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iX marks the spot for BMW as they take electrification to the next level

BMW’s xDrive40

Interior of the xDrive4

Daragh Keany

The negative hype surrounding the introduction of BMW’s new “flagship” electric vehicle was completely ridiculous and premature.

BMW enthusiasts seemed to hate everything about it form the moment it was announced at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, but time seems to have abated their woes slightly as the German giant has released so many incredible cars in the mean time each with varying degrees on those polarising grilles.

Fast forward nearly four years and Motormouths is once again (we loved it at the launch last autumn) behind the wheel of the behemoth EV, this time for an entire week. The big question on my mind was would it continue to impress as much when I have it for a whole week and am more dependent on its range.

I was handed the key to the xDrive40 M Sport line, which comes with an asking price of €98k but included in that asking price are some of the car manufacturer’s most up to date and impressive value packages.

For example…the Comfort Pack with the heated steering wheel and front electric sport seats costs €2338 but worth every penny. The Sky Lounge Pack enhances your new car with a full pano roof and sun protection glass throughout and will cost you €4308 extra. There are also fancy 22” alloys on my test car that will cost you an extra €1230 if you so wish. And the Parking Assist Plus pack adds some extra tech to your parking visibility for an optional €1169.

That’s nearly €10k in extras right away. So, don’t be put off by the initial asking price. Besides…most people who are genuinely looking to buy one of the biggest and most impressive EVs on the planet won’t be too concerned about a few extra Euro.

That said, BMW have sold an incredible 99 models already this year pipping most of its nearest rivals (January to April) and will certainly add to that as the year continues and more people opt for an EV.

The level of tech in this machine is on another level. Housed behind a new steering wheel design are two side-by-side screens nestling all of the relevant driving info in the 12.3-inch instrument screen while there is an even bigger (14.9-inch) infotainment touch screen where the controls for this futuristic beast sit.

It all runs a new generation of operating software, designed for 5G connectivity, close integration with smartphone apps and bucket loads of personalisation. And certainly feels like a decent step up from the rest of the BMW range to justify, in part, for such an entry-level asking price.

Interior of the xDrive4

‘As standard’ is taken to a new level here with the Dynamic package, tyre repair kit, climate comfort windscreen, anthracite roof lining, four-zone automatic air conditioning (the kids definitely appreciated this) and a Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system.

Also…even if you’ll never own one or even drive one. Try and find a way to sit in one and enable their totally-gimmicky-but-utterly-insane ‘Sound Experience’. No spoilers here. Just do it.

It is fun to drive too with around 322bhp at your disposal, although if you tip into all of those horses you will find that the 4132km range is not attainable.

That said though, it was refreshing to have a car of this size (they claim it is around 2.5 tonnes) hit the range markers during the vast majority of my test week. Urban commutes are soaked up easily in this machine and it is only when you hit the motorway and floor it that you see a depreciation in your real range. But that is not unusual in the competitive EV market.

When you consider the X5 starts at around €85k then this has to be a serious contender for BMW enthusiasts and drivers of amazing new cars that have decent disposable income. The future looks like being even brighter for the German giant.

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