By Sala Masindane
BMW has long been ahead in terms of the EV curve. Their first attempt in that realm was the i3 and i8. These were not a hit and probably ahead of its time. However, the Munich-based manufacturer has gone back to the drawing board and used the current fleet line as their base to building EV’s. This has resulted in the iX3, i4 and i7 to mention a few. We recently spent some time with iX3 M Sport (new to the local market).
What’s different from the X3?
At first glance, it appears to be similar to the rest of the X3 range but stands out by the enclosed kidney grille, the deletion of exhaust trims, light blue accents all-round and model-specific wheels. The electrical derivative of the impressive X3 SUV blends in well with the rest of range and you would be forgiven into thinking it’s not an EV, which is possibly a great thing for those that are looking for a more conventional appearance.
Stepping inside, the iX3’s cabin is luxurious and premium with soft touch, plush materials. The facelifted iX3 features a new free-standing 12.3-inch central infotainment touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen has impressive graphics and the infotainment is intuitive. It can also be controlled via an i-Drive controller with shortcut buttons. The iX3 is fitted with sport seats and a panoramic sunroof as standard. Comfortably sitting 5 and offering 510-litres of boot space, the ix3 offers nearly the same practicality as the X3 that it’s based on.
Space and storage are good for five passengers when required. The iX3 has 40-litres of boot space less than the standard X3 but this has not compromised it.
Performance and drive
Powering the rear-wheel drive iX3 is BMW’s newly developed fifth-generation eDrive electric motor. It produces 210 kW of power, 400 Nm of torque and takes 6.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h. With range preservation in mind, the iX3’s top speed is limited to 180 km/h. The iX3 has an 80-kWh battery pack (74 kWh is usable) which translates to a WLTP range of 460 km.
As expected from EVs, power is instant while moving along silently. Handling and ride quality of the iX3 are good. The claimed WLTP range of 460km was a struggle to achieve as most of our stint in the SUV was spent on the highway and regenerative braking became ineffective. Thankfully, we didn’t suffer from range anxiety, and we managed to cover 350km from a full charge.
Overall, the iX3 offers buyers that are looking for EV but also looks conventional an option. Pricing for BMW iX3 M Sport starts at R1,276,400.
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