BMW iX3 Review & Prices
The BMW iX3 should appeal to EV fans and SUV aficionados equally, but it isn’t as comfortable as it could be
Find out more about the BMW iX3
It’s the BMW equivalent of the Monsters Inc story. Until now, the company has used scary old petrol and diesel to generate power, but now they’ve found out that laugh-a-minute electricity actually works a whole lot better for everybody, and makes you smile, too.
So the iX3 is new, but just doesn’t look it. Up front, there’s the usual BMW grille, but it’s all a clever ruse because it doesn’t have to cool an engine, so it has been sealed to help reduce drag and give the car’s range a small boost. A dimpled pattern breaks up what would otherwise be a big sheet of black plastic.
The 20-inch wheels are unique to the BMW iX3, too. Their heavily sculpted design helps to smooth airflow along the side of the car, improving range, although they look exceptionally vulnerable to kerbing.
Assorted blue highlights to designate the electric model dotted around the iX3 – most obviously on the rear bumper where you’d normally spot some exhaust pipes – finish off the styling changes. There are also blue highlights around the ‘grille’, the badges and the sills.
EV Range Test: Audi Q4 e-tron v BMW iX3 v Hyundai Ioniq 5 v Kia EV6 v Skoda Enyaq
Under the skin is a solitary 286hp electric motor that also generates 400Nm of torque and drives the rear wheels.
There’s an 80kWh battery pack that should give a range of up to 285 miles – that’s according to the latest official testing procedure. That’s a bit more than key alternatives such as the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC, but a bit less than the Jaguar I-Pace. In the real world it will be a bit below that, especially in cold, wet conditions.
The iX3 should be compatible with almost every kind of charging station or power outlet, including super-fast 150kW chargers, which can give an 80% recharge in just 34 minutes. This means you can add 60-ish miles of range in about 10 minutes. There aren’t many 150kW chargers in the UK, but the network is growing.
Charging from less powerful outlets (such as a home wall-box charger or three-pin plug) will take longer – BMW reckons a full charge from empty will take around 12 hours. While electricity prices have risen lately, they’re not rising as fast as the cost of petrol or diesel, so an electric iX3 will still be much cheaper to run than a conventional X3.
All electric cars feature brake regeneration – a system that uses the electric motor as an extra brake that can feed energy back to the batteries that would otherwise be lost as the car slows down. This always happens when you press the brake pedal, but the iX3 joins many of the latest electric cars by giving the system the ability to bring you to a stop when you lift off the accelerator pedal, too. It allows for one-pedal driving, which (once you’re used to it) is an extremely relaxing way of dealing with urban traffic.
A 285-mile range puts BMW right in the ballpark. It's better than a Mercedes EQC but not as good as a Jaguar I-Pace
It’s not the fastest version of the X3, but it’s still pretty quick with a 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 112mph, which helps to preserve range. It’s more than enough for UK drivers, anyway.
The first thing you notice when you get out and about in your iX3 is how quiet it is. There’s no noise from the engine and transmission, so you only notice a little wind and road noise as your speed rises.
Adaptive suspension is fitted to the iX3 as standard, so it’s pretty comfortable, although a Mercedes EQC still trumps it for out-and-out ride quality. However, the suspension stops the iX3’s body from rolling too much during cornering. The iX3 grips strongly, too, and its handling is doubtless helped by the fact that the batteries are stored in the floor, lowering the centre of gravity. Flicking the suspension into Sport model firm things up a lot, to the extent that it makes the ride too firm, but it certainly sharpens the handling and gives the iX3 a distinctly sporty feel.
All iX3s are well equipped. The entry-level M Sport comes with a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless phone charging, electrically adjustable leather seats, adaptive suspension (which lets you choose between soft, comfortable settings and stiffer, sportier ones) and a panoramic glass roof. The top-spec M-Sport Pro car has a Harman Kardon audio system, a head-up display and an automatic parking system.
If the BMW iX3 is an upmarket electric SUV that ticks all the right boxes for you, make sure you check out our BMW iX3 deals page to find out how much you could save when buying through carwow.
The BMW iX3 has a RRP range of £65,160 to £68,160. However, with carwow you can save on average £4,602. Prices start at £60,663 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £594. The price of a used BMW iX3 on carwow starts at £38,990.
Our most popular versions of the BMW iX3 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|210kW M Sport 80kWh 5dr Auto||£60,663||Compare offers|
The iX3 seems well-priced against other electric SUVs, for example the Mercedes-Benz EQC costs around £5,000 more in basic trim. The iX3 costs pretty much exactly the same as a Jaguar I-Pace, with similar overall range, so that’s fine too. The problems start to mount up when you compare it to a Tesla Model Y or an Audi Q4 e-tron. Now, theoretically these are smaller cars, but both have cabin space on a par with the iX3, and both can be bought for less cash, and with a longer range.
