaceframe construction with a carbon cage. this lightweight design optimizes the car’s efficiency and range, but it also maximizes the space in the cabin. the result is a highly spacious lounge-like interior for five passengers, which includes new front seats and a rear bench that all appear as if sculptured pieces of furniture. this impression of grandeur in size and quality continues as the center tunnel has been removed in favor to afford extra legroom and storage. to finish, a panoramic glass roof – the largest ever fitted into a BMW Group model – spans the entire length.
its reduced, uncluttered and clear design language further accentuates the interior’s character of refined luxury. a curved screen – made of a 12.3-inch informational display and 14.9-inch control display – spans across the dashboard. these displays take center stage as the controls are stripped down to its essentials. an innovative rocker switch gear selection and touch controlled surface subdivided by feeler bars, are positioned on the center console. multifunctional buttons feature sparingly on the hexagonal steering wheel – a first for the Group’s series-produced vehicles. its track-inspired contour improves ease of access as well as the driver’s view of the curved screen.
a mix of high quality, recycled or natural materials, such as FSC-certified wood and leather tanned with olive leaf extract, adorn the clean architecture of the cabin. there is even the option for bold specifications like open-pore wood and controls with a polished crystal finish. shy tech almost invisibly integrates an added layer across these rich, seemingly traditional surfaces. they reveal new onboard options to help passengers use the time whilst moving – for relaxation, entertainment, security and more. the technology weaves speakers and intricately styled air vents into the surface panels. heated tech also runs beneath and through the materials. the result prompts user wellbeing through its technological prowess and spaciousness – all topped off with sustainability elements.
through powerful proportions, the BMW iX redefines the sports activity vehicle concept with the length and width of the X5, height of the X6 and the wheel dimension of the X7. across its body, though, the car evokes a minimalist design that is still imposing. this is through a reduced use of character lines in favor of generously shaped surfaces and almost rectangular contours, which are especially noticeably around the wheel arches. from its side view, the forward-slanting C-pillar highlights the vehicle’s dynamic silhouette. hallmark details of the BMW i family feature towards the rear, such as the side window graphic and the transition into the back end.
the exterior’s reduced design language steers the eye to the details, which accentuate its sophisticated, premium image. at the front, the vertical and almost enclosed BMW kidney grille serves, in fact, as an intelligence panel with built-in sensors, camera and radar technology for advanced driver assistance systems. it also adorns the slimmest headlights see on a BMW. the LED rear lights mirrors its distinctive, thin appearance. flush-fitted door openers, which activate at the touch of a button, support frameless windows whilst at the back, the tailgate has no separation joints to make the body appear as if one continuous surface. accents in BMW i blue highlight its electric core and complement the choice of exterior paint, which includes a standout titanium bronze option.
the exterior design hints at the car’s overall dynamism as well as efficiency. and the fifth generation of BMW edrive technology delivers a performance to exceed these expectations. two electric motors with a maximum combined output of more than 500hp (370kw) powers it from 0-62mph (100k/mh) in under 5 seconds. the high-voltage battery then ensures a range of over 373 miles (600km). DC fast charging at up to 200kw allows this to energize from 10-80% capacity in 40 minutes as well as only taking 10 minutes to add 75 miles (120km) of range, in case of emergencies. it takes less than 11 hours to charge the battery from 0-100% at an 11kw wallbox.
as an all-encompassing sustainability flagship, the electric motor of the BMW iX is manufactured without using raw materials. furthermore, the power used to produce the battery cells and vehicle as a whole is generated from renewable sources.
‘every i model acts as a marker for BMW in a certain vehicle class. each one becomes an icon of new ideas, both from technological and design points of view. the iX does this for the SUV category,‘ concludes adrian van hooydonk.
transition into the age of individual mobility with the BMW iX. stay tuned to designboom for more design insights.
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