BMW iNext electric SUV reveal set for Nov. 11

Is the world ready for another luxury SUV? BMW seems to thinks so as the automaker will soon add to its lineup of high-riding vehicles the much-hyped iNext.

The iNext is a mid-size, battery-electric SUV that will serve as a technological flagship for the BMW brand, with the focus here not only on alternative powertrains but also self-driving capability and next-gen connectivity.

BMW previewed it in 2018 with the Vision iNext concept car, and on Monday confirmed that the reveal will take place on November 11. The market launch won’t take place until sometime in 2021, however. Note, iNext is only a code name, with the vehicle’s actual name rumored to be iX or iX5.

BMW Vision iNext concept

BMW Vision iNext concept

BMW Vision iNext concept

BMW Vision iNext concept

BMW Vision iNext concept

Judging by prototypes, the iNext is similar in size to BMW’s X5. The roofline is lower though, for a more aerodynamic profile, and the face of the vehicle sports a unique treatment with a sealed-off grille for enhanced aerodynamic efficiency.

Inside should be adequate seating for five adults. The Vision iNext concept likely points the way. The concept features controls integrated into furnishings that light up only when an occupant brushes a finger over them. Gesture control and natural-speak voice activation were also featured.

The iNext will come with BMW’s fifth-generation EV technology, which has been integrated with the automaker’s existing CLAR modular platform. The biggest battery is expected to be a 120-kilowatt-hour unit capable of delivering close to 400 miles of range.

BMW fifth-generation EV technology

BMW fifth-generation EV technology

The iNext will also offer a high-level of self-driving capability, though perhaps not at launch. Level 3 self-driving capability on the SAE scale is expected to be offered initially. This will allow drivers to let go of the steering wheel and even look away from the road for brief periods, but they will need to be ready to take control at any time. A more advanced system for highways that could let the driver look away from the road for extended periods has been hinted at, though it isn’t expected to be offered until around 2024.

Production of the iNext will be handled at BMW’s main plant in Dingolfing, Germany.

Stay tuned for the Nov. 11 reveal. BMW’s motorcycle division also has a world debut pegged for the date and fellow BMW Group brand Mini will have something to show us on Nov. 17. Mini only a week ago confirmed plans for two new SUVs, one a dedicated EV and the other with the option of a battery-electric powertrain.

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