Does the iX3 line up to Audi’s bigger, grander e-tron quattro SUV? Kind of, but that’s arguably closer to BMW’s pricier iX. It’s also worth noting that the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are both roomier inside than the iX3, but much cheaper. Think a Hyundai or Kia can’t compete with a BMW? Think again — both have more range, and both have gorgeous, high-tech cabins.
Super-refined, and actually good fun to drive, but despite the SUV looks it’s rear-drive only
Around town and at lower speeds, the iX3 is very, very relaxing and easy to drive. As with most electric cars, noise levels are kept well under control. By knocking the gear selector to the left, you can put the iX3 into ‘B’ mode which ramps up the regenerative braking, slowing you down without using the physical brakes, which is handy in city driving. In fact, B mode will actually bring the car to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal if you have enough space — proper ‘one-pedal’ driving. The turning circle is OK, nothing special but it’s fine, and the steering is nicely light so it’s pretty easy to manoeuvre. The suspension, with the adaptive dampers, rides bumps nicely but it’s a touch firm compared to the likes of the Mercedes EQC. It’s about the same as the Jag I-Pace, though. One annoying thing — the brakes often make an irritating squeaky-groan noise, like someone’s reclining in an old rocking chair.
On the motorway
The refinement continues when you take the iX3 up onto the motorway; although you’ll start to notice a bit more tyre roar and wind noise, but it never gets really out of hand. The sheer grunt of the iX3’s single rear-wheel drive electric motor helps when you’re joining a fast-moving motorway as it rockets from 40mph up to 70mph, and the well-tuned suspension means it’ll cling on firmly on a long, curving on-ramp. The EQC and Audi e-tron are, again, a little bit quieter than the BMW, but there’s not a massive gap.
On a twisty road
The iX3 is really, properly quick. Other EVs with two-motor, four-wheel drive systems might be able to scamper to 62mph faster, but the BMW lives up to its on-paper 6.8secs time — in fact, it might even beat that as we were able to get to 60mph in just under 6.0secs.
Speed is one thing, control is another, but the iX3 is all over that. The battery pack is mounted low down in the car’s floor, so its centre of gravity is actually lower than that of a standard diesel or petrol X3, meaning you can chuck it around with plenty of confidence. The steering has pretty good weight and feel, and that firms up if you put it in Sport mode, but the trouble is so too does the suspension, and then things just get a bit too bumpy.
Better to leave it in Comfort mode, to be honest. It’s still engaging to drive even then, although it doesn’t quite have the hooligan tendencies of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It also won’t slide and skid about, in spite of being rear-wheel drive — try to do that and it just kind of understeers like a big electric lump. Even so, it does get BMW’s new-ish traction control system, where the control module is mounted directly to the electric motor so that it can react faster and more accurately any time you start to lose traction. That said, you’re not going to be getting very far off-road with just rear-wheel drive and a ride-height that loses 2cm compared to the standard X3.
Lots of space for people but the boot is slightly smaller than that of the regular X3
The iX3’s cabin is basically the same as that of the standard X3, so practicality levels are pretty good. In front of the gear selector, you’ll find two big cup holders, and a storage tray that also has the wireless phone charger. There’s another decently-sized storage area under the armrest between the front seats, and the door bins are pretty big too. The glovebox isn’t the biggest, but it’ll do. Space for people is fine too, although subjectively it doesn’t feel as roomy inside as EV SUV Audis, but it’s about on a par with the Merc EQC. If you want proper stretch-out space in your EV crossover, maybe think Hyundai Ioniq 5…
Space in the back seats
The combination of a slim battery pack and scooped-out front seatbacks means that there’s plenty of space for knees, feet, and heads in the back seats. The seats in the back are also well-designed so you’re not sitting awkwardly with your knees perched up, so you’ll get fewer backaches on a long journey in the back of the iX3. The back seats recline too, so it’s easy to get very comfy. The centre rear seat is a little bit raised up compared to the others, but it’s not too bad and you should be able to get three people sitting comfortably across the back (especially if they’re teenagers).
Behind the electric tailgate, the iX3 has a nice square boot with a flat floor, so there’s no load lip between the edge of the bumper and the boot floor. That makes loading heavy boxes and bags so much easier. You get handy storage areas at each side with nets for holding delicate items, and there’s a 12-volt socket for anything that needs to be charged. There are useful tie-down points in the floor, and a handle just inside the edge of the boot that allows you to fold the back seats down.
When they’re folded, the boot expands from a standard 510 litres (up to the luggage cover) to 1,560 litres (if you load it to the roof). That is 40 litres less than what you get in a standard X3 though, and you lose the useful under-floor storage area too. There is a small under-floor storage space, which will generally be full of charging cables, but the space that would normally allow you to slot in the retractable luggage cover and so on has been taken up by the rear-mounted electric motor. Annoyingly, even though the motor is at the back and there’s now no engine up front, BMW hasn’t added a front-boot (froot?) to the iX3, so there’s no handy storage space under the bonnet.
