Newly unveiled BMW iX3 marks many firsts for German carmaker

BMW wants you to refer to its new crossovers as sports activity vehicles (SAVs). To prove that these new models deserve the moniker, the German carmaker unveiled the superbly sporty 2021 BMW iX3.

But more than just an upscale urban driver, the 'SAV' is notably the first fully electric vehicle in the BMW X range, and also the first to come with an all-electric drive system for the brand.

Likewise, BMW iX3 also represents the first time BMW housed the electric motor, transmission, and power electronics in a central assembly.

The iX3 will also be the first model produced at its Chinese manufacturing facility in Shenyang destined for other markets outside The Middle Kingdom.

BMW equips the all-electric crossover with a high-voltage battery sporting the latest cell technology. With a total 80 kWh capacity, the battery can power the car up to 458kms per charge under the new WLTP test cycle or approximately 520kms under the less-lenient NDEC test cycle. The same electric drivetrain will also be installed in the BMW iNEXT and i4’s 2021 versions.

As for the rest of the iX3’s performance numbers, the electric motor produces 286hp and 400Nm, while the car itself can accelerate from 0-100kmph in 6.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 180kmph.

BMW reports major progress in the aspects of operating range, weight, installation space requirement flexibility, and power density.

Speaking of power density, the new all-electric drive system improves on its predecessor’s capabilities by 30 percent. It’s also eco-friendlier, with zero rare-earth materials to be found in its construction.

The iX3 also captures energy to recharge the battery in multiple ways such as regenerative braking and coasting. Power is sent to the rear wheels, and adaptive suspension is available as standard.

BMW didn’t announce a dual-motor all-wheel drive version forthcoming for