BMW iX3 is the full electric version of German marque’s mid-sized X3. It has no internal
combustion engine to provide extra range if its batteries run out of power.
It’s sold in Australia with quite a few features that are frequently extra cost options; these
include metallic paint and the M Sport package with 20-inch M aerodynamic wheels.
Very BMW. While other makers of electric vehicles like to go for a different perhaps
futuristic look, the iX3 looks instantly like a Bimmer from any angle. There are some blue
highlights on the outer edges of the lower sections of the front and at each corner of the
lower panel at the rear.
There are also blue colours on the BMW “radiator grille”. Obviously, it doesn’t have a grille
because there is no water being cooled there. BMW and other EV, makers do include a
grille because buyers feel that a plain front end just looks wrong. Mind you Elon Musk’s
Teslas don’t have a grille either and are selling faster than the factory can produce them…
Also standard is a panoramic sunroof that covers most of the roof area.
The dashboard area is divided into three distinct areas. That in front of the driver has a
12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
There’s another 12.3-inch digital screen in the centre of the dash area. It’s wide, but rather
too low which means the view ahead on the screen if our using it for navigation isn’t as far
ahead as we like.
On the other hand, the width of the screen means you can see a lot of the things that you
are missing out to the side of your road. Which may mean that you see things that you
hadn’t realised were there, and perhaps decide to visit if you’re on a sightseeing trip.
Comfort and space in the front seats is good, with a wide range of electric adjustments. It
has under-thigh cushion extenders, which I really enjoy as I have long legs and these add
further ways of getting comfortable. In their own way these cushion extenders probably
add to the safety on long trips because drivers are safer if they aren’t wriggling about to
Our iX3 had the BMW Connected Package Professional which has Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto and a Harman/Kardon 16-speaker surround sound system.
There’s wireless smartphone charging which saves having to wrestle with cables. Just put
your phone in its spot and you’re getting more juice into it.
eDrive is the new drive technology found in all BMW i models and plug-in hybrids, and is
essentially comprised of an electric motor, high-voltage lithium-ion battery and an
intelligent energy management system.
The integrated drive unit brings the electric motor, power electronics and transmission
together within a single housing, and generates 210kW and 400Nm.
All eDrive-equipped vehicles rely on a special performance li-ion battery to store energy,
and utilise a built-in cooling device to constantly keep the unit at the ideal operating
temperature, helping increase output and maintain service life.
A five-year Chargefox subscription is included in the price of the BMW iX3 sold in
The BMW X3 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating from for the xDrive20d and xDrive30i
variants. However, the iX3 has not been tested at this stage.
Ways of avoiding a crash are strongly featured in this electric Bimmer. It has automatic
emergency with crossroads warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, front and
rear cross-traffic alert, evasion assistant, speed limit assist, as well as Steering + Lane
Control Assistant (Level 2 autonomous mode).
Performance! This is why we like driving all electric vehicles. They have instant reaction to
the accelerator pedal. BMW has always produced vehicles with a sporty feel in everything
they do and that performance is just wonderful in any model they make.
This is going to sound childish but I like nothing more than to sit at a red traffic light beside
a big car that’s got a lumpy sounding V8. I look at him, and he looks at me in my black
SUV and blips his throttle – ready to make me look silly when the green lights come on.
The lights change and that instant electric torque pushes me back in the seat, in about
three seconds we are up to 80 km/h and I back off. The other driver comes alongside,
checks out the tame looking Bimmer and shakes his head.
Then again, I’ve driven many V8s in my 50-year career as a motoring journalist and there’s
something about V8s that I really enjoy. If I had plenty of money to spare, I would buy a V8
for track days and just cruzin’ around town and keep the somewhat boring EV for everyday
Handling of the BMW iX3 is pretty good, but there’s a feeling of heaviness when you’re
taking corners at speed due to the fact that you’re carting about half a tonne of batteries
There’s good feel through the steering wheel and the seats support well so you don’t shift
about when driving hard and can concentrate on the road.
BMW says the iX3 can cover 460 kilometres on a full battery charge. During our testing on
motorways, in the suburbs and on country roads we covered 284km and computer advised
its batteries had a further 180km before it was close to being fully discharged.
A couple of times a year my wife and I go on long holiday trips from our home on the Gold
Coast. Once we are a long way of out of town there’s not many places to charge an
electric vehicle. And when we do find a charger, we have to wait for several hours to get
decent range out of the car.
When we can buy an EV for about the same price as a petrol or diesel SUV and charge it
up less than an hour to give us a range of at least 500km, we will seriously think about
AT A GLANCE
BMW iX3 RWD electric vehicle: $114,900
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (BMW iX3 RWD electric vehicle)
Maximum Power: 210 kW
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm
Range: 460 km
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): zero
CO2 Emissions: zero
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4734 mm
Wheelbase: 2864 mm
Width: 1891 mm
Height: 1668 mm
Turning Circle: 12.1 metres
Kerb Mass: 2180 kg
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres
Battery: Eight years / 160,000 kilometres