It’s been a long time between drinks from BMW’s first i3 and i8 duo back in 2014 to today's flourishing EV landscape, but BMW's electric mojo is back with another battery powered vehicle added to the fold - 2021 iX3 electric SUV.
It's the first fully electric SUV from the German car maker but instead of a wildly different body akin to the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-Tron, BMW has kept it's approach understated and based on the X3 SUV.
There are relatively few changes from the regular X3, but the iX3 does get a covered-off front kidney grille, fewer air intakes, some radically-aerodynamic wheels and, in-keeping with the BMWi branding, blue accenting on the exterior.
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The company has stopped short of sharing interior photos of the iX3 but expect it to look wholly similar to the petrol/diesel powered car it takes as a canvas.
The iX3 will arrive in Australia mid-2021, bringing an 80kWh electric powerplant to the tune of 210kW and 400Nm and a 6.8-second 0-100km/h sprint. BMW says it’ll provide an impressive 460km range, as determined on a WLTP test cycle. Using fast-charging, the iX3 is capable of receiving 80 percent charge in 34 minutes.
The 80kWh battery sends power to a single motor at the rear axle for exclusively rear-wheel drive. It's a different approach to some of its competitors, which use multiple motors for all-wheel-drive.
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This key difference could drive the price down in comparison to its rivals, but confirmation will have to wait until local pricing and specification are revealed.
Interestingly, the brake regeneration system can pair to the navigation to identify areas in which coasting or energy recuperation is favourable. For example, approaching a roundabout will ensure the energy regeneration is maxed, while freeway driving will ensure ‘coasting’ is engaged more often, so the vehicles doesn't unexpectedly slow down at high speeds.
Also new to BMW is active sound generation, which takes the place of conventional drivetrain noises.
Turning on the car is announced through a short sound composition, while changes in acceleration load will be marked by gently filtered acoustic responses designed by BMW’s sound engineering team and legendary composer Hans Zimmer.
A greater range of sounds will be available later.
In comparison to the otherworldly i3 and i8 electric cars which wowed the world with their futuristic designs and cabins, the iX3 remains fairly familiar to conventional cars.
Interior space will be largely unchanged over the X3, while the same 510-litre boot carries across to the iX3 too.
Pricing and specification are expected closer to a local launch date.