But isn’t that just a BMW X3?
There you have a point. The electric iX3 is directly derived from the BMW X3 with combustion engine. External differences are limited to the closed BMW kidneys and the smoother front bumper with a narrower air slot. If you look very closely, you can still see the blue rings around the BMW emblems. You really have to grab a tape measure to discover that the iX3 has been put a centimeter lower on its wheels.
Speaking of wheels, 19-inch alloy wheels with optimized aerodynamics have been specially designed for the iX3. You don’t see these wheels in the photos. The test car that the BMW importer gave us was still on winter tires.
You hardly notice any difference inside. You sit comfortably in the front as well as in the back, and you do not have the idea that there is a large battery pack of 80 kWh under your feet. The electric motor is located between the driven rear wheels and consumes 40 liters of the load volume.
With the iX3, the bonnet shouldn’t be called that anymore. Because when you open it, you see a large black plastic cover that does not hide much more than the wheel suspension, the steering and the control system of the batteries. Here BMW could have created an extra cargo space, if only to fit the charging cable. Now it is mainly empty space that is hidden under the hood … sorry, front cover.
What remains of the X3’s practicality?
With a trunk of 510 to 1560 liters, you will not soon run out of space. And you can also tow a trailer behind the iX3. Although not with the total weight of 2400 kilos, as the X3 with a petrol or diesel engine is allowed to pull, the iX3 is still allowed to drive with 750 kilos on the towbar. That’s just as much as the Jaguar I-Pace. The Tesla Model 3 is at 910 kilos and the Volkswagen ID.4 at 1000 kilos (braked).
The BMW iX3 was not developed as an electric car from the very first sketches. Many buyers will see this as an advantage: the interior is not science fiction, the dashboard is not Battlestar Galactica. However, the easy-to-use iDrive multimedia system has been expanded with the functions that are important for an electric car, such as the display of energy consumption and all the information you want about the range and the charging speed. And the finish is what you can expect from a BMW that costs 67,500 euros.
Nice, such a heavy SUV on electricity, but then you definitely stop at every charging station?
That’s better than expected. Because in the first place, by the standards of plug-in cars, the iX3 is not that terribly heavy at all. The license plate says 2185 kilos. This means that the iX3 weighs only 60 kilos more than the (20 centimeters shorter) Volkswagen ID.4 with 77 kWh battery. In addition, the range test of the BMW iX3 showed that the car is more economical with the power than the ID.4.
BMW has placed a large battery pack of 80 kWh in the iX3. Of that capacity, 74 kWh is available for driving kilometers and for the functioning of electrical accessories such as climate control, radio and lighting. BMW itself uses a range of 460 kilometers (WLTP). There is really no critical note to crack there.
For the wire: does such an iX3 also drive like … a real BMW?
The iX3 drives superbly. It is very comfortable, but – within the possibilities of its size and mass – does not shy away from a sporty escapade. Its electric motor produces 286 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Good for a sprint time of 6.8 seconds to one hundred. No Tesla numbers, but more than fast enough.
And driving pleasure can be experienced with the iX3. The car steers tight and it is not difficult to influence the curves with the power. Especially when the road is wet, you notice that the car only has rear-wheel drive, as soon as you open the power regulator with your right foot.
On the other hand, you can also consider the absence of a four or six cylinder hum as driving pleasure. Driving noises remain neatly outside the car, which only benefits comfort. And if you are in need of sound, you can always call up an artificial sound by pressing the Sport button.
The key question: is the BMW iX3 worth its high price?
The BMW iX3 is listed for 67,500 euros in the price list. That is 20,000 euros more than the cheapest Volkswagen ID.4 with 77 kWh battery pack. A car that is too comparable in terms of interior space and size. Only this deserves a note. The VW ID.4 is slower and moreover less spacious in its standard equipment than the BMW iX3.
If we bring the equipment of the Volkswagen ID.4 to the level of the BMW iX3, you have to choose the most complete version right away. Only the ID.4 Max comes with adaptive shock absorbers, a panoramic roof, air conditioning with three temperature zones and electrically adjustable seats. That version immediately comes to an amount of 59,990 euros. But that is still more than 7,000 euros cheaper than a standard iX3.
Where the Volkswagen leaves it, is in the field of finish, refinement and ‘normalness’. The BMW iX3 is electric, but it looks the same as an X3 on petrol or diesel and the driving experience is hardly different. Possibly that will win EV-skeptical BMW customers over the line.
Although we believe that the additional cost of 7,000 euros compared to the most complete Volkswagen ID.4 should pay for itself in more. For example in a battery pack that takes the iX3 much further than the cheaper electrical alternatives. You have to be a very big BMW fan to want to spend 7000 euros more …