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
- Not the most exciting to drive
- Fidgety ride quality
|Car type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||279-286 miles||11hrs 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 long before most other brands had hopped on the bandwagon. However, 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 more of its models turn electric.
The BMW iX3 is the latest, and serves as an 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 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 forthcoming BMW i4 will 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, Mercedes and Jaguar, although the 6.8-second 0-62mph time means it trails them slightly in the on-paper performance stakes.
And yet the iX3 feels very nearly as fast, with instant acceleration and plenty of grip – even in poor weather. It’s actually pretty decent to drive, and if you can live with the slightly firm ride, it’ll make a fantastic family car that also has the ability to put a smile on your face when the mood allows.
Speaking of its favourable attributes as a family car, 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 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. Prices still start from nearly £60,000, but cheaper models will surely represent better value for money in time.
Still, if you can justify the high price you’ll get an SUV with plenty of toys, a decent real-world 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...
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 & insuranceAs the BMW iX3 is so new, it’s hard to nail down exactly how much it'll cost to run; servicing costs and insurance groups will be revealed later
- 4Performance, engine & driveDespite being down on power compared to its 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 – with a decent range to boot
- 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