2021 BMW iX3 revealed: price, specs and release date
This is the BMW iX3 electric car. It’s a pure EV version of the BMW X3 SUV and here’s everything you need to know about it.
- looks subtly different to X3
- 285-mile range
- 150kW rapid charge capability
- 0-62mph in 6.8s
- Top speed limited to 112mph
- Latest BMW infotainment
- On sale summer 2021
- Price: £60,000 (expected)
2021 BMW iX3 design
Some electric cars look radically different to petrol- and diesel-powered models, but not the BMW iX3. In fact, it’s pretty similar to the standard X3 from most angles. The biggest clues are the filled-in kidney-shaped grilles at the front that do away with the X3’s vertical slats. The iX3 doesn’t need these air intakes because it doesn’t need to cool a big, hot engine and the closed-up grille helps make it more aerodynamic.
There are subtle design changes at the rear, too, which BMW says has been ‘sculpted’ to improve aerodynamics. There are newly designed alloy wheels which, you’ve guessed it, aid aerodynamics too.
To cap the design changes off there are blue highlights in the grilles, along the running boards at the side and at the rear where you’d expect to see the exhaust pipes on the standard X3.
2021 BMW iX3 range and charging
If you can find a 150kw charger (they are rare in the UK, but the rapid-charging network is growing) you can go from 0-80% charge in around 34 minutes. That’s to say you can add 60-odd miles of range in around 10 minutes.
2021 BMW iX3 brake regeneration
Like many electric cars these days you can drive the iX3 in normal situations without having to use the brake pedal. When you lift off the accelerator, the brake energy regeneration system slows the car down for you.
This may sound a bit weird, but you get used to it pretty quickly and it helps extend your car’s range. You can select how strong this brake regeneration feels – high, medium or low. Low lets the car coast for longer while high slows it down more quickly.
It also has a smart system where the brake energy regeneration can be adapted to the road situation using data from the sat nav and driver assistance system. For example,
when approaching a junction or a car on the road ahead, recuperation is fully engaged and the BMW iX3 will slow down for you. You’ll always be able to override this system by using either the accelerator or brake pedal.
2021 BMW iX3 performance
The 286hp BMW iX3 isn’t the most powerful or quickest version of the X3 you can buy, but it’s no slouch either – it’ll do the 0-60mph dash in less than 6.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 112mph should you want to stretch the car’s legs on an unrestricted autobahn.
2021 BMW iX3 driving
The iX3 has a lower centre of gravity than the standard X3 – some 7.5cm lower. This means more of the car’s mass is located close to the road, which helps stop the car leaning in tight bends. This helps the iX3 feel sportier to drive and should stop your passengers feeling car sick on twisty roads.
The iX3 is rear-wheel drive, so there’s no four-wheel-drive option. Adaptive suspension comes as standard and includes electronically controlled dampers. This means you should be able to adjust how the car feels to drive, ranging from comfy to firmer and more sporty.
It’s likely you’ll be able to upgrade to Adaptive M suspension at a later date, which should be firmer still. It’ll make the car feel more sporty to drive, but not quite as comfortable over rough road surfaces.
2021 BMW iX3 noise
What should a BMW electric car sound like? How would it sound different to EVs from Audi and Mercedes? Clearly, BMW’s designers have thought about this for a long time because they’ve called on the services of Hans Zimmer, the legendary Hollywood movie composer who scored the likes of Gladiator and Inception. He’s helped with the noise the car makes – or should that be plays? – when you press the Start/Stop button.
The synthetic electric whoosh sound the car makes when you drive it is a BMW in-house effort, but future BMW electric cars will make a whole symphony of sounds composed by Zimmer.
2021 BMW iX3 boot space
Practicality is a bit compromised in the BMW iX3 compared with the standard X3. The boot holds 510 litres, while the standard X3 has 550 litres of space – the difference is the equivalent of a few shopping bags. It’s a similar story with the seats down – the iX3’s boot can hold 1560 litres compared with 1600 in the standard car. It’s also about 50 litres smaller than the Audi e-tron but 50 litres bigger than the boot in a Mercedes EQC.
2021 BMW iX3 infotainment
The iX3 will come with a 12-inch driver’s display behind the steering wheel and a 10-inch touch screen on the dashboard. It can be operated by touch, voice commands, hand gestures, buttons on the steering wheel or the traditional iDrive controller. It’s a smart system that can learn your habits and automatically turn on your favourite radio station or enter your route home into the sat-nav, for example.
Handily, the software system can be updated ‘over-the-air’, which means you don’t have the hassle of having to visit the dealership to get the latest features.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – lacking in many previous BMWs – come as standard, so you can connect your phone and mirror your favourite apps on the car’s built-in screens.
2021 BMW iX3 price and release date
The BMW iX3 will be released in the summer of 2021. It will be available in a single equipment trim called Premium. Exact prices and specs will be revealed this autumn, but expect to pay from around £60,000 to park one on your drive.