In-depth reviews

BMW iX3 review

Refined, spacious and good to drive, the BMW iX3 makes sense as an electric family SUV – but some rivals feel more special

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Practical
  • Well built
  • Clever regenerative braking

Cons

  • Rivals have stronger performance
  • Not the most exciting to drive
  • Fidgety ride quality
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric286 miles11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)27mins (10-80%, 150kW)

BMW was one of the first mainstream car manufacturers to embrace electrification, with its i3 and i8 models offering buyers alternative-fuelled vehicles a long time before many other brands jumped on the bandwagon. But while those cars were designed to capture the imagination of customers with futuristic styling to match their novel powertrains, BMW has since adopted a more conservative approach as it turns almost its entire range electric or hybrid.

The BMW iX3 is a perfect example of how the company thinks customer tastes have changed. Lots of buyers want their electric car to resemble something they're used to – and that's exactly what BMW has done here. The iX3 is essentially an X3 with electric power, built on the same platform and with broadly similar looks – save for some aerodynamic wheels and subtle detailing. In a similar vein, the BMW i4 is effectively be an electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Power for the iX3 comes from a 282bhp electric motor fed by an 80kWh battery (74kWh of which is useable), with power sent to the rear wheels only – there's no four-wheel-drive version. A claimed range of up to 286 miles is competitive with rivals from Audi, Jaguar and Volvo, although a 6.8-second 0-62mph time means the iX3 trails them slightly when it comes to on-paper performance.

Yet the iX3 feels very nearly as fast, with instant acceleration and plenty of grip – even on a slippery road. It’s actually pretty decent to drive, and if you can live with the slightly firm ride quality, it makes for a fantastic family car that also has the ability to put a smile on your face when you want it to. On the practicality front, the iX3 loses only a small amount of boot space in its transition from petrol or diesel to electric. There’s still loads of space inside, too – making it a very practical take on the electric car formula.

All in all, the BMW iX3 is a really impressive electric all-rounder. At launch, it was available in Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro specifications, but those have now been replaced with M Sport and M Sport Pro trim levels – in tandem with a visual refresh to match the looks of the facelifted X3.

If you can justify the £60,000-plus asking price, you get an SUV with plenty of toys, a decent real-world driving range and a pleasant – engaging, even – driving experience. For a more detailed look at the BMW iX3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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