BMW iX3 Concept – All you need to know
Electric vehicles weren’t new when BMW revealed the i3 electric hatchback and i8 hybrid sportscar back in 2012.
But the arrival of such a well-respected and premium name to the electric arena was undoubtedly a watershed moment for the sector, forcing many sceptics to reassess their stance and predictions.
BMW’s electric ambition confirmed that EVs weren’t going to fizzle out as in previous instances. In the past, the tech wasn’t ready, with the cars returning a pitiful mile range, weak performance and an uninspired driving experience. To really kill it off, few people would’ve been proud to drive something that looks as dorky as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV or Peugeot iOn.
However, much changed with 2011’s Nissan Leaf. This car was effectively a showreel for the progress that had been made, reversing all the previous gripes and reservations. The Leaf was fun to drive, had a genuinely useful range and it looked great – even if the second-gen model toned down much of the original’s kooky look.
Since the i3 and i8 arrived, the brand has steadily been introducing plug-in hybrid versions of many models, namely the 2 Series Active Tourer, the 3, 5 and 7 Series, as well as the X5. Now it will go all-electric once again with the iX3.
Plenty of rivals
The name might not look pretty on paper/screen/whatever, but the car itself is sure to get a second glance when it goes into production in 2020.
By that time, we’ll have loads of electric SUVs, with the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X, not to mention one from Mercedes-Benz, in UK showrooms.
As we’re still talking about a concept, it’d be kind of unfair to compare numbers so closely, but the production iX3 would need to improve on the 249-mile range currently offered with the concept to compete with its rivals; you can already pick up a 351-mile Model X, while Jaguar’s I-Pace offers almost 300.
Luckily, recharging the iX3 shouldn’t take too long. Hooking the car up to fast-charging 150 kW stations for just 30 minutes almost completely recharges the battery.
No 0-62mph sprint time has been given for the concept, but its electric motors can generate the equivalent of up to 196bhp and, considering the inevitable weight-saving measures, that should result in a somewhat bracing performance.
The physical design of the current X3 has been changed to optimise its aerodynamics, with the closed-off kidney grille and light-alloy wheels reducing air resistance.
For now, production of the iX3 will be handled solely by BMW’s Shenyang plant. If no other sites become involved before launch, this would make the iX3 the first Chinese-built BMW to be sold in Europe.
More to follow?
BMW has trademarked every electric combination from iX1 to iX9, suggesting there could be a day when the brand’s entire SUV range gets electrified.
Of course, many of the details mentioned here are liable to change before the electric SUV launches but what do you think? Tell us down there in the comments.