The 6 things you should know about the BMW iX3 electric SUV [Video]

The BMW iX3, the all-electric SUV based on the BMW X3, is officially out. It is priced at €68,000 (about $77,500) and will be sold in the LHD markets of Europe and China. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Exterior

Product Highlights

The exterior of the BMW X3 comes through largely unscathed following the ‘electric’ conversion. Blue accents around the vehicle symbolise the fact that it is an Electric. The front apron and the classic BMW kidney grille have an enclosed design. The front and rear have been resculpted to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency. The wheels have a more aerodynamic design, which reduces the drag coefficient by around 5 per cent and adds around 10 km to the range (WLTP cycle). All the aerodynamic advancements together give the BMW iX3 a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.29.

2. Interior

Interior

The iX3 has the practicality and spaciousness associated with an SUV. A 40:20:40 split seat arrangement allows increasing the luggage capacity from 510 to a maximum of 1,560 litres. BMW debuts the BMW IconicSounds showcased in the i4 concept in the production iX3. This function, developed with Hollywood music composer Hans Zimmer, provides acoustic feedback with a sound pattern to every driving action which increases involvement and keeps the driver alert and aware of his actions. For example, when the Start/Stop button is pressed, the speakers play a short melody. The Blue accents continue its way inside the cabin, further emphasizing the SUV’s eco-friendly character.

iX3 customers have a choice of 2 available trim lines, namely Inspiring and Impressive.  

The Inspiring trim line is well equipped with a list of tech features. It includes LED headlights, a panoramic glass sunroof, 19-inch wheels, power boot door, ambient lighting, electrically adjustable seats with a memory function for the driver and three-zone automatic climate control system including pre-heating and pre-conditioning function. Then there are also several driver aids such as Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go functionality, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Change Warning and Lane Departure Warning, front and rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure indicator and an alarm system. BMW Live Cockpit Professional with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and so is wireless charging.

The higher Impressive trim features 20-inch wheels, Adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display, High Beam Assistant and Parking Assistant Plus including a rearview camera. On the inside, users get acoustic glazing for the front door windows, Vernasca leather trim and front sports seats with lumbar support. BMW gesture control and a Harman Kardon surround sound system also come included.

3. Performance

The BMW X3 Electric crossover is equipped with an 80 kWh (74 kWh useable) Lithium-ion battery pack. It can return a range of up to 460 km in a single charge in the WLTP cycle. The battery supports fast-charging up to 150 kW, where it can be charged to its full capacity in just 34 minutes.

The fifth-gen BMW eDrive technology that powers the iX3 is built on a flexible architecture that can be fitted to all types of front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive platforms. The electric motor, transmission and power electronics are grouped into a single component, making it easier to integrate into different vehicle layouts. The BMW eDrive technology has lower weight, scalability and compact construction that can be utilized in different ways, thanks to the flexible modular design. A further highlight is its electric motor that does not use rare earths in the construction.

Electrical architecture

The iX3 is powered by a single electric motor mounted at the rear that generates 210 kW/286 PS of maximum power and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). This allows the SUV to accelerate from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.8 seconds. BMW claims the power density of the electric motor in the BMW iX3 is 30 per cent greater than other fully electric vehicles from BMW. Top speed is electronically limited to 180 km/h (112 mph). The claimed range is 460 km (285 miles) in the WLTP test cycle and up to 520 kilometres (323 miles) in the NEDC test cycle. The BMW iX3 can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent in 34 minutes. 10 minutes of charging can add 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the car’s driving range. For more charging time details, refer to the specification table at the end of this story.

To optimise range and efficiency, features like the E-Route function offers recommendations for mid-journey stops to charge the high-voltage battery. It calculates the distance to the next charging station and also provides useful information about those charging stations.

Adaptive recuperation function enhances the efficiency of the BMW iX3. The intensity of the Brake Energy Regeneration system is modified constantly to the road situation described by data from the navigation system and the driver assistance system sensors.

4. Handling

BMW says that electric powertrain hasn’t dampened the handling characteristics of the X3. The battery pack lowers the SUV’s centre of gravity by around 7.5 centimetres, which enhances its lateral dynamics. The iX3 also gets standard adaptive suspension that includes electronically controlled Dampers. Customers can opt for an optional Adaptive M suspension that is tuned to deliver particularly sporty damper response. The ARB traction system, also found in the BMW i3 offers high levels of traction in adverse weather conditions and on loose grounds.

The iX3 will be offered with the newly developed Flexible Fast Charger cable and can be hooked up to both standard domestic and industrial sockets by using adapters. Customers will be able to purchase Smart Wallbox available which can be integrated into an existing home management system and allows tracking power consumption and usage.

5. Production

The iX3 will be built by the BMW-Brilliance Automotive joint venture in Shenyang, China and is expected to tap into new customer groups for the brand. The car will be shipped to global destinations from the Chinese production site. If imported to India (if and when an RHD version is available), it would make for a good Mercedes EQC rival, but with BMW (and the auto industry) caught off guard by the Coronavirus pandemic, it may take a while before the company considers products for the niche segments.

