I'm six months and just over 6,000 miles into owning a BMW iX, and while the smiles still outweigh the groans by a healthy margin, for the first time, we've hit a real headache on the road. It wasn't, though, necessarily the car's fault.

If you missed our introduction, I'm leasing a 2024 BMW iX xDrive50, purchased with my own money and without any friendly discounts offered due to my position in the industry. I paid what any other customer off the street would have paid.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Report 2 (1)

I'm charting my impressions of the thing, an SUV that is generally held to be among the best cars that BMW makes—but also perhaps the ugliest. At this point, I'm genuinely over the looks. In fact, I've come to like it, but as a former owner of a bugeye Subaru WRX, I've never been one to shy away from a great-driving but, funny-looking machine.

Since last month, my wife and I engaged on our biggest road trip in the iX since we picked up the thing, a drive that turned into something of an adventure. It was all in pursuit of the eclipse. Or, more specifically, clear skies through which to view that celestial moment. 

Following The Sun

With our bulky GSO Newtonian telescope and Sky-Watcher mount secured in the back to the iX's handy tie-down points, we headed off on the 180-odd mile journey from our home near Albany, NY, to see family who live near Watertown, NY. Watertown happened to be right smack dab in the middle of totality for the event. 

Our route was a mix of back-way and highway, and while I usually use Google Maps via Android Auto for navigation around town, for longer drives, when I want to monitor range accuracy, I use BMW's integrated navigation.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Update

The BMW nav is good enough that I should use it more, but lately, it's been getting extremely slow to chart routes. While the voice recognition is quick to enter an address, the infotainment system takes upwards of 60 seconds to figure out which way to go, plus another solid 30-second delay before alternate routes show up.

It certainly wasn't that sluggish before, and I'm not sure if it's a software update or something else at play here. I'll keep an eye on it going forward.

Once the route was calculated, the iX showed an estimated 38 percent charge remaining upon arrival in Watertown. And that's precisely what we got when we arrived. This thing is yet again providing world-class accuracy on range estimation. And solid efficiency, too. That 180-mile trip was completed at a reasonable 2.8 mi/kWh despite the chilly 45-degree day and a fair bit of time on the highway.

Knowing that we might have to change venue based on the weather forecast, while in Watertown, we used a 150 kW EVolve NY charger to bring us back to full. Well, to 95 percent, anyway.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Report 2 (5)

The iX preconditioned itself so that we were getting 144 kW almost as soon as we plugged in, but that, of course, tapered off as the battery capacity increased. The charge to 95 percent took about 45 minutes.

While the car was charging and I was trying to make a little headway on the never-ending struggle to conquer my email, my wife was comparing a dozen different forecasts. The news wasn't looking good. Where Watertown had previously been showing clear skies, the clouds were coming, and their timing looked terrible.

We had the choice of staying there and hoping for the best, or making a run through northern New York, an area with barely any chargers, on a weekend when absolutely everyone was heading north. It was a risky decision, and with a car with less range, we wouldn't have tried it. 

But try it we did.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Report 2 (4)

Still A Range And Efficiency Beast

We topped up the car to 100 percent on a level one charger overnight and then headed east again in the morning. This time, our journey would take us through the Adirondack Park on some of the most scenic country roads the Northeast has to offer. 

Scenic, but hilly. From Watertown's elevation of just 466 feet we climbed up through the park, winding around the High Peaks, then back down again as we made our way to Lake Champlain. 

I was curious to see what the terrain and the still-chilly temperatures would do to the iX's range, but neither I nor the car expected the journey to be as efficient as it was.

The car's navigation predicted we'd make the 200-mile journey with 28 percent remaining. We actually rolled in with 41 percent. This was by far the biggest miss the SUV's nav has delivered yet, but it's hard to fault the thing for under-promising and over-delivering.

Anyhow, the terrain and temperature were countered by the relatively low, 50 mph average speed, resulting in 3.2 mi/kWh for that leg of the journey. That equates to over 350 miles of theoretical range.

Going that far through a land barren of chargers was a risk, but it paid off. Vermont is a stunning place at the worst of times, but beautiful weather made for a spectacular eclipse. 

The iX VS. The Flat Tire

When the sun stopped hiding it was time for us to head home. As you've likely seen, the crowds vacating the path of totality on Monday evening were intense. Thankfully, we had access to a level-two charger at my brother-in-law's, so we were fully charged well before the sun did its disappearing act.

But we still needed to dodge the traffic. One stretch of Rt. 22A was particularly jammed, so we decided to take a scenic detour around some pasture land on less-used routes.

One of those was Class 4, Vermont's category of barely maintained roads, intended for proper 4X4 machines. Despite still being in the throes of an extended mud season and despite the road being sloppy and rutted, the iX did fine, pulling us through without issue.

Its Goodyear tires, however, didn't fare so well. We picked up a puncture in the left-rear, a half-inch gouge right in the center of the tread. The tire thankfully held pressure long enough to get back to the family we'd stayed with in Vermont, but it surely wouldn't survive the drive home.

2024 BMW iX Long Term Report 2 (2)

It took two patches to plug the hole, a process made more complicated by the iX's use of BMW's customary recessed jack points. The iX does not include the requisite adapter to enable the use of a standard floor jack. It also features neither a spare tire nor a scissor jack, offering only an emergency can of sealant.

But the patch held, and by the time we'd finished the job, the worst of the traffic had passed. We managed an average of 41 mph on the journey back to Albany, a 155-mile trip that saw the iX deliver an impressive 3.3 mi/kWh. 

2024 BMW iX Long Term Report 2 (3)

The BMW was still showing an estimated 209 miles of range on the dash when we got home, for a theoretical total range of well over 400 miles, about a third higher than the SUV's EPA rating. Maybe being stuck in traffic isn't so bad.

While the journey wasn't without its headaches, the iX was a perfect companion. It delivered stellar range through an EV-charging black hole, had plenty of cargo space for two telescopes plus a weekend's worth of food and luggage, and was calm and smooth the entire way. 

Coming soon: More updates as the iX heads into warmer weather.

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