The BMW iX3 electric SUV has been teased officially for the first time, with the German carmaker putting a test model through its paces in Sweden ahead of going on sale next year.
As is clear from the pictures, the iX3 is effectively an electric version of the BMW X3. Our first glimpse of it came with the iX3 concept at the Beijing Motor Show in 2018.
The iX3 will be a rival for the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC, marking a major change in BMW’s policy for its i cars.
Whereas the BMW i3 and BMW i8 were bespoke models, consciously designed to stand out, the iX3 is based on an existing model and looks similar to its more conventional siblings.
BMW is also developing a premium electric four-door coupe called the i4, as well as another electric SUV in the form of the iNEXT. Both are due to arrive in 2021.
BMW iX3 styling
We haven’t seen the final production car yet, and the latest test shots from BMW feature mild camouflage around the front end. However, spy shots of disguised models out on test elsewhere reveal that the more extreme design features from the concept won’t appear on the cars that you’ll see in a BMW’s showrooms.
It looks as if the front bumper will be smoother and the air intakes smaller in a bid to make the car more aerodynamically efficient. However, the overall shape remains very similar to that of the conventional X3. We’d expect the same story to continue inside, but BMW hasn’t yet released a picture of the car’s interior.
Battery, charging, range and electric motors
BMW hasn’t published precise details of what’ll drive the iX3, beyond saying that it’s the latest, fifth-generation eDrive electric technology. We know this includes denser batteries than before, but all the company will say about capacity is that it’s ‘over 70kWh’.
The company also says it will feature an “exceptionally powerful electric motor”, so we could be looking a total system output of well over 500bhp if BMW decides to fit a twin-motor all-wheel-drive system.
Range has also yet to be confirmed by any official tests, but BMW says the car will do over 249 miles. That’s identical to the Audi e-tron, but behind both the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace, although the Tesla’s figures were achieved under the less stringent NEDC test.
Last, but not least, the iX3 will be ready to support 150kW fast charging when it arrives. That means if an iX3 owner has access to a charge point that can provide the right voltage, they’ll be able to charge their car to 80% capacity in less than 30 minutes.
Price and release date
With the iX3 still many months away from going on sale, it’s no surprise there’s no indication of price yet. However, we expect it’ll cost significantly more than its conventionally powered equivalent, which starts at just under £40,000.