The first ever all-electric SUV in BMW’s X range has finally been revealed – the BMW iX3 – as the electric powered sibling of the BMW X3 SUV. As a result, the BMW X3 will be the group’s first model to be available with petrol and diesel engines, along with plug-in hybrid systems and pure electric drive. By 2023, BMW plans to have 25 different electrified models, with 13 of them running purely on electric.
The drive components of the iX3 – the electric motor and transmission – are arranged together in a single housing on the iX3’s vehicle floor. This lowers the car’s centre of gravity by around 7.5 cm compared to the iX3’s BMW X3 siblings – noticeably enhancing cornering performance.
The electric motor, paired to a single ratio transmission, can rev up to 17,000 rpm – making 286 hp and 400 Nm to power the rear wheels. It is the company’s most powerful e-drive system ever fitted into an electrified model. As for performance, we’re looking at 6.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, onwards to 180 km/h. Drive modes include Comfort, EcoPro and Sport.
The batteries of the iX3 are positioned flat in the vehicle floor as an integral part of the SUV’s structure. The batteries offer up to 460 km of electric driving range on the WLTP cycle; 520 km based on the old NEDC cycle. The new-generation battery weighs 518 kilograms and has a gross energy content of 80 kWh, of which 74 kWh is utilised.
The battery is accompanied by a tailor made liquid cooling/heating system. This is to ensure that battery temperatures are optimum at all times. A sophisticated cooling and heating system ensures the high-voltage battery is kept at optimum temperatures at all times.
The heater ensures that the battery is in optimum temperatures when the car is started, even in temperatures below 30 degress Celcius. The heater is said to use 40% to 80% less energy than conventional electric heating. It extracts excess heat from the electric motor and high voltage battery as well as outside air and feeds it through the air conditioning system.
With a Wallbox charger, the battery in the all-electric iX3 will only need 7 1/2 hours for a full charge. Meanwhile, using a direct current (DC) fast-charging station, the batteries can be charged up to 80% in just 34 minutes. A 10 minute charge supposedly offers up to 100 km in electric driving range.
On the outside of the, key features include ten-stage active air flaps and light-alloy 19-inch aerodynamic wheels which are 5% more slippery through the air compared to conventional light-alloy wheels. The wheels also weighs 15% less than the last aerodynamic wheels BMW made. The underbody of the iX3 has been completely covered for better airflow underneath the car.
Boot space of the iX3 is rated between 510 to 1,560 litres with collapsible seats. Here’s the interesting bit; the iX3 sits on adaptive suspension with electronically-controlled dampers but BMW said an Adaptive M Suspension system for a sportier, more responsive drive will be available through over-the-air updates!
Speakers are positioned inside and out of the car to simulate sounds for both occupants and pedestrians. The drive sound is an original development by BMW sound designers and acoustics engineers. The Start/Stop composition in the BMW iX3 for example, is the first sound work for a production car; a collaboration between Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer and BMW.
Optional items on the iX3 includes 20-inch aerodynamic wheels, adaptive LED headlights, acoustic glazing for the front windows, head up display, Parking Assistant Plus, High Beam Assist, BMW Gesture Control and a Harman Kardon sound system.