On November 11, BMW will unveil the iNext electric SUV, the next model to join its small but growing roster of vehicles without combustion engines.
The mid-size model will be a technological flagship, because in addition to its "green" engine, it will also offer the latest advances in connectivity and automated driving.
BMW gave us an early peek at those advances when it premiered the Vision iNext concept. The official market launch of the iNext won’t take place before 2021, and the name of the production model could well be iX5.
Nest week’s reveal will still be of a concept model, but much closer to the future production model than the Vision iNext. Though only its exterior (and maybe interior) looks will be revealed, this new concept is important because it will tell us a lot about what BMW is planning to do in the EV domain in the next few years.
While the format of the future SUV will be similar to the current X5, its profile and roof line are lower and more aerodynamic, designed to optimize range. Up front, the treatment will be unique with a closed grille, again to promote efficiency. Let's just hope that the first concept's huge nostrils have been shelved along the way. The direction BMW is taking with the size of these is more than questionable and has been strongly criticized throughout the automotive world.
The iNext-slash-iX5 will benefit from BMW's fifth-generation electrification technology. Based on the CLAR platform, the model will conceal a battery with a capacity of 120 kWh and capable of providing a range of some 600 km.
In terms of autonomous-driving capabilities, the model is expected to offer Tier 3 capability from the outset. It’s expected this will evolve over the years. Level 3 allows the driver to let go of the wheel and even look away from the road for short periods of time, but they must be ready to regain control at any time. A more advanced system may emerge around 2024.
Hopefully, we'll know a lot more on November 11 when BMW rolls out the model that will eventually be built at its plant in Dingolfing, Germany.