It already looks better than the polarizing concept.
We’re still two years away from the launch of the hotly anticipated BMW iNext, the Bavarian’s automaker’s future electric SUV flagship. After unveiling the iNext concept last year, BMW has released new photos of a camouflaged prototype being taken for a spin in the snow at BMW’s winter test center in Arjeplog, Sweden, allowing the automaker to optimize all drive, chassis and suspension components under extreme climate and road conditions.
The camouflaged BMW iNexts are currently being tested on snow-covered roads and ice-covered lakes, where the electric motor, high-voltage battery, and cooling system will be put under serious strain to ensure the components can handle extreme cold conditions.
For example, BMW will analyze how extreme sub-zero temperatures affect how the energy storage system recharges, how electricity is transferred to the electric motor, how the electrical system is supplied with energy, and how the heating and air condition systems respond. Power transmission and suspension regulation systems are extensively tested, and the steering and braking system are also fine-tuned under these conditions.
While this is our first official look at the production BMW iNext, it’s covered in thick layers of camouflage to keep the design details hidden and could be wearing non-production body panels. However, while the production model is expected to be heavily inspired by the futuristic concept, the prototype looks significantly toned down. The gigantic grille no longer extends down to the front bumper and the hood is flatter, although it looks like the concept's slim front LED headlights have carried over. The overall shape looks very sleek, so there’s hope that the production model will look better than the concept’s polarizing design.
Initially, the BMW iNext will launch with Level 3 autonomous technology allowing the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel for extended periods while remaining attentive and available to take over if required, but BMW plans to test full Level 5 autonomy by 2025. Technical details are still being kept under wraps regarding the powertrain, battery capacity, range, and power, but the production iNext is expected to offer a maximum driving range of 435 miles when it launches in 2021.