The gigantic exterior design of BMW attracted a lot of attention. And by “attention” I mean “ridicule” for the most part. However, it can be argued that the beauty of BMW’s latest design twist lies within. From the 3 Series to the 8 Series, the BMW interior is less conservative, functional and openly German than ever before. Buttons and controls are visually minimized and yet easy to reach and display. There are more bright works and trim, be it wood, metal or other. Interestingly, leather is sewn, buttons made of crystal and buttons made of ceramic. In other words, the interiors are more interesting and obviously more luxurious.
I would argue that this started with the BMW i3. Though it was ridiculed for being stupid on the outside, the inside was a treat to look at and use. Particularly noteworthy are the open-pored wave of wood on the dashboard and the available gray fabric seats with naturally tanned leather accents.
Now we have the BMW iX 2022, the brand’s all-electric crossover that will hit dealerships in the first half of 2022. Its bold and innovative interior clearly springs from the same branch of the family tree as the i3, but moves the ball forward to some of the fancier trinkets that have popped up on the fancier series BMWs introducing some new elements. Let’s take a closer look.
Like the i3, the infotainment display hovers over a wide, downward-sloping dashboard with minimized ventilation slots on the floor. However, the iX’s screen makes the i3 look like a Sony Trinitron from the 1980s. It’s wider, curved (!) And mounted on feet that are hidden from the driver’s eyes so that it looks like it’s floating. Refined. Although the device is covered by a single piece of anti-reflective glass, it is effectively divided into a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment display that can be accessed via touch or the latest version of BMW’s iDrive controller the center console is operated. It also runs “the next generation BMW operating system”.
Like the i3 and i8, the iX interior also has elements made from recycled or natural materials. It also offers customers a choice of alternative eco-friendly and animal-friendly materials. Known as the “Loft”, this interior treatment features a color scheme that is unmistakable to Jay Leno. It consists of a denim-like textile mixed with a microfiber cloth embossed with a geometric pattern.
Leather has not always been the first choice for luxury car interiors. In fact, it’s a pretty new thing. Given that leather is temperature sensitive and subject to excessive wear and tear, it’s hardly an ideal seat material. Light colored leathers also tend to soak up dirt and paint from jeans. Basically I say: “Other alternative interior options would be nice.”
Of course, the iX can still be processed in a good, old-fashioned cow. In this case an orange red browned.
There’s more here, however, than just quilting paints and diamonds. This is “natural leather” that has been treated in a natural olive leaf extract that apparently avoids the “polluting” production residues. Great.
Let’s also note that the colors and seat materials extend to the doors (although I suspect that in the case of the leather upholstery, the doors might actually be covered with BMW SensaTec vinyl).
There are other notable elements in this picture. First we see new switchgear. The door lock buttons are new and the doors themselves open at the push of a button rather than a handle. The latter is less of an advancement as such electronic, button-activated door handles are almost always annoying. And they require mechanical override somewhere anyway (see Corvette).
And something else …
BMW has not only relocated the Mercedes-style seat adjustment controls to the doors, but they are also manufactured with a so-called “glass effect finish”. So it’s plastic, but it looks great! And different. Different is good.
On the center console you can see that the iDrive button also has the “glass effect finish”. The really interesting thing, however, is that the touch-sensitive menu key combinations are housed in the sustainable wood paneling. How cool is that It’s electronic wood!
BMW has finally (!) Placed the volume control next to the iDrive controller and not a foot away on the dashboard. Audi has done this with its old MMI system from the start (and Mazda continues) while Mercedes uses a similar placement and thumbwheel rolling log thing.
The gear lever shown here is also a little knobbed thing, which is also made in a “glass effect version”. This would be another new element for a BMW, as it differs from the buttons on the production cars as well as the i3’s pod near the wheel.
The iX doesn’t have quite the same open footprint as the i3, but it is close together. You should still be able to store a wallet between seats on the flat floor, but there is more secure storage under the control box, as well as a traditional forearm container with flap doors.
Now a few more details …
It has frameless doors! You can also see the carbon fiber reinforced plastic unibody here.
This also gives a decent idea of how much space there is in the back seat. The electric drive train enables a long wheelbase and thus maximizes the interior space. BMW describes this as a “lounge-like” interior.
After all, BMW spent a lot of virtual ink poetically growing over the iX’s “groundbreaking” panoramic glass roof. Then not a single picture of the matter could be provided. This is the best I can do.
It appears to be a solid, non-opening glass roof, but it actually consists of a steel frame, two panes of laminated glass and three layers of foil in between. It has a “triple silver, low-emission coating” to reduce the likelihood of the cabin becoming a Venus-like greenhouse. The real trick that defies the sun, however, is the PDLC or Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal technology, which increases and decreases the roof color by applying electricity. Or, to put it in a way only a can understand Star Trek Science officer: “The liquid crystals, which are dispersed as droplets in a polymer matrix, are aligned by electrical energy so that light rays can enter the interior unhindered.” Thank you, Lieutenant.
“Shade mode” is automatically activated when the iX is parked.
While BMW’s exterior design continues to “challenge” its viewers (designer Domagoj Dukec has literally said that is the goal), the interiors have a far greater chance of gaining broader approval. Its design, choice of materials and forward thinking are appropriately futuristic for a car like the iX.