BMW IX Xdrive40 Long Term Review

Thanks for checking out my BMW IX Xdrive40 long term review. A year ago I was pretty excited that my IX left Germany and was on her way to New Zealand. The global chip shortage was in full swing, the war in Ukraine had caused massive manufacturing disruption in the auto industry, and the global shipping was bogged down due to ongoing pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic. How things can change in a year 😀

In June my IX will be one year old (well, one year old in my ownership. She was built in March 2022). Overall it’s been a mixed bag in terms of ownership, but not at all in an overly negative way. I spent a significant amount of time with my selling dealership’s demo IX, and also got to know every little detail of the car thanks to my access to, erm, detailed available online resources. While this established me as a leading authority on the IX online it did detract from the new car ownership experience when I eventually took delivery of “The IX”. I knew everything there was to know about the platform, the software, the nifty new toys and features and so on leaving me with nothing to explore or discover as you should when getting into a new car. In this quick read I will go over some positives and a few not-so-positives of my almost year with the car.

The Positives:

  • Range is better than BMW claimed, and the 40 should be sufficient for most people. I have zero range anxiety and we have done plenty of long trips. Naturally our decent charging infrastructure helps with this. My observations are by no way scientific, but rather based on my every day, real world experience. Probably the most surprising result is that the car is most efficient in Sport mode (for me at least).
  • Driving comfort is top notch. There are so many people complaining about the lack of adjustment in the seats, often comparing them to the traditional multi-contour comfort seats found in other top-spec BMWs. I have done several trips that saw me behind the wheel for 8 hours and I had zero comfort issues at all. I would go so far as to say that the IX seats are more comfortable than the traditional multifunction seats found in top of range cars like 7-series. Seat adjustments are set and forget for the most part after all. I don’t fiddle with them every day, or other day, or other week even. Removing the articulating backrest and thigh extension removes weight, reduces complexity and eliminates opportunities for failures or rattles to develop over time. Naturally opinions will vary on this but in my opinion the seats are excellent.
  • Ride and handling are excellent for the size and weight. It’s no sports coupe but it does go really well, and the instant torque remains addictive even after a year of ownership (and two years since switching to EVs from BMW V8s). I miss the air suspension from the e-Tron which was a standout feature, and I have read conflicting reports from people on the ride quality of the IX on air struts. Even on 22″ wheels I find the IX to be very comfortable.
  • It’s a head turner. There are less than 70 on the road in New Zealand and it gets plenty of attention. If I see one other IX every other week then it’s a lot. Generally though sightings in the wild remain few and far between. Despite being in its second year of production people still regard it as a new model since very few people have seen them in the sheet metal. The IX is an oasis of individuality in the ocean of otherwise non-descript EVs.
  • Material quality is holding up superbly, and the car looks brand new for the most part. No issues with interior surfaces or leather at all and all the switchgear and buttons are pristine. There were some questionable choices on exterior materials though. The gloss black panels that cover the B and C pillars are insanely easy to scratch. It’s as though BMW omitted adding any kind of protective layer to them at all. This extends to the rear spoiler too. The cloth material used on the lower parts of the dashboard are also pretty easy to get dirty, but they clean up easy enough.
  • BMW has continued to add new functions like remote control parking and additional drive modes OTA which are welcome little additions. The MyBMW app is also getting better through updates all the time. Pay to play features were also introduced, much to the ire of some. These vary between markets, and in New Zealand include Parking Assistant Professional and Heated Steering Wheel.

The Not-So-Positives:

  • BMW kept shifting the goalposts with L3 autonomous driving. Originally IX was going to get this via OTA, but that ship seems to have sailed, with i7 now being the poster-child for L3 autonomy. The missing link seems to be LiDar which will only make its appearance on BMW models later this year. Personally though I am not bent out of shape by this since I don’t think the technology is ready for prime time. For instance, my IX recognises speed limit signs on motorway ramps, and then suggests that I switch to 50km/h while travelling at 100km/h. That’s a recipe for disaster.
  • iDrive 8.5 has just been announced and there’s a big question mark about existing IXs being updated OTA. There’s plenty of unhappiness about this in the community, and BMW has not done much to give a clear answer. Some more detail on 8.5 was shared at Auto Shanghai 2023 and it is, for lack of a better expression, “meh”. Having the map as the main display all the time does not appeal to me at all since I like the tile interface of ID8.
  • Software issues, hardware and recalls plague this model range, but that is to be expected from a 1st run production model. My personal IX has been near flawless, but others have had really bad luck. It does seem though that the issues are affecting the 50 and M60 models more than the 40. Mine has a minor issue with the AC system that is being investigated by BMW Germany, and there have been a number of software recalls done. All in all though it’s not too bad.
  • The navigation in NZ is rather poor. Not so much the maps and ability to route you from points a to b, but more around searching for chargers and doing EV routing. In other markets this function is much better developed. BMW has not been able to give a satisfactory update on this

Conclusion

IX remains a better purchase than Audi e-Tron and Jaguar iPace. Reviewers have also rated it better than the Mercedes EQE-SUV and even in some ways the EQS-SUV, but those two Benz models are essentially vapourware since they remain largely unavailable in most markets.

Overall I am pleased with the IX. It does exactly what I expected. I guess it’s been a little less “wow” than I would have liked. I was debating between IX and IX3 last year, and were I faced with the same decision again today I would probably take the IX3. It does most of the same things for around $60k less. There are also more EV options now compared to a year ago in both the premium and affordable segments.

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  1. Thanks for sharing the detailed review. What is your average range and consumption average on the iX? Do you have any pro tips on which dipswitch to set the BMW Wallbox to what number (1,2 or 3?) that is being handed free out as part of a promo with all i models for single phase power?

    I have an iX1 on order so looking forward to receiving it in 4 months hopefully.

    1. Pretty solid range at 390km on average, with consumption in the 19-21kw/h. Over the last two years the consumption has been pretty solid, always being better than what BMW has claimed.