BMW iX interior – A deep dive into the tech ocean

If BMW iX’s design and performance have caught your attention, wait until you glance at the interior. The BMW iX interior is arguably the most opulent in its class, and it impresses on many levels with a focus on intricate detailing and the use of sustainable materials. It’s also a tech-fest and packs a range of modern-day features. The cabin is unarguably this EV’s party piece. Sit tight because it’s a long list of features we’re delving into.

Three interior design trims

There are three standard interior design trims — Oyster, Mocha and Black. For all three, the dashboard and the centre console carries a common dark grey theme. For the rest of the cabin, Oyster offers a white theme, Mocha offers dark brown colours, while Black darkens the cabin for a sporty look. You don’t pay extra by choosing any of these three.

That said, the standard specification includes surfaces in Sensatec with a seam pattern and perforated areas. If you like splurging on personalised configuration, there are three optional trims that cost a bomb. A Loft trim costs GBP 450, and two design suites christened Amido and Castanea, each of which cost GBP 3,250.

BMW iX seats
The BMW iX gets plush interiors with top-quality seats with integrated headrests and optional speakers inside the seat structure for 4D sound effects. Image: BMW

Loft offers diagonal patterned materials and colours of high-quality textile and microfabrics. The Amido and Castanea options take things to another level with exclusive natural leather upholstery that’s crafted using environment-friendly olive leaf extract. They also feature a high proportion of recycled plastic in the centre console, door panels and floor coverings.

Free-standing curved display

There’s ample digital real estate in all modern cars, but the BMW iX differs in how its screens are built. The free-standing curved display has a magnesium housing and a frameless single-piece glass surface. BMW has integrated the 12.3-inch driver’s cockpit and a 14.9-inch infotainment system into a single unit slanted towards the driver with innovative packaging.

The latest BMW Operating System 8, integrated into the combined displays, offers a range of standard features. This includes a cloud-based navigation system, colour head-up display, wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay, over-the-air (OTA) updates for the software and BMW Intuitive Interaction, where the system responds to both voice and gestures.

BMW iX curved display
Two screens have been seamlessly integrated into the single glass curved panel inside the cabin of the BMW iX. Image: BMW

Also, the central screen is used for climate control as well. The BMW iX has a four-zone air-conditioning, which can be altered through a menu on the infotainment. All of the climate control settings, including seat heating and ventilation, 3-stage steering heating, and massage functions, are controlled through the touchscreen.

Moreover, the screen is 5G enabled and has a computing power that’s 20 times more than that of regular BMW cars. This is partly because BMW is readying the iX for Level 3 autonomous driving, which requires large amounts of data processing. Even though Level 3 autonomy is far from reality in all markets, it’s good to know that BMW is future-proofing its cars.

The centre console houses a knob to navigate through the menus, a volume rocker and a sleek gear selector — all of which come with a polished crystal finish.

Hexagonal steering

BMW iNext interior vs BMW iX interior
The BMW iX (bottom) features a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both of which are part of the next-gen BMW Operating System 8.0. Pictured above is the iNext concept. Images: BMW

Every touch inside the cabin stems from a strong reason behind its inclusion. The iX is the first BMW to sport hexagonal steering. The steering’s shape gives the driver an unobstructed view of the digital cockpit, so it’s easy to read the information on the display. It also has gloss black finished controls for audio and calls and toggles to navigate through the functions of the display. Moreover, steering heating is also offered as an option.

Seats with speakers for 4D effect

The BMW iX seats have integrated headrests, like in a race car. Interestingly, for the first time in a BMW, the seats can be specced with speakers integrated into the seat structure — inside the head restraint and beneath the lumbar areas — to enable a 4D sound experience. That said, there are also heating, ventilation and massage functions that can be bought optionally with the Comfort Pack, which costs GBP 1,900. These features can also be had for the rear seats as a part of the Comfort Plus Package priced at GBP 3,900 on the BMW UK website’s configurator.

It scores big on the convenience and practicality front as well. The rear seat backrest has a 40:20:40 split design allowing the luggage compartment to be opened up by folding individual backrest sections depending on the requirement. There’s a reasonable 500-litre boot space with the rear seats up, but when you fold all the seats down, a whopping 1,750 litres of space can be opened, enough to move homes.

Source: Auto Interior/Youtube

A festival of lights

The iX’s cabin is a lounge on wheels. All the lights inside the iX are LED units, even the ones that function as backlights for switches and toggles. According to BMW, you can choose from a wide palette of colours for the ambient lighting, which is bright enough to be visible in daylight. Lightbars are present on the door panels, footwells, and entrance areas.

There’s an additional fibre-optic light guide integrated into the doors. They have an information and warning function, a feature reminiscent of the latest seventh-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Green signals confirm doors locking and battery charging while red light takes over during exit warning.

Features – a pure tech-fest

A key highlight inside the BMW iX is the panoramic sunroof. The glass roof is no ordinary unit because it features electrochromic shading that removes the need of having any cross struts to divide the glass area. Instead of an interior liner, BMW has employed Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) technology that applies a voltage to the middle layer of the sunroof. With the touch of a button, liquid crystals are dispersed as droplets, allowing sunlight to pass into the cabin unimpeded. When de-energised, the crystals create an effect of shade.

BMW iX panoramic sunroof
BMW iX gets a unique electrochromic sunroof that provides a shaded effect while still allowing light into the cabin. Image: BMW

If the aforementioned features don’t satisfy you, you can cough up an additional GBP 5,000 for the Technology Pack that brings a Parking Assistant Pro and an Interior Camera that detects motion and can trigger an anti-theft alarm. Parking Assistant Pro can save up to 10 frequently driven routes and drive them again independently at the click of a button using BMW’s remote key. It can also reverse on its own for up to 200 metres.

The standard speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon, which should be good enough in their own right, but if you’re a music lover, the Technology Pack will treat you with a 30-speaker, 1,615 watt Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System for an intensive 4D audio experience (with speakers in the seat as aforementioned).

BMW iX interior has sustainable materials

Continuing on sustainability from the ‘Three interiors design variants’ section, there’s a high proportion of recycled materials in the BMW iX interior. Firstly, the use of chrome has been reduced by 90% overall. If you choose the optional ‘Clear & Bold’ specification, you will get a centre console made from sustainably grown wood.

Even other trims benefit from some form of green material usage. The Loft Stone Grey trim, for example, uses natural wool fibres, and its seat covers are made from Dinamica, a material consisting of 45% recycled polyester. In all trims, the floor coverings are made from recycled nylon waste.

Moreover, 20% of the thermoplastic content in the iX is environmentally friendly. The cable ducts are manufactured using 60-100% recycled plastic, while the tailgate panelling and outer surfaces of door panelling consist of 30% recycled material. In total, there’s 60 kg of recycled plastic in the BMW iX. It’s not a lot, but it certainly seems like a good start towards a greener future.

Featured image: BMW