New BMW iX3: specs, prices and on-sale date
The BMW iX3 electric SUV has seen in final production form for the first time, with the German carmaker briefly showing the car as part of an online video presentation that took the place of its attendance at the now-cancelled Geneva Motor Show.
As is clear from this picture, and others of a camouflaged car in winter testing, the iX3 is effectively an electric version of the BMW X3. Our first glimpse of it came in the form of the iX3 Concept at the Beijing Motor Show in 2018. The iX3 will be a rival for the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC, marking a major change in BMW’s policy for its i cars.
Whereas the BMW i3 and BMW i8 were bespoke models, consciously designed to stand out, the iX3 is based on an existing model and looks similar to its more conventional siblings. BMW is also developing a premium electric four-door coupe called the i4, as well as another electric SUV in the form of the iNEXT. Both are due to arrive in 2021.
BMW iX3 styling
We haven’t seen the final production car yet, and the latest test shots from BMW feature mild camouflage around the front end. However, spy shots of disguised models out on test elsewhere reveal that the more extreme design features from the concept won’t appear on the cars that you’ll see in a BMW's showrooms.
It looks as if the front bumper will be smoother and the air intakes smaller in a bid to make the car more aerodynamically efficient. However, the overall shape remains very similar to that of the conventional X3. We’d expect the same story to continue inside, but BMW hasn’t yet released a picture of the car’s interior.
One feature of the exterior BMW has gone into detail about is its 'aerodynamic wheels' (pictured below). Wheels can can influence a car's aerodynamic efficiency by up to 30%, the company says, so it has developed an aluminium wheel with specially designed inserts for the iX3.
They reduce drag by around 5% compared to the conventional X3 and are also 15% lighter than previous aero wheel designs employed by BMW. According to BMW, this reduces the iX3's energy consumption by 2%, resulting in an extra six miles of range in official testing. These wheels will also feature on the i4 an iNEXT mentioned above.
Battery, charging, range and electric motors
BMW hasn't published precise details of what'll drive the iX3, beyond saying that it’s the latest, fifth-generation eDrive electric technology. We know this includes denser batteries than before, but all the company will say about capacity is that it’s "over 70kWh". The company also says it will feature an "exceptionally powerful electric motor", so we could be looking a total system output of well over 500bhp if BMW decides to fit a twin-motor all-wheel-drive system.
Range has also yet to be confirmed by any official tests, but BMW says the car will do over 249 miles, which is less than what the e-tron, I-Pace and Tesla Model X will manage. Last, but not least, the iX3 will support 150kW rapid charging, so a charging point of that speed will be able to charge the car to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes.
Price and release date
With the iX3 still some months away from going on sale, it’s no surprise there’s no indication of price yet. However, we expect it'll cost significantly more than its conventionally powered equivalent, which starts at just under £40,000.