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Photos shot by S Shubham

Not known to many, Robert Venturi, an American architect, was the first to use this quote “More is more and less is a bore” at a time when minimalism was becoming more than a trend. Most people today, however, would know this quote from Iris Apfel, the interior designer who passed away recently, or through her Instagram or TikTok. While one can debate the provenance, BMW seems to have followed the quote to bring the more powerful iX 50 to India. The iX, since its launch two years ago, has become the highest selling luxury EV in India which is quite an achievement considering the nascent stage the market is in. Four digit sales figures for a car that’s north of a crore, with range anxiety and charging infrastructure challenges, is commendable. BMW feels the time is right to bring the flagship variant to India now, when the iX is clearly a favorite in the segment.

A bunch of sensors are hidden behind this ‘grille’

Since the iX 50 is in essence a variant, and not an all new car, there aren’t many design changes. Not to say the iX doesn’t turn heads on the road, it still does largely due to the polarising design I feel. The iX continues to be a good blend of modern BMW design elements, where the grille takes over everything at the front, and the philosophy that EVs need to look radical. The imposing 22-inch wheels, which come as standard now, are a welcome change giving the iX 50 more road presence and stability. The large grille isn’t there to just polarise opinions, but houses a bunch of sensors that support the iX’s advanced driver assistance systems, and adding some function to form. There are new paint schemes and alloy wheels to choose as well.

The BMW ix xDrive 50 retains the same interiors

On the inside too, the changes aren’t something which will stand out unless you pay attention. Sustainability and being kinder to the planet continues to be the running theme, with vegan leather as standard now. You can be unwoke and opt for real leather but let’s save some animals while we are being kinder to the environment. The design is futuristic and minimalist, but less isn’t a bore here as everything has been put together to give you more space and functionality. The large, curved touch screen, high quality materials and a ton of features like the Bowers & Wilkins sound system, a huge panoramic sunroof, and that fantastic hexagonal steering wheel make the iX a cool and comfortable place to be in. And
Hans Zimmer has created some sounds to make the iX 50 feel more alive, let’s leave it at he could have done better unless you are in the Sport mode.

The unique iDrive controller

Robert Venturi or Iris Apfel, your choice, would be thrilled to know of the changes under the hood. The iX 50 is pulling all stops to give you more power and torque, with the two motors now pushing out 523 bhp and 765 Nm, as compared to the iX 40 which put out 326 bhp and 630Nm. With more power comes more range as well, up to 635 kms WLTP from a larger 105.2 kWh battery as compared to 435 kms WLTP on the iX 40. Putting the foot down is more rewarding now, with 0-100 km/hr coming up in 4.6 seconds, and you can feel every bit of it. The acceleration is physics defying, considering this is an almost 2.5 tonne car, and a lot of fun. There are several drive modes to choose from, like in all BMWs, with Sport being the heaviest drinker but the most fun too. Single pedal driving in Comfort is much improved now, and the range figures are more accurate. There were stretches where I actually recovered range in the highest regen setting, which is reassuring.

A simple badge to differentiate it from the xDrive 40

All the technology hasn’t been used to give you more speed or range, but also improve the ride quality and safety. The iX50 now gets air suspension, which helps make the ride even more comfortable. The latest version of BMW’s iDrive is easy and intuitive to use, with voice activated commands or the touchscreen, however the UI might remind you of the early days of CGI. There is a host of safety features, as expected, and an extremely sensitive suite of ADAS functions which panics at the thought of someone approaching the iX from anywhere. Useful and a tad overprotective, considering our free for all roads, but you get used to it.

The ix xDrive50 offers you more of everything

The iX 50 gets faster charging too, up to 22 kw/hr from the wall box charger, and supports 200 kw/hr fast chargers. All in all, the iX 50 gives you more of everything when compared to the iX 40 and even its current competition. BMW is clearly capitalising on the lead it has in the luxury EV segment and doubling down. They have had a great start with the iX 40 and the iX 50 is only going to convince more people to go electric. There is more power, more performance, more range and less damage to the planet – what’s not to like.

This winning formula comes at higher price, naturally, and at Rs 1.39 crore (ex-showroom), the iX50 is still good bang for your buck. BMW seems to be on the right track following Robert Venturi/Iris Apfel. Less is usually a bore.