BMW's iX electric SUV won't be cheap with a mid-$80,000 starting price

The German automaker once suggested it would be priced competitively to Tesla's Model 3.

BMW's iX electric SUV, set to be released in 2021.

Manufacturing that ginormous grille clearly isn’t cheap. BMW says that its iX electric SUV is going to target the luxury segment with a starting price of over $80,000 in the U.S., bringing it into close competition with Tesla’s Model X crossover. The vehicle is set to go on sale in late 2021 and serves as the template for BMW’s future electric vehicles.

Model X, not 3, competitor — The news, which was reported by Electrek, will be disappointing to those who expected the German automaker to price the car closer to Tesla’s Model 3, which starts at $36,990. BMW’s head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson has previously suggested the iX — initially dubbed the iNext — would compete in the same segment as the Model 3.

More of an X factor — The $80,000 price range makes more sense considering the iX shares much in common with the pricier Tesla Model X, which starts at $79,990.

BMW’s new SUV has a battery pack greater than 100 kWh in size that can achieve more than 300 miles on a charge. It is powered by two electric motors that provide 500 horsepower, and it can do 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds.

BMW’s electrification plans — It’s unclear why the pricing is so radically different from what Robertson suggested it would be, but BMW’s next-generation of electric vehicles have been in development for several years as BMW tries to take on the electric vehicle market in a serious way.

Like other manufacturers, BMW has touted its lineup of upcoming electric vehicles as the future of the brand as electrification becomes all but inevitable. Unlike other manufacturers, BMW is no stranger to EVs, though. It was one of the first legacy carmakers to offer an EV in the form of the i3, and iot also created a hybrid supercar in the form of the now-discontinued i8.

BMW's i4 electric sedan, expected to be released in late 2021.BMW

Its new electric offerings look less radical than either the i3 or i8, though, and may appeal to a broader market segment. Plus, the demand for EVs has grown significantly in recent years. Later this year it will release the i4 sedan based on the same design language as the iX. The pricing there should be more accessible, but the giant grille is sadly the same.