Monday, 25 March 2024 06:16

BMW iX2 review - Driving Experience, Design, Build and more...

Another BMW EV, this time a small, very trendy one, the iX2. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at what's on offer.

Ten Second Review

The market's first fully electric compact coupe crossover is this car, the iX2. It's basically an iX1 in drag of course, but there's a little more to the iX2 that that. It's sharper to drive and has a degree or two more of the personality missing from its EV showroom stablemate. So many small EVs today are disappointingly sterile in character. This one at least, is a little different.

Background

For most of the last decade, BMW's smallest full-electric offering was the innovative and charismatic little i3. For any who might have found its conventional-looking iX1 replacement in 2022 a touch on the dull side, the Munich maker has brought us this, the iX2.

As with the combustion-powered second generation X2, BMW's tried to do a little more here than simply provide a sleeker-looking version of the model that sired it, in this case the iX1. So we're promised sportier handling to go with the trendier Coupe-SUV visual vibe. The price here might be pushing up towards the kind of level that would get you a slightly larger lower mid-sized EV crossover. But the Bavarian brand hopes that this iX2's combination of looks, life and fashion might make you want one anyway.

Driving Experience

Initially, the iX2 is only being offered in top xDrive30 form, which has two electric motors, AWD and 313hp (62mph in 5.6s). Drive range is up to 266 miles, though to achieve that, you'd have to select the most frugal 'Efficient' MyMode drive setting and make full use of all the various provided energy recuperation settings. There are selectable high, medium or low braking energy recovery settings, or you can simply leave the system in its automatic adaptive setting. Do that and thanks to intelligent networking, the drive system can use navigation and driver assistance system data to adjust how much power is recuperated, according to the respective traffic situation.

As with the combustion X2, sharp Sport steering is standard, as is adaptive M Suspension with adjustable and frequency-selective dampers. The Bavarians have also included rear actuator wheel slip limitation to maximise agility, with a traction control system integrated into the engine management. This allows corrective inputs to be applied up to ten times faster than with conventional systems, benefiting traction, poise and handling stability. The suspension system's been designed with special axle kinematics and lift-related damping on the front axle. And there's a powerful integrated braking system with four-piston fixed-caliper front discs.

Design and Build

Visually, this iX2 isn't much differentiated from its combustion-powered X2 showroom stablemate. The front is dominated by an enormous pair of blanked-off kidney grilles which can be illuminated and are flanked by LED headlights that extend back into the flared front arches. In profile, the roof line slopes back dramatically, before being truncated by a blunt rear end. Striking? Certainly. Pretty? Not so much.

And inside? Well if you've tried the iX1, you'll know what to expect: a very avant garde cabin based around a curved glass fascia panel incorporating a 10.25-inch digital instrument display and a 10.7-inch central touchscreen. The iDrive software behind the set-up is BMW's 'Operating system 9' package, which gives you a new 'Quick Select' feature, allowing you to activate key functions without endless scrolling through sub-menus.

As with the ordinary X2, the rear bench is a little more spacious than you might expect and doesn't have that much less headroom than the iX1. Out back, there's a 525-litre boot, which is 10-litres more space than you'd get in an X2 sDrive20i and, interestingly, 35-litres more than you'd get in a supposedly boxier iX1. That extends to 1,400-litres with the rear seats down.

Market and Model

Pricing for this iX2 started from launch from just over £56,500 in xDrive30 AWD form. That's over £9,000 more than the combustion alternative, the X2 M35i xDrive. With the iX2, there's only one trim level - 'M Sport'. That's the one most customers would have chosen anyway because it provides the various visual cues this car needs to look in any way sporty. Specifically, this trim level includes large side air intakes integrated into the front apron, a body colour border along the lower edge of the body, M-specific side skirts, M High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim and a rear apron with integrated diffuser.

Adaptive M suspension and double-spoke 19-inch M light-alloy wheels are also part of the M Sport specification, together with sport seats, an Alcantara-covered instrument panel, an anthracite-coloured headliner and an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles. On the options list is the 'M Sport Pro' pack. Among the features this adds are M High-gloss Shadowline exterior trim with extended elements, M lights Shadowline exterior trim, an M rear spoiler, an M Sport braking system with red-painted callipers and M seat belts.

There's a comprehensive media package that includes 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' wireless smartphone integration. And BMW ConnectedDrive upgrades keep the car up to date with the latest software, with upgrades ranging from new services to improved vehicle functions. Specify the 'Comfort Access' pack and you'll get the 'BMW Digital Key Plus' feature, which will allow you to lock or unlock your iX2 with your Apple iPhone. And you'll be able to share this functionality with up to five users using the 'My BMW app'.

Cost of Ownership

This iX2, as we told you in our 'Driving' section, can go up to 266 miles on a single charge. For that, you'll need to select the most frugal of the provided MyMode drive settings - 'Efficient'. And you'll also need to make full use of the brake recuperation energy you'll get while driving in the provided 'B' gear setting. Recuperation of up to 120kW can be generated via the brake pedal regardless of the driving mode. If you're rapidly running out of battery charge, you might want to engage the provided 'MAX RANGE' function, where drive power and top speed are carefully restricted and comfort functions scaled back, allowing range to be increased by up to 25%.

The iX2 can support single and three-phase AC charging up to 11kW, which allows the battery to be fully replenished from empty in 6.5 hours. As an option, you can increase charging capacity to 22kW, which allows the battery to be fully replenished from empty in just 3 hours 45 minutes. DC charging at up to 130kW makes it possible to boost the battery level from 10 to 80% in 29 minutes, or increase range by 75 miles in just 10 minutes.

Summary

We're starting to see small EVs that are more credibly sporting - and this iX2 is one of them. Obviously, like every full-battery crossover, it has to overcome a prodigious level of weight, but there's lots of advanced engineering here to mitigate against that. As a result, you might well find yourself having more fun at the wheel of this BMW than you might ever have expected to in a small EV.

Of course, you're going to need to like the way it looks: not everyone will. But the iX2 isn't intended to attract everyone, nor would it be as appealing if it was. Few people in your neighbourhood or company car park will have one. An EV you might want not just because it's an EV but because it's a BMW. In the truest sense.

Source: rac.co.uk

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