The BMW iX3 marks a change of direction for the famous German brand, at least when it comes to producing electric cars. What do I mean by that? Well, BMW’s only previous EV (electric vehicle) was the i3 hatchback, much smaller because it was designed for the city. Built from scratch to run on batteries. At the time, BMW was showing all its know-how in terms of innovation. It had a real look, light in carbon fiber and fancy rear doors.
Forerunner and ahead of its time, BMW has bet before others on the electric. And even though EVs didn’t catch on as quickly as expected, BMW already imagined that EVs would be a serious alternative to gasoline and diesel cars. The arrival of the BMW iX3 is, as you may have already guessed, essentially an electric version of the BMW X3. Unlike previous electric versions, it doesn’t feature complex carbon fiber construction or unconventional styling. In fact, the only things that visually distinguish it from the gasoline and diesel versions are a solid plastic grille, aerodynamic alloy wheels and some blue accents.
Discover the virtues of the road
Travel the south of France in an EV, that’s the promise of this new road trip in a BMW iX3. Discover a confidential Provence, from the Pont du Gard to Menton: exceptional panoramas…Continue Reading
But what’s most relevant is that the iX3 has a long range, the ability to charge quickly and a relatively attractive price. With the BMW iX3, there’s no need to look for 0-100 km performance and even though acceleration is pretty exciting, this car is definitely cut out for the road.
Unlike its four-wheel drive rivals, the Audi E-tron, Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, the iX3 is only available in rear-wheel drive, which is only interesting if you want to go off-roading, whether you regularly get snow or live at the end of a muddy road. However, the iX3 has a lot of traction, both in the wet and in the dry, it leans less and is more agile. This makes the iX3 a very enjoyable electric SUV to drive.
It’s important to understand that filling a car with batteries is rarely good for driving comfort, but the iX3 does without the sophisticated air suspension relying on good old steel springs. And while at first the vehicle feels a bit stiff, it’s entirely possible to adjust the suspension, tightening things up for country road driving or softening them for long highway drives. So, while it’s certainly firm, it handles bumps in a perfectly pleasant manner, both in the city and on faster roads. In fact, anyone suffering from motion sickness might prefer the still feel of the iX3.
The iX3 impresses most by the distance it can cover between two charges. I tested its autonomy and it is largely possible with a good driving management to cover 430 km. (except on exceptionally cold winter days).
In the game of 7 differences, it is even more difficult to differentiate between the BMW iX3 and the X3 on the inside than on the outside. In fact, except for the blue start button and a few other blue accents, you’d never guess you’re not driving the electric version.
This stylistic non-emphasis works well insofar as the X3 is one the best premium SUVs you can buy, so a model that runs on electricity instead of fossil fuels is fine by me. Anyway, it’s not just an impression, the iX3 is very well designed and there is a lot of dense and soft material in most important places.
Ease of use is also hard to fault, thanks to a logically laid out dashboard with appropriate buttons and knobs for the climate control. The fundamental driving position is also superb, although you’ll have to opt for the Premier Edition Pro version to get adjustable lumbar support. Great for long trips.
The iX3 also features BMW’s brilliant iDrive infotainment system. The 10.3-inch screen in the middle of the dashboard functions as a touchscreen, but you can also control it with a secondary rotary controller located between the front seats. The latter is much less obtrusive when you’re on the go, as is the natural language voice command feature, which works surprisingly well (most of the time). Wireless phone charging is standard, and if you opt for the Premier Edition Pro trim, you’ll get an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system.
The rear space is as good as in the regular X3. This clearly means that two tall people can sit comfortably in the back of the car with leg and headroom. Even if you add a rear middle passenger into the equation, there’s plenty of room to lounge around. The outboard rear seats can also be reclined to provide a more relaxed seating position, a feature not available on the iX3’s direct rivals.
The main trunk is also identical to that of the X3. The only thing you lose in the iX3 is some underfloor storage, but there’s still enough room for the charging cable. Split-folding 40/20/40 rear seats are standard on both trim levels.
The BMW iX3 reaches a maximum charge rate of 10-80% or 150 kW in about 30 minutes. That’s quite a performance. But beware, charging stations capable of providing such power are still limited. That’s why those who plan to regularly make very long journeys, charging stations on freeways via the Ionity network for example, remain relevant.
With a starting price of more than € 69,950, the iX3 is a good value for money compared to the competition. At least as far as large electric SUVs go, the iX3 is attractively priced and will cost far less to run than a gasoline or diesel version of the X3. There are only two trim levels to choose from: Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro. The former gives you plenty of luxury features, including 20-inch aerodynamic wheels, a power liftgate, panoramic sunroof and leather seats (heated in the front), while the Premier Edition Pro adds a heads-up display (speed limits and navigation directions are projected onto the windshield), auto dipping headlights and keyless entry. You also get the IconicSounds acceleration sound effects we mentioned earlier.
Power 210 kW (286 hp)
Battery 74 kWh (net), 188 cells and 10 modules
Official Range WLTP 460 km
Charging 150 kW (DC) – 11 kW (three-phase AC)
Price including VAT 69 950 €.
Thanks to its long experience in EV’s BMW succeeded in offering with the iX3 a vehicle that is both practical, pleasant to drive and has a greater autonomy.
Once again, the trick is played!