High quality, good comfort, but the infotainment isn’t as good as some others
You know how we’ve been saying that the iX3 has a lot of the same bits and pieces as the standard petrol-and-diesel BMW X3? Yeah, well get ready for more of the same because… the iX3’s cabin is basically the same as that of the standard X3. Well, what did you expect?
The only real differences are that the iX3 gets some little bits of metallic blue trim, which to be honest actually look a little bit cheap, but they do remind you that you’re driving an EV rather than a smelly old diesel. It’s a very comfortable cabin though, and we love the slim-rimmed steering wheel which is so much nicer to hold than the over-stuffed, over-padded wheel of some sportier BMW models.
The infotainment system in the iX3 is the iDrive version 7.0, not the ritzier version 8.0 that you’ll find in the bigger iX electric SUV and the low-slung i4 electric four-door coupe. 8.0 gets a dramatic curved touchscreen that runs from in front of the driver half way across the dash. The iX3 makes do with the older system, which has separate 12.3-inch screens for the instruments and the infotainment. To be fair, both work fine — the instrument panel can be configured with different displays between the rev counter and speedo, and there’s an optional, and very useful, heads-up display which shines your speed and sat nav directions onto the windscreen.
The central infotainment display is a touchscreen, but you can also use the old-school BMW iDrive click-wheel down on the centre console, which is possibly a bit safer to use when you’re on the move. The menu layout is fairly simple, and the fact that BMW has kept proper physical controls for the air conditioning makes things a bit easier and simpler. You do get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections, although these can be a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to connecting, so you might be better off just using a physical cable most of the time.
There’s a clever feature in the sat nav in that it knows when you’re coming up to an area with the lower speed limit, and it can automatically start to slow the car down using the regenerative braking, topping up the battery a little and making sure you arrive at the new speed zone at the correct limit. It does feel a bit weird at first — as if the car has developed a mind of its own — but you can turn it off if you don’t like it.
In general, it’s a good system but BWM’s own newer version 8.0 setup is better still, and we prefer — if only just — Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system.
You don’t get any options when it comes to the iX3’s battery and motor — there’s a single choice of an 80kWh (gross, the actual useable capacity is 74kWh) battery and a single rear-mounted electric motor developing 286hp.
Now, BMW claims a range on one charge of up to 282 miles, which is competitive with the likes of Jaguar’s I-Pace and the Mercedes EQC, but slightly behind what you’ll get from a Tesla Model Y, or indeed the likes of the Kia EV6 or Hyundai Ioniq 5.
During our testing, we managed a respectable 3.6 miles per kWh and got 281 miles from the battery. That's 91% of its claimed range, the joint-highest percentage in the test, tied with the Kia EV6. Its efficiency figure was decent but still behind the best-in-class on the day of 3.7 miles per kWh, achieved by the EV6 and Ford Mustang Mach-e.
If you can find a public charger putting out 150kW, then the iX3 can add 237 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes, which is good. Plus, BMW is part of the IONITY high-speed charger consortium, so you’ll get access to those chargers at cheaper rates than pay-as-you-go customers. For slower AC charging, the iX3 can take in an 11kW charge which is handy when you’re using kerb-side or shopping centre chargers.
Oh, and with zero-emissions you’ll be paying no VED excise tax in your first year. Nothing. Zip. Nada.
Euro NCAP, the nice helpful people who slam new cars into walls so that you don’t have to, hasn’t tested the iX3 itself, but the standard X3 got a full five-star safety rating when it was tested back in 2017. That included a 93% score for adult occupant protection, and 84% for child occupants, both of which are impressive.
As standard, the iX3 comes with active radar guided cruise control which can slow you down to a stop in heavy traffic, steering that keeps you in your lane on a motorway, a speed limit assistant that reads road signs and gives you a warning to slow down if you need to and an active side collision protection system that stops you pulling out into the path of another car when you’re changing lanes.
The iX3 comes as standard with LED headlights, but these can be optionally upgraded to BMW’s Laser Lights, which can throw a main-beam 600 metres up the road, and which have active elements to stop you dazzling other road users. M-Sport Pro models also come with the Parking Assistant Plus which not only has a surround-view camera system, but which can also back you into a parking space, taking care of the braking and all.
The M-Sport Pro also uses the windscreen mounted camera that scans the road ahead for potential collisions as a traffic camera, recording video in the event of a crash.
BMWs aren’t always as reliable as you might expect, sometimes suffering small niggling issues with electrics and infotainment systems. Generally speaking, the X3 is one of BMW’s better cars when it comes to quality and longevity, and the fact that the iX3 has fewer moving parts (electric motors are way, way simpler than petrol or diesel engines) should make for fewer faults going forward. All BMW i-badged electric models come with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and an extra eight-year 100,000-mile warranty for the battery.
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