It’s been seven years since BMW launched the i3, yes, really. For 2021, BMW are launching a brand-new electric car, that has drawn on their experience and knowledge of what they’ve learned throughout the intervening years.
This means that while the specification of the motor and batteries sounds less than some of the competitors, the reality is that the motor & battery combo are super-efficient; more bang for the buck, less space needed, fewer modifications to make it work = better value electric vehicle.
On the face of it, the iX3 is virtually identical to the regular X3, only a few minor detail changes point at the electrification, but that’s deliberate; it was designed after the X3 went in to production, and it meant that BMW could take a tried and tested vehicle, and then just swap the drivetrain.
No huge billion-pound development programme, no risky solutions to push the performance envelope, and no radical styling. Could this be the perfect electric vehicle?
The iX3 battery and motor produce around 282 horsepower, and that’s from 80kWh, which thanks to the efficiency, is still good enough for a WLTP range of 285 miles, and a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds. Perhaps the greatest thing about the iX3 is it’s level of ‘normalness’.
And that’s deliberate.
BMW have taken the bold steps with the i8, and to a lesser extent, the i3, and they’ve been well-received, but there’s a lot of competition out there for a standard-ish electric vehicle, so BMW may just have hit the golden spot.
Of course, we say it’s quite standard, but let’s put that into perspective – BMWs standards are pretty high, so it’s not just a question of fitting an electric motor and hoping for the best; the regeneration system is super intelligent, using signals from the satellite navigation and radar to understand road position, speed and what’s ahead.
By doing this, the iX3 can predict the level of regeneration that’s best suited to the driving demands, to give best efficiency – lift off early and it will coast rather than slow dramatically, lift off a little later and maximum retardation is applied.
There’s other neat tricks as well, depending on which model you choose – an in-cabin sound generator that changes pitch and volume dependent on speed (a lifetime of driving internal combustion engines means that most drivers rely quite heavily on their sense of hearing), adaptive damping, adaptive lighting, self-parking, Heads-Up Display, and even gesture control.
That’s the beauty of the iX3 – it’s not trying to be radically different to emphasise the whole ‘electric vehicle’ thing, it keeps its technology where it’s needed, and understated, or perhaps the better way of looking at it is this: the technology, the drivetrain, the benefits … they’re all there in the package, but there for you, rather than onlookers.
The beauty of the BMW iX3 is it’s refreshing ease to use, and solid reliability coupled to BMWs strong styling department. If you’d like to take a closer look, or find out more specifications, why not contact a member of our friendly team to discuss your needs.