In a nutshell - BMW iX3:
- BMW’s first ever fully-electric SUV
- Due to arrive in the summer of 2021
- Large capacity battery gives it similar performance to a conventionally powered BMW X3 xDrive30i.
- Potential range of 285 miles on the WLTP test cycle.
- Fast charging capabilities means you can achieve 0-80 per cent charge in 34 minutes
- Low centre of gravity and rear-wheel drive for ‘sporty’ handling
BMW’s first ever fully-electric SUV ‘sounds’ good for a whole host of reasons - not least because the iX3’s soundtrack has been created by legendary movie music composer Hans Zimmer!
Zimmer is, of course, the German musician responsible for scoring films like Gladiator, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk and Rush.
Here Zimmer, alongside BMW’s sound designer Renzo Vitale, has turned his attention to creating a short sound composition the driver hears when the Stop/Start button is pressed.
Later models will be able to enjoy the full ‘drive soundtrack’ produced by Zimmer and BMW.
But that Hollywood involvement is, however, mere trivia compared with other key data from the iX3, which is due to launch next summer.
Because with performance and looks to match the traditional 3.0 petrol X3, and with fast-charging capabilities and an enviable range, this new breed of SUV could tempt countless customers to go electric for the first time.
A BMW spokesperson says: “The new BMW iX3 is the result of many years of development work in the electric mobility field. The advances achieved since the market launch of the BMW i3 in 2013 now culminate in the company’s fifth-generation eDrive technology which comprises of a highly efficient electric motor, optimised energy density high-voltage battery and a high charging capacity.”
Key to the iX3’s potential success is the ‘power density’ of its 80 kWh battery, which is greater than that of any existing fully-electric vehicles within the BMW Group portfolio.
The unit will generate a maximum output of 286 hp and peak torque of 295 lb-ft which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs.
It will sprint from 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds, putting it level with the conventionally powered BMW X3 xDrive30i.
Meanwhile top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph and - because it’s a BMW - power goes to the rear wheels. Traction is ensured thanks to the standard-fit ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation).
The efficiency of the drive system means the iX3 has a range of 285 miles, according to the WLTP test cycle.
Plugging the vehicle into a direct current rapid-charging station opens the door to charging outputs of up to 150 kW - meaning the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in 34 minutes.
Meanwhile adaptive recuperation - which puts energy back into the car when you brake - can be altered for different driving conditions, giving you maximum control. In driving position ‘B’, for example, you get BMW’s ‘one-pedal’ control and efficiency thanks to particularly strong recuperation.
The iX3 should handle well, too.
The battery is slim and positioned low down in the car’s underbody, dropping the traditional X3’s centre of gravity by a significant 7.5 cms.
BMW has also tinkered ever so slightly with the looks of the existing X3 to produce the new iX3’s distinct exterior.
A spokesperson adds: “Model-specific design features optimise the car’s aerodynamic properties at the same time as lending visual expression to its sustainability-focused drive concept.
“The front apron and BMW kidney grille have a largely enclosed design, while the rear end has also been sculpted with a view to reducing air resistance.
Innovative, aerodynamically designed light-alloy wheels help to control the flow of air around the vehicle.
“This combines with aerodynamic enhancements to the underbody’s rear diffuser and chassis strut area, as well as with the air flap control system, to give the all-electric SAV a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.29.”
Full UK specification and pricing will be announced in autumn 2020.