BMW has priced up its second fully electric model, the iX3, which is available to pre-order today ahead of UK customer deliveries commencing in summer 2021.
Two exclusive variants will be offered at launch: the Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro, which are priced from £61,900 and £64,900 respectively. Although not confirmed, cheaper variants could follow at a later date.
The Premier Edition comes as standard with kit including 20in alloy wheels with an aerodynamic design, an electric tailgate, adaptive suspension and a panoramic sunroof. Electrically adjustable heated front seats, wireless smartphone charging and a suite of driver assistance systems are also thrown in. Four exterior paint colours, two exterior trim colours and four Vernasca leather colours are offered.
The Premier Edition Pro brings more features, such as a head-up display, a Harman Kardon surround-sound system, gesture control, automatic high-beam, adjustable lumbar support and Parking Assistant Plus. It also features BMW’s new IconicSounds Electric augmented ‘engine’ sound generation, developed in conjunction with composer Hans Zimmer.
Based on the third-generation X3, the electric SUV is positioned above the i3 supermini and introduces what BMW describes as its fifth-generation eDrive system. This features a newly developed electric-motor-and-battery combination that provides it with 282bhp and an official WLTP range of 285 miles.
First previewed at the 2018 Beijing motor show, the iX3 breaks new ground by being the first BMW to be produced in China for export to key world markets.
Production of the iX3, the first of three new electric, i-branded BMW models due to go on sale within the next 18 months, will take place exclusively at a joint-venture factory operated by BMW and Chinese car maker Brilliance in Shenyang, Liaoning, with right-hand-drive UK deliveries planned to begin next March.
The BMW-developed motor avoids the use of rare earth metals, boosting the environmental credentials yet also reducing the manufacturing cost. Power density is said to be 30% greater than that of the i3’s motor. It’s also engineered to achieve its peak torque at higher sustained revs than any of BMW’s earlier motors. Sources suggest it can achieve up to 17,000rpm, compared with the i3’s 14,000rpm.
As well as featuring in the iX3, this fifth-generation motor is set to be used in a more powerful tune by the upcoming i4 compact saloon and the iNext large SUV, both of which are due by the end of 2021.
BMW claims a 0-62mph time of 6.8sec for the 2185kg iX3 – 0.4sec slower than for the 248bhp turbocharged four-cylinder petrol X3 sDrive30i. The iX3’s top speed is limited to 112mph to conserve range.
Energy is provided by an 80kWh gross (74kWh net) lithium ion battery pack that operates at 400V. By integrating the battery within the floorpan, BMW claims to have lowered the centre of gravity by up to 75mm over the conventional X3 for what are described as “noticably enhanced lateral dynamics”.
Unlike the i3, which uses Samsung battery cells, the iX3 uses cells from Chinese battery manufacturer CATL. BMW says the cobalt content has been significantly reduced, but the main reason to use CATL stems from a regulation that electric cars made in China must use a domestically produced battery.
BMW offers a number of different charging possibilities for the iX3, including 150kW DC rapid-charging for an 80% charge in 34 minutes.