BMW i – future electric cars & SUVs

From small beginnings with just that one small hatchback, BMW’s i model line has expanded into all kinds of segments. And many more future products are coming.

The i3 was expensive to build and probably less than profitable, at least during the early part of what became a long life cycle (nine years by the time construction ends in July).

BMW has further developed the successor into a 4.5 m long SUV, as the public generally believes that such vehicles should be priced higher compared to hatchbacks/sedans. so the iX1 model name for this newly announced vehicle, which will start production in November at Plant Regensburg.

The only variant is called iX1 xDrive30 and it has a 64.8 kWh (usable) battery, allowing a maximum range of 438 km (WLTP). Four-wheel drive is standard thanks to a motor on each axle and the power is up to 230 kW (313 hp), including a temporary boost, with 494 Nm (364 lb ft) of torque. The xDrive30 can be charged up to 130 kW.

The boot space is identical to that of the closely related new X1 plug-in hybrids, at 495 litres, rising to 1,495, while the ICE-only X1s have 540 and 1,600 liters respectively. See the link to PLDB below for the U11 series new X1 and the X1 xDrive25e and xDrive30e plug-in hybrids.

The iX1 is to be built for seven years, meaning a facelift at the end of 2025 or in the first quarter of 2026. In terms of architecture, this will be FAAR.

There is, in fact, a new i3, but it is a very different kind of car than the soon-to-be-discontinued original, which is an electric version of the long-wheelbase 3-series Chinese sedan. On May 5, a new Tiexi factory opened and built the first i3 eDrive35L that day. ‘Plant Lydia’ is the only production location for this vehicle, which had the development code G28BEV NM.

The 3 Series EV has a number of unique details, including a special grille design and the luggage compartment volume drops from 480 to 410 liters.

BMW says it uses the same single 210 kW (285 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb ft) engine that powers the iX3. The CATL battery pack has gross and net capacities of 70.3 and 66.1 kWh, while the maximum range during the light vehicle test cycle in China is 526 km.

An all-electric 5-series will be produced in both Germany (Dongolfing) and China (BBA’s Dadong plant), to be launched in 2024. Details of this, the i5and also the smaller and still new ones i4can be found in PLDB: see link at the end of this report.

It has now been eight months since the production of the iX started in Lower Bavaria. The model is built in the same line at the Dingolfing plant as other vehicles with PHEV or combustion engines.

About as long (4,953mm) and wide as an X5 but as low as an X6, the large crossover was new for the 2022 model year in North American markets. In Germany, the first deliveries started in December 2021.

In many countries there are two versions: iX xDrive40 and iX xDrive50 with a third announced in January. The iX M60’s engines produce a combined power of 455 kW and 1,015 Nm, but in Sport mode the torque increases to 1,100 Nm.

BMW says 0-100km/h for the M60 takes 3.8 seconds, top speed is 250km/h and WLTP range is up to 566km (the latter is less than xDrive50). The first deliveries will take place later this month.

Unusually for an M variant, the M60 doesn’t look much different from other examples of the iX: there are blue brake calipers, unique 22-inch wheels and a custom artificial sound.

According to the maker, the “power unit” contains no rare earth elements and produces 240 kW (326 hp) plus 630 Nm (464 lb-ft) in the xDrive40 or 385 kW (523 hp) and 765 Nm (564 lb-ft) in the xDrive50. Thanks to rapid charging of 200 kW (xDrive50), the reserve of the pack can go from 10 to 80 percent of capacity in less than 40 minutes.

The high-voltage battery of the xDrive40 has a net energy content of 71 kWh (76.6 kWh gross), while that of the xDrive50 is 105.2 kWh net.

A range of 630 km (391 miles) according to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure applies to the xDrive50 or 425 km (264 miles) to the xDrive40. The former weighs from 2,510 kg DIN and the latter from 2,365.

The iX uses a new BMW Group aluminum spaceframe with carbon elements. The ‘Flex Architecture’ is based on the existing 35up, also known as CLAR for Cluster Architecture. It supports electric, plug-in hybrid and combustion engines.

We can expect a life cycle of seven to eight years, which means a facelift in 2025.

Newly announced but not yet in production, the 5,391mm long i7 is one of the largest electric sedans made by an OEM, longer than even the long-wheelbase Mercedes EQS hatchback.

The only variant at launch later in 2022 will be the i7 xDrive60, but an i7 M70 xDrive will follow in 2023. BMW has positioned these EVs as the most expensive variants of the 7 Series.

Specifications are as follows:

  • xDrive 60 – 107 kWh battery, 190 kW (258 hp) front motor, 230 kW (313 hp) rear motor, combined power outputs of 400 kW (544 hp) and 745 Nm (549 lb ft), standard AWD, 240 km/h top speed
  • M70 xDrive – data yet to be revealed by BMW, except for a comment of “more than 600 PS and 1,000 Nm”

The launch times start in November, only the i7 is available in Europe at that time, the 7 series will follow later. However, both will arrive in China and North America at the same time.

BMW USA quotes 536 horsepower for its i7 xDrive60 and a maximum range of 310 miles (500 km) according to the EPA standard. This goes up to between 590 and 625 km under the less realistic WLTP system.

Next year’s M70 could have the same power output as the iX M60, but it is likely that power and torque will exceed these figures, which, as mentioned above, are 455 kW and 1,015 Nm (and 1,100 Nm in Sport mode).

The platform of the i7 is CLAR, production takes place in Dingolfing and the lifespan should be eight years with a facelift in 2026. BMW could also launch a fuel cell version of this car, as well as a top version with a solid-state battery. Neither is likely to arrive before 2025.


BMW plans a limited production (about 100 cars) hydrogen-powered X5. This was first suggested by the surprise appearance of a concept at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show and was confirmed six months later. The latest statement to the press read this sentence: “This hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain will be tested in a small series based on the current BMW X5 that the BMW Group plans to present in 2022”.

A prototype was exhibited at the IAA Munich in September 2021. BMW reported this in a press statement a month before the motor show: “A small series of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, developed on the basis of the BMW X5, will be used for demonstration and testing purposes. from the end of next year”.

The i Hydrogen NEXT was based on the X5. However, the CEO, Oliver Zipse, told reporters at the Frankfurt show that he didn’t see series production of BMW powered by a fuel cell “at least in 2025.” Therefore, Hydrogen X5’s production run will be low volume and likely leasing only. The concept had many blue accents, as hydrogen-powered BMWs are part of the i sub-brand.

Reports for future models from many other manufacturers are grouped together in Just Auto’s OEM Product Strategy Summaries section.

future platform intelligence

More details on past, current and future models can be found in PLDB, the database of future vehicles that is part of Global Data’s Automotive Intelligence Center.

This was the third of five reports forming a series examining selected future models for BMW AG’s brands. The first concerned BMW cars and followed by another on SUVs. The other two focus on the M division, followed by Mini and Rolls-Royce.

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