BMW iX3 review: The futuristic electric car is different – Colin Goodwin
Colin Goodwin of Mirror Motoring said serial BMW owners, especially X3 owners, would feel right at home with the new electric i3
Can you believe this iX3 is just BMW’s second purely electric car?
The first, the i3, launched in 2014. This hatchback, and I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of it, has a very distinctive styling inside and out.
He looks different and he looks futuristic. He looks electric.
The iX3 is exactly the opposite: it looks like a completely standard X3. Which is more or less what it is, although with a battery buried under the floor, the motor removed from under the hood and replaced with an inverter and charger as well as other EV gubbins.
It is also built in China unlike the petrol and diesel X3s which are built not in Germany but in the United States. This is the global automotive industry today.
It’s been available in Germany for some time, but the iX3 has only just reached our shores.
Oddly, after a short lifespan it has already had a makeover and if you were to order an iX3 today it would be one of those. It’s not much different, just redesigned front and rear lights.
If you really intend to go off-roading in your SUV, this isn’t the car for you (you weren’t going anyway, was it?) Ground clearance, but l ‘iX3 is rear-wheel drive only.
Surprising because many of its rivals have double electric motors and are therefore 4-wheel drive. What this BMW has is a very efficient state-of-the-art battery and electric motor.
The battery does not have a very large capacity at 74 kWh of usable energy, but the car has an official range of 285 miles, which is impressive.
The electric motor produces 282 hp and delivers a 0 to 62 mph performance of 6.8 seconds.
Not in the warp drivetrain league of Teslas or many other EVs (it’s not much faster than the MG5 station wagon we tested the other week), but it still feels pretty fast. Also, the novelty of hilarious acceleration soon wears off as the serious business of trying to drive in a battery-conserving way begins.
We’re testing an iX3 Premier Edition Pro, which costs £ 60,495 on the road. The one below is the Premier Edition and costs £ 58,850. The revamped cars will be badged respectively M Sport and M Sport Pro. A little confusing.
Inside you have a standard X3 interior and that’s a good thing. BMW still uses switches, knobs and knobs to control almost every function and has resisted the temptation to dump everything into the infotainment system.
You even have the excellent rotary controller, which Mercedes once copied and then ditched in favor of irritating touchpads.
What you won’t find are paddles behind the wheel to adjust regeneration levels.
An automatic regeneration system takes care of that itself, taking information from the GPS about upcoming junctions and tight turns, and the car’s radar sensors analyze the speed of traffic ahead.
You can feel it working and it’s efficient and not off-putting once you get used to it.
The Pro versions have a sound generator but it’s a pretty useless gadget and I quickly switched it off.
I didn’t care much about the Sport mode either, or the Individual mode which allows, say, to combine Sport steering with eco. Normal worked fine.
Handling is very secure and while the steering doesn’t give much feedback it is precise.
BMW series owners, especially X3 owners, will feel quite right at home in the iX3. The interior space is exactly the same as that of the X3, even down to the trunk, which holds 510 liters. Long range and fast charging are due to its ability to accept 150 kW.
The car does not perform as well as you would expect from a BMW, but that is not a problem as it is quite fast.
BMW iX3 Premium Edition Pro, five-door crossover
Price: £ 60,495
Motor: Single electric motor, 80kWh battery, 282bhp
0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds
Vary: 285 miles
Audi e-tron Technik 50 Quattro
The range is only 195 miles for that money.
Jaguar I-Pace S EV400
The basic design of Jag EV. Similar range, bigger boot, better ride.
Ford Mustang Mach E AWD Extended range
Four-wheel drive, great range but not as classy inside.