The BMW iX3 has successfully completed all the homologation tests required for its sale in markets around the world. The results of the tests have been sent to the regulatory authorities in specific automotive markets. This is the first time BMW managed to complete the homologation process for two markets – Europe and China – at the same time. This was possible with the efficiency of the team working for its testing, the company said last month. The staff on the testing team (for homologation) had spent more than 340 hours of testing which span over 7,700 kilometres of test drives which were completed under 4 weeks.

While the iX3 underwent testing, the production team at BBA JV Plant at Dadong, Shenyang (China) started preparing for production concurrently. The team at Dadong have been assembling BMW X3 electric pre-production vehicles since the middle of 2019 in the same line that manufactures the BMW X3 combustion models.

Over 200 pre-production models have been built so far to be tested on Chinese roads letting engineers make changes and adjust parameters. The team believes they are right on schedule and on-time production will ensure punctual launch dates. The BBA JV plant will use sophisticated technologies like the new custom high-voltage battery installation and AI part monitoring to ramp up the production rate as well as maintain quality.

6. Sales

In early March, BMW confirmed that the iX3 would not be sold in all global markets. The focus area for the electric SUV will be Europe. Surprisingly, the USA, BMW’s second-biggest market (in sales volumes), will not be receiving the iX3. It is believed that the absence of an all-wheel drive system, the regulatory pressure in the EU to curb emissions that gets the preference during allocation planning, and the lack of a high-spec iX3 variant are the reasons for the decision. Sales will begin by the end of this year, with China as the first market.

BMW iX3 Technical Specifications

BMW iX3 SpecificationsFigures
No of doors/seats5 / 5
Length/width/height (unladen) mm4734 / 1891 / 1668
Wheelbase2864 mm
Turning circle12.1 m
Weight, unladen (DIN/EU) kg2185 / 2260
Max load to DIN kg540 kg
Max permissible weight2725 kg
Max axle load- front / rear940 / 1040 kg
Max trailer load braked/ unbraked750 / 750 kg
Max roofload /max towbar
download
100 / 75 kg
Luggage comp capacity510 – 1560 litres
Electric MotorFigures
Motor TechnologyFifth-generation BMW eDrive technology:
current-excited synchronous electric motor, power electronics and single-speed transmission sharing the same housing, generator function for recuperating energy
Max output kW / hp210 / 286
Continuous output kW / hp80 / 109
Max torque400 Nm
Max rev speed17000 rpm
High-voltage BatterySpecifications
Storage technologyLithium-ion
InstallationUnderfloor
Voltage400 V
Battery capacity232 Ah
Energy capacity, gross80.0 kWh
Energy capacity, net74.0 kWh
Charging time for 100 % charge7.5 h at 11 kW (16 A/ 230 V, three-phase AC
Charging time for 80% charge34 min at 150 kW (DC, fast-charging station)
Charging unitSpecifications
TypeCombined Charging Unit (CCU) with built-in 4 kW voltage transformer for supplying power to the 12 V electrical system
Max charging rate alternating current (AC), single-phase7.4 kW
Max charging rate alternating current (AC), three-phase11.0 kW
Max charging rate direct current (DC)150 kW
Suspension, frontDouble-joint spring strut axle in aluminium construction
Suspension, rearFive-link axle in lightweight steel construction
Brakes, frontVented disc brakes, with single-piston floating calipers
Brakes, rearVented disc brakes, with single-piston floating calipers
Driving stability systemsStandard: DSC incl. ABS, ASC and DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), ARB (near-actuator wheel slip limitation) technology, CBC (Cornering Brake Control), DBC (Dynamic Brake Control), Dry Braking function, fading compensation, Start-Off Assistant, HDC (Hill Descent Control), trailer stability control, Performance Control, adaptive suspension
Safety equipmentStandard: airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for driver and front passenger, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point inertia-reel seatbelts on all seats with belt stopper, belt tensioner and belt force limiter in the front, crash sensors, tyre pressure indicator
SteeringElectric Power Steering (EPS)
with Servotronic function
Steering ratio, overall16.8
Tyres, front/rear245/50 R19 105W XL
Rims, front/rear7.5J x 19 aluminium
TransmissionFigure
Type of transmissionAutomatic transmission, single-speed with fixed ratio
Ratio11.115
Final drive1.0
PerformanceFigures
Power-to-weight ratio (DIN, based on max output)10.4 kg / kW
Acceleration 0-100 km/h6.8 secs
0-60 km/h3.7 secs
Top speed (km/h)180 (electronically limited)
Off-road characteristicsFigures
Angle of approach/departure23.1 / 20.9
Breakover angle14.8
Ground clearance when unladen179 mm
Fording depth ( at 7 km/ h)500 mm
Electric power consumption / range in WLTP test cycleFigures
Electric power consumption combined19.5 – 18.5 kWh/100 km
Rangeup to 460 km
Electric power consumption /
range in NEDC test cycle
Figures
Electric power consumption combined17.8 – 17.5 kWh/100 km
Rangeup to 520 km
Environmental
characteristics
Emissions ratingElectric vehicle
C02 Life Cycle Assessment when charging with green
electricity for the use phase, compared to BMW X3 20d
60 %
CO2 Life Cycle Assessment
when charging with EU28
electricity mix for the use phase,
compared to BMW X3 20d
30 %

BMW is also plotting pure electric variants of the BMW 3 Series & 5 Series, a BMW X1 electric (BMW iX1) as well as a BMW 7 Series electric (BMW i7) to further expand its eco-friendly range.

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