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
- Well built
- Clever regenerative braking
- Rivals have stronger performance
- Average range
- Fidgety ride quality
|Car type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||285 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||27mins (10-80%, 150kW)|
BMW iX3 verdict
Given the BMW iX3 is just a hurried rehash of the petrol-powered X3 SUV, it’s a remarkably capable electric car. There aren’t really any compromises to be made when it comes to practicality, and it remains one of the most engaging cars of its type to drive. The iX3’s cabin is showing its age alongside more modern rivals, but the layout is more logical and ergonomic than some of BMW’s latest products. It is a little pricey, but so are its main competitors; if you can charge at home, there are plenty of reasons to recommend BMW’s first electric SUV.
Range details, specs and alternatives
You can always tell BMW's bespoke EVs apart from the rest of its line-up from their futuristic styling, unconventional proportions or unique cabin designs. However, lots of buyers want their electric car to resemble something they're used to – and that's exactly what BMW has done with the iX3.
It's essentially an X3 with electric power, built on the same platform and with broadly similar looks – save for some aerodynamic wheels and subtle detailing. The same way the BMW i4 is effectively a zero-emissions version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, or the new X1 SUV is available with electric power as the iX1.
The iX3 comes with a single 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 285 miles is competitive with rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC, though recent updates for the Audi Q8 e-tron and Volvo XC40 see both of those cars comfortably surpass the 300-mile mark.
It’ll charge pretty quickly too; with a peak of 150kW, the BMW far surpasses the Jaguar and Merc for speed, though the long-range Audi and Volvo are faster still. BMW claims a 10-80% charge takes just 27 minutes, while a home wallbox charge is easily achievable overnight.
The BMW is a little down on power compared with those aforementioned dual-motor models, but a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds is nippy nonetheless. In fact, 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, it makes for a fantastic, practical family car that also has the ability to put a smile on your face when you want it to.
At the time of writing, there are just two specs to choose from: M Sport and M Sport Pro. All cars get heated leather seats, 19-inch wheels and LED lights, as well as a touchscreen infotainment system and connected navigation. That’s the version we’d go for – M Sport Pro costs £3,000 more and brings bigger wheels, head-up display, gesture control and a Harman Kardon stereo upgrade, but feels a little frivolous given how well-equipped the base model is.
All in all, the BMW iX3 is a really impressive electric all-rounder. 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.
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In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingRefined, spacious and good to drive, the BMW iX3 makes sense as an electric family SUV – but some rivals feel more special
- 2Range, battery & chargingDespite looking like a regular BMW, the iX3 uses cutting-edge battery and charging technology
- 3Running costs & insuranceAn efficient drivetrain and the same ultra-low company-car tax rate as any electric car make the iX3 very cheap to run for a big SUV
- 4Performance, engine & driveDespite being down on power compared with some rivals, the BMW iX3 feels fast and quite good fun; the ride is a little firm, though
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe inside of the BMW iX3 is logically laid-out and well built, but rival models' cabins feel more modern and more luxurious
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityWhile the BMW iX3 is less practical than the petrol model, it’s still a spacious and versatile family SUV
- 7Reliability & safety ratingBMW has only an average reputation for reliability, but with fewer moving parts than its petrol models, the iX3 should be a dependable family SUV