You really don't know how a car drives until you run it in both good weather and bad. Sunday cruises are fun, but motoring to the airport at 3:58 am the following Monday is often more educational. And nothing beats loading it up with a trunk full of groceries or wheeling it around with a hatch full of dogs to determine just how practical it really is.

This is where the value of a long-term test comes in, and that I'm glad to say is what I'm embarking on with the 2024 BMW iX xDrive50 that you see here. I'll be chiming in every few weeks to update you on how it's treating me. And, unlike many long-term tests out there that you read on various automotive-themed outlets, this one's a little different. 

I actually went out and bought the thing. With my own money. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

Hopefully, that assuages any fears that this series of articles will gloss over anything. I have no incentive to do anything other than call it perfectly straight. Throughout all the subsequent updates to come, which we hope to run roughly with the change in seasons, I'll be giving you the good and the bad, the highlights and lowlights of living with BMW's top-shelf electric SUV.

I'll provide the obligatory range updates, detail how the BMW is delivering on its 307 miles of EPA-assured range, and give the download on software updates while raising any flags about reliability woes—which hopefully won’t be the case for my own sake—along the way.

Why The BMW iX?

The iX you see here came into my life in September of last year, the replacement for a Tesla Model Y that had long since outstayed its welcome. My wife and I wanted a wagon or crossover SUV to replace it, and though we looked at a few plug-in hybrids, ultimately, we decided to stick with an EV.

Gallery: BMW iX Long-Term Test

When we started shopping around last summer, the refreshed 2024 Volvo XC40 Recharge was on its way to market. After looking at endless options and permutations, we decided that was the rig for us. I'd spent plenty of time driving XC40s and XC60s around in the past and always enjoyed the packaging and the style. Its pricing was right, and the battery updates for 2024 meant the range was about what we wanted, so we approached a local dealer to order one.

And they completely dropped the ball. After weeks of mostly ignoring us it became painfully obvious that if we didn't want one of the 2023s they already had in stock, they weren't interested in helping us. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

I started hearing that Mercedes-Benz dealers were offering some astonishing discounts on EQE SUVs, and then I got wind of BMW's strong incentives on the iX. After my wife drove both she decided she liked the range and roominess of the iX a little better. After a little strategic back-and-forth between the two dealerships, we secured what I considered to be an amazing deal.

The iX you see here has the Driving Assistance Pro and Premium Packages, plus front ventilated seats and all-season floor mats, amounting to what would have been an MSRP of $94,845 after the $995 destination charge. However, we got a substantial discount on top of that, and because we leased, we also got the full federal rebate, which the iX is otherwise ineligible for.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

Our final lease payment actually came out about $50 less per month than what we were paying for the Model Y. To be fair to the Tesla, that's a 36-month term vs. 24 on the Model Y, but the iX is so much better in every respect that we're thankful for the extra time. So far, at least.

There is one caveat, though. We had to pick an iX on the dealer lot to get that deal. This one came with an admittedly limited options set, but it has everything I'd have picked except for one thing: the color. 

About That Design

I still remember the first time I saw pictures of the BMW iX. It was before the embargo lifted. I sat there looking at BMW's media site, wide-eyed, wondering what their designers were thinking. I found it to be almost physically revolting.

It'd be a fair few months before I got a chance to drive one. When it rolled into my driveway in late 2022, I confess that I was no more impressed. But by the time I'd driven it to one of my local photo spots, I'd already fallen in love. The iX was so comfortable, so smooth, and filled with an interior so very fresh that it completely and immediately won me over.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

That was an iX M60, with 610 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque, almost 100 more ponies, and nearly 200 more torques than mine. The extra speed helped, but by the end of that week with that car, I actually found myself liking how it looked.

Really. Seriously. If you’re turned off by the looks, go test drive one. You'd be amazed what a few minutes behind the wheel can do to change your tolerance for questionable aesthetics.

Now, when it comes to color, white over black is about as basic as you can get, and given my druthers, I'd have gone for the Phytonic Blue Metallic. Again, though, it didn't take me long to get used to the Stormtrooper color scheme, and now I kind of like it. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

On the inside, I'd have gone with Mocha, but even in black, I adore the interior of the iX. The oddly angular dash, the way the integrated gauge cluster and infotainment system float above it with an architectural brace, and just the sheer openness of the space are unlike anything else on the road. The gold highlights are an extra sweet touch.

Even though our spec is relatively basic, it's still a comfortable, luxurious space and a practical one, too. It's a much bigger SUV than we necessarily wanted or needed, but we've certainly put that whopping 77.9 cubic feet of cargo space to good use hauling goods, pets, and even a 1993 Street Fighter II pinball machine. 

A Range Champion

So why did we get such a big SUV after initially aiming for a more compact one?. Ultimately, the big deciding factor was the range. The BMW iX xDrive50 with 20-inch wheels is rated for 307 miles by the EPA. That's an equivalent of 2.4 miles per kWh. 

Out of the gate, as is common with box-fresh EVs, we readily exceeded those range estimates. In the six months and 5,000 miles since then, our overall average is 2.9 miles per kWh. But, the bulk of those months and miles have been spent in winter conditions in upstate New York, and a fair bit of that on the highway. As we all know, those aren't ideal conditions for EVs.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

But on a recent winter trip to Vermont, I averaged 2.6 miles per kWh. That meant an effective range of 273 miles from the 105.2 kWh pack, more than enough to drive to the greatest state in the union and back with electrons to spare.

The range is comforting, and so too is the accuracy of BMW's range prediction algorithms. One of our first trips in the iX was a long highway jaunt to Watertown, NY, from our home outside of Albany. That's a 180-mile journey one-way, greater than three hours, a good portion of that at high speed on the highway. Despite all that and dynamic weather, when we arrived BMW's initial range prediction was off by only one percent. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

EVs commonly blow their range estimates by 10 or 20 percent or more. I've seen them miss the mark by more than 50 percent in challenging conditions. A delta of just a few percent like that is astonishing, and the iX has delivered similar accuracy on every trip since.

'Winter' Driving Performance

Our winter is drawing to a close in New York, such as it was this year. And while the iX survived what little snow we received this year, it didn't exactly thrive. After a single, eye-opening snowy commute in the Model Y on its underwhelming all-season tires, I quickly swapped on a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta EV studded snow tires. They made a world of difference on the Tesla.

With the iX, we decided to try and survive without winter rubber, and I must confess that wasn't the right call. On its 20-inch Goodyear Eagle Touring all-season tires, the iX is passably driveable in light snow and slush, the sort of stuff we generally see plenty of. It wasn't so great in deeper snow or ice. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

In low-grip conditions, the iX accelerated and turned predictably. BMW's stability and traction control systems do a great job of maximizing the available grip. That grip, though, was always at a premium thanks to the modest tread and low rolling resistance of those tires. The hefty weight of the iX didn't help, either.

Next winter we'll try something with a little more tread. More details on that in a later update.

Next Time...

In our first six months of ownership, the iX has been an unmitigated delight. When I have to leave for the airport hours before the sun lights the horizon, or when I'm returning home long after nightfall, I can't tell you how nice it is to slip into my preconditioned cocoon and cruise. 

In the next update, I'll dig a little deeper into the tech side of the equation, including the hands-off Highway Assistant system, plus all the highs and lows of BMW's smartphone app controls. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update
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