New BMW iX3: specs, prices and on-sale date

The new BMW iX3 has been revealed; the first fully-electric BMW SUV goes on sale in 2021

BMW iX3 front tracking

The pure-electric BMW iX3 has been revealed, before pricing and specification information is announced in the autumn. Boasting an 80kWh battery (with 74kWh usable capacity), the new iX3 is capable of up to 285 miles on a charge.

Closely related to the conventional X3, the iX3 gets subtly sculpted body panels and a set of special aerodynamic wheels to aid efficiency – the latter reducing the car’s drag coefficient by around 5%. BMW says this adds up to six miles to the car’s officially calculated driving range.

Using an adapted version of the standard X3’s platform, BMW has positioned the batteries on the floor – lowering the SUV’s centre of gravity by 7.5cm. The addition of this new model means the X3 is the first BMW to be offered with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains.

Using what BMW calls its “fifth-generation eDrive technology”, the iX3’s powertrain will also feature in the forthcoming BMW iNEXT and BMW i4, which are due on sale in 2021. The brand claims the density of the electric motor is “30% greater than that of existing fully electric vehicles within the BMW Group portfolio.”

BMW iX3 performance, acceleration, range and charging

Developing 282bhp and 400Nm of torque, the iX3 accelerates from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, while the car’s top speed is electronically limited to 112mph. The iX3 is rear-wheel drive; no xDrive four-wheel-drive model is planned for the SUV’s launch.

Where applicable, the iX3 can be charged from a three-phase 11kW charging point, or from a DC rapid charger at 150kW. Doing so replenishes the batteries from 0-80% in 34 minutes – a rate of 62 miles in just 10 minutes. BMW says the lower weight of the iX3’s cells compared to rivals means it can not only charge faster, but will require fewer stops on longer trips.

The iX3 features three settings for the regenerative braking system: high, medium or low. In addition, there’s a fourth ‘B’ setting, which engages what BMW claims will deliver “one-pedal” driving with “particularly strong recuperation”.

A further adaptive setup can use data from the sat-nav and driver-assistance sensors to decide how much force to slow the car with. It can reduce the car’s speed for an upcoming junction, for example, or choose to engage the coasting function if the road ahead is clear.

Interior and technology

The inside of the new iX3 isn't all that different to the standard petrol and diesel model, albeit with a few subtle changes to mark out the fully-electric version. Most obvious are the “understated blue accents” that feature on the gear lever, steering wheel and start-stop button. 

Elsewhere, there's iX3 branding on the centre console, and on the door sills, which are visible when you open the door. We expect sparingly few changes elsewhere, with similarly plush materials and a high quality finish for the doors and dashboard.

BMW has confirmed that the new iX3 will feature the firm’s latest infotainment operating system, which allows for future over-the-air updates. Every version will get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch central display. BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant allows for advanced voice recognition, while the iX3 will be offered not only with Apple CarPlay, but also Android Auto.

Practicality

The tweaks to the platform and packaging result in a slightly smaller boot, and yet the iX3’s 510-litre load bay sizes up strongly against the petrol model’s 550-litre space. Overall capacity with the rear seats folded drops to 1,560 litres; 40 litres smaller than in a conventional X3.

Price and availability

The car is set to be built at BMW's factory in Dadong, China. It'll initially be available only in a high-end Premier trim level, and full prices and specifications revealed in the autumn – at which point the car will be officially available for pre-order. First customer deliveries are expected in the summer of 2021, with prices from around £65,000.