BMW has officially unveiled the iX3, its first fully electric Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). Based on the G01 X3, the iX3 – codenamed G08 – makes the model range the brand’s first to offer internal combustion petrol or diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully electric powertrains, says BMW.
Munich’s first electric SUV is set apart from the X3 visually by covered grilles in front, air intakes at each corner of the front bumper and vents behind the front wheelarches. Sections of the front grille, side sills and lower rear bumper sections feature blue trim pieces which indicate this BMW operates on electric drive, while its alloy wheels are aerodynamically optimised to help the iX3 attain a drag coefficient of 0.29.
Motive power for the iX3 is provided by BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive electric motor, with maximum outputs of 286 hp and 400 Nm of torque sent to the rear wheels; the motor has a maximum speed of 17,000 rpm, says BMW. The 0-100 km/h acceleration benchmark is elapsed in 6.8 seconds, and goes on to a limited top speed of 180 km/h. For comparison, the X3 30i does the same sprint in 6.4 seconds.
The fifth-generation power units are free of rare earths, says BMW, and these have also been optimised in terms of operating range, weight, installation space required as well as flexibility. This enables comfortable seating for five, as well as luggage capacity of 510 litres with the seats in place or up to 1,560 litres when stowed away, it said.
Though it takes the SUV form of the X3, the iX3 is right now rear-wheel-drive only, and suspension is by double-joint spring struts in front and a five-link setup at the back, with adaptive damping as standard. Adaptive M suspension can be added as an over-the-air update at a later stage. Braking is handled by vented disc brakes with single-piston floating calipers all round. Tyres measuring 245/50 are mounted on 7.5J x 19-inch wheels.
Standard equipment in the ‘Inspiring’ specification includes metallic paint, LED headlamps, three-zone automatic climate control with pre-conditioning and pre-heating, automatic tailgate operation, a panoramic glass sunroof, the Driving Assistant Professional and ambient lighting. The optional ‘Impressive’ spec has 20-inch alloys, acoustic glazing, sports seats, Vernasca leather, head-up display, Parking Assistant Plus and a Harman Kardon surround sound system.
Live Cockpit Professional with cloud-based BMW Maps and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant are standard, as are smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and preparation for Android Auto, remote software upgrade as well as BMW Connected Charging digital services.
Stability systems in the iX3 as standard includes DSC, ABS, ASC and DTC (dynamic traction control), ARB (near-actuator wheel slip limitation) technology, CBC (cornering brake control), DBC (bynamic brake control), dry braking function, fading compensation, Start-Off Assistant, hill descent control, trailer stability control and Performance Control.
Meanwhile, safety systems as standard include driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, head airbags for front and rear seats, three-point inertia reel seat belts on all seats with belt tensioner and force limiters for the front occupants, crash sensors and a tyre pressure indicator.
In terms of exterior finishes, the BMW iX3 can be specified in Carbon Black metallic, Sophisto Grey brilliant effect metallic, Mineral White metallic, Phytonic Blue metallic, Piedmont Red metallic and Cashmere Silver metallic. For Phytonic Blue metallic and Piedmont Red metallic paint finishes, the signature blue BMW i detailing is instead replaced with Frozen Grey or Pearl-effect Chrome.
The iX3 is also the German marque’s first to be manufactured in Shenyang, China under the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture for export, where the iX3 will see its market launch later in 2020.