2021 BMW iX3 electric SUV: range, charging time and performance

New electric SUV from BMW offers 285-mile range, fast charging and cutting edge battery tech to compete with Audi and Jaguar rivals

Simon Ostler
Jul 27, 2020

Keen on electric SUVs but looking for something with a bit more prestige than current Kia or Hyundai options? You could go for an Audi or a Jaguar, but you’ll soon be able to get something with a BMW badge on it as well.

It’s been a long wait, but BMW has finally revealed its next electric car - the iX3, which sits alongside the petrol and diesel X3 SUV. The iX3 follows on from the i3 electric hatchback and the i8 plug-in hybrid and should appeal to a far broader range of customers.

It’s BMWs first electric SUV, offering emission-free driving and a battery range not far off what you’d expect from a tank of petrol in car this size. Those used to driving a diesel car, however, will find stops to recharge are far more frequent than they’re used to, though, with a claimed range figure of 285 miles per charge.

The BMW iX3 is set to launch in summer 2021, with exact details on a launch date, pricing and specifications to be announced shortly. We expect to see a price tag of around £60,000-£70,000, which puts it on a par with the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace.

BMW iX3 battery and performance

For many potential electric SUVs drivers, battery range is the main focus. The likes of the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace are both capable of reaching well over 200 miles per charge. The iX3, meanwhile, should be able to achieve around 285 miles per charge.

This figure comes from the latest and most accurate efficiency testing standards, so it should be reasonably achievable on real roads.

The battery powers an electric motor that produces 286hp - enough to power the iX3 from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds. This means it's similarly fast as a mid-range diesel X3, but slower than some of its electric rivals. Its top speed is limited to 112mph - lower than the petrol and diesel equivalents but still far more than enough on public roads.

That power is sent to the rear wheels, which is a staple of previous BMW models, while clever computer systems will stop the wheels from spinning too much under acceleration.

The list of useful tech doesn’t end there, though. The iX3 has three settings you can use while driving to alter the strength of battery regeneration (which adds charge back to the battery) when you lift off the throttle pedal.

More regeneration will result in a more abrupt deceleration, in turn pumping more electricity back into the battery, consequently boosting your remaining range. Meanwhile, a lower setting will bring a smoother experience when lifting off the accelerator while recouping less energy back into the battery.

Alternatively, you can allow the car to make use of its sat-nav data to adjust the setting for you depending on the type of road you're driving on. This could mean a sharper and more abrupt response if you’re approaching a junction, which helps to slow the car, and a softer, more progressive reaction if you’re cruising along the open road.

BMW iX3 charging

BMW says the lightweight battery fitted to the iX3 is not only more efficient than previous generations but also be quicker to charge.

The iX3 is compatible with rapid charging up to 150kW, which allows a 0-80% charge in 34 minutes. A 10-minute charge with this type of connection, meanwhile, will add 62 miles of charge if you’re in a hurry to get moving again.

AC charging is available as standard, up to 11kW if you have the latest three-phase charging system that allows for faster charging from your home socket. Details on how long charging at home will take are expected at a later date.

BMW iX3 interior and technology

We haven’t had a proper look inside the iX3 yet, but much like the exterior design, expect there to be similarities with the current X3.

There are two screens, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10.3-inch central media system display. You can interact with these either by using the touchscreen for the media system, voice control, steering wheel buttons, or with BMW’s 'iDrive' rotary control dial.

In terms of convenience, you get sat-nav that will keep track of your battery range and point out suitable charging stations en route should you be running low.

You can also connect your smart phone to the media system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard features, meaning Google Maps, Spotify and Amazon Music are all compatible.

BMW iX3 dimensions

Again, we’re looking towards the X3 for size comparisons. The current petrol and diesel version stands shoulder to shoulder with the Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace in terms of dimensions and we expect the iX3 to be of a similar stature.

Boot space has shrunk compared to the X3, though. Expect 510 litres with the rear seats in place, growing to 1,560 litres if you fold down the 40:20:40 split rear seats.

 

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