BMW HAS unveiled the iX3, it’s second pure-electric production car.
It is, as the name suggests, based on the X3 family SUV — specifically, the third generation of the car that forms part of BMW’s contribution to the crowded market for crossovers.
The electric version of the car will compete with high-riding electric cars including the Jaguar I-Pace, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Mercedes EQC, Audi e-tron and recently-announced Nissan Ariya. It’s the first pure-electric car that BMW has put into full-scale production since the i3 back in 2014 (although BMW’s electric tech has been applied to the Mini Electric in the meantime), and the first of three pure-electric models that the company plans to release over the next year and a half or so.
In another milestone for the German giant, the iX3 will also be the first car to be produced at BMW’s new manufacturing plant in Shenyang, China. The company also says that its approach to the X3, which is now available with pure-electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol and diesel powertrains, typifies its “Power of Choice” strategy.
Design wise the iX3 looks very similar to the X3 (and dissimilar to BMW’s electric offerings of the past, which have had distinctive designs), with a few blue accents and a solid grille (as an electric car, the iX3 has no engine under the bonnet to cool).
It uses the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive tech, with power delivered to the rear wheels by an electric motor that can produce 282bhp and 296lb-ft of torque. This can get the iX3 from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 112mph. BMW says that the motor is 30% more power dense than anything that it has produced before.
In order to make the vehicle as environmentally friendly as possible, the motor has been designed to not make use of any “rare earth” metals. BMW says that the environmental impact of the iX3 is around 30% less than that of a X3 xDrive20d if using energy from the European energy mix, and 60% less if using energy from green sources.
The 80kWh battery provides a range of 285 miles on the WLTP combined cycle, and using a 150kW rapid charger the battery can be rejuiced from empty to 80% in 34 minutes. Ten minutes of rapid charging can add 62 miles to the iX3’s range, BMW claims.
And being an electric BMW, you’ll be able to drive around to an electric hum designed by Hans Zimmer, the man behind the scores to a staggering number of films, from The Lion King to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. BMW says this makes for a more “emotional” experience.
Typically for a pure-electric model, the iX3 makes use of regenerative braking, whereby kinetic energy from braking is stored as chemical energy in the battery. It can take some getting used to, and those new to electric motoring can find the rapid deceleration a bit unnerving, so BMW allows the driver to choose how much energy recuperation they want in three strength levels.
UK deliveries of the iX3 are due to begin in March 2021, and you can expect prices to be around £62,000.