BMW iX3 review: interior, dashboard & infotainment
The inside of the BMW iX3 is logically laid-out and well built, but rival models' cabins feel more modern and more luxurious
Inside, the iX3 feels much like any other BMW X3, save for some blue-coloured trim dotted around the cabin – not a bad thing, but not especially exciting, either. Build quality is excellent and the infotainment system is among the best available anywhere – though it definitely doesn’t look or feel as cutting-edge as the systems you’ll find in more modern BMWs. As a result, some buyers may prefer the more fashion-forward Jaguar I-Pace or Audi Q8 e-tron – or even the smaller iX1 and larger iX. Those looking for a more minimalist approach will be catered for by a Tesla or Polestar.
BMW iX3 dashboard
Until recently, BMW’s dashboard design hadn’t really changed for about a decade; the conventional dials, central screen and climate-control setup has graced almost every model in the range in recent years. The launch of the newer BMW iX, BMW i4 and forthcoming BMW i5 have seen the iX3’s twin-screen design look instantly old-hat, however.
That’s not to say the iX3 doesn’t still have one of the most ergonomic and intuitive cabins on the market. It’s logical, easy to use, and every version feels solidly built with high-quality materials. Sure, it doesn’t have the wow factor of a Tesla or even a Mercedes EQC, but there’s loads of functionality and plenty of technology.
Equipment, options & accessories
The iX3 is available in M Sport and M Sport Pro trim levels, replacing the earlier Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro it launched with. You get a choice of four colours, as well as either black, dark grey or brushed-aluminium trim, and three leather interior options.
The iX3 in M Sport trim comes with 19-inch aerodynamic wheels, heated front sports seats and steering wheel, and a panoramic sunroof. M Sport Pro cars get a 20-inch alloy wheels, head-up display, a Harman Kardon stereo, gesture control for the infotainment, plus safety and convenience features like self-parking, automatic high-beam headlights and BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional.
The manufacturer has also added an interesting system that lets iPhone users install a 'digital key' on their device in place of a physical key. These digital keys can be shared with friends and even loaded with restrictions on the car's speed, power or maximum music volume level – perfect for a parent lending their car to a young driver in the family.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Every new iX3 comes with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can either use the touchscreen interface or the iDrive click wheel on the centre console, but either way the menus are easy to navigate and the graphics are crystal-clear. The twin-screen layout doesn’t look as cool as the single curved display you’ll find in the BMW iX, but it’s arguably easier to use. The iX3’s fully digital dials are also clear and easy to read, if not quite as customisable as the setup in an Audi Q8 e-tron. We wouldn’t consider this a deal-breaker, however.
Of course, as with many electric cars, there's an app you can download to your smartphone allowing you to monitor the car’s state of charge, plus pre-heat or cool the cabin before setting off on your journey. You can also send destinations from your phone straight to the car’s nav system. We found the setup both useful and reliable – unlike competitor apps, which can be glitchy and short on functionality.
In This Review
- 1VerdictRefined, 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 & comfort - currently readingThe 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