📂︎ News | 🖳︎ Wayne Gorrett | 🖃︎ July 15, 2020 ___________________________________________________
➤ All-electric version of popular X3 | Rival to Mercedes EQC & Jaguar I-Pace | Claimed 285-mile range.
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Following a tedious array of teasers and spy shots, the BMW iX3 SUV has finally been unveiled.
It’s BMW’s first all-electric SUV, claimed to offer 285 miles on a full charge. UK prices and specifications will be revealed later this year, prior to going on UK sale next summer.
The introduction of the iX3 will mean that BMW will finally have a rival to the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model X. It will also mean the BMW X3 is the first BMW to be available with a four-option powertrain: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully electric power.
The iX3 will bear little difference from the regular petrol and diesel-powered BMW X3, with new alloy wheels, blue accents and a fared-in grille among the changes. The decision not to create a radical design was entirely deliberate and distances the iX3 and its future SUV companions from BMW’s less traditional i3 and (now discontinued) i8 models.
BMW claims future ‘i’ models will be distinguished by ‘signature looks’, by which it means subtle design touches to easily restyled parts such as the bumpers and side skirts, rather than big sheet-metal alterations. The iX3 bears testament to this – its front bumper incorporates slimmer ventilation intakes and smoother contours than the more aggressively surfaced standard X3, and the side skirts and rear bumper are reprofiled, too – the latter incorporating a distinctive diffuser section.
Just as with the exterior styling, the iX3’s interior is suitably familiar. Most of it is shared with petrol and diesel-powered X3s, like the 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment touchscreen and much of the switchgear. In the iX3, the 12.3-inch digital instrument display is fitted as standard, while there are a few touches specific to the electric model, including a new steering wheel with silver buttons and a blue-ringed BMW badge, and a blue flash on the gear lever.
The latest version of iDrive includes over-the-air software updates, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and upgrades to the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
Buyers of the iX3 get 510 litres of boot space to fill, which is only 40 litres less than ICE-powered models. Rear passenger space is said to be unaffected by the electric powertrain.
A 282hp electric motor provides the power, which gives the iX3 a brisk (considering its size and weight) 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 112mph. It’s quicker than the xDrive20i petrol engine and the xDrive20d diesel, which hit 0-62mph in 8.3 and 7.9 seconds respectively, but the 282hp xDrive30d diesel is the fastest-accelerating model in the standard X3 range at 5.7 seconds.
Most electric SUVs have a motor on each axle for four-wheel drive but the iX3 is rear-wheel drive, which is perhaps why it’s not quite as quick as the xDrive diesel model.
When the 80kWh battery is fully charged, you’ll be able to travel up to 285 miles, according to WLTP testing. Plugging into a 150kW public DC charger allows 80% battery capacity to be achieved in 34 minutes, while AC charging at up to 11kW is also included. Fast chargers are more likely to be found on the motorway, while the AC chargers are more suited for use at home or work.
BMW says its latest battery is lighter and more energy-dense than before, which should result in greater efficiency and a more accurate range during motorway driving. The iX3’s advanced energy recuperation system also works with sat nav data to automatically adjust the level of brake regeneration according to the road ahead.
A production version of the iX3 SUV will be ready for sale next year. No UK price details have been revealed, but expect it to cost considerably more than its petrol and diesel-powered X3 stablemates. The BMW X3 currently starts at £40,355, while its electric rivals tend to cost from around £60-£65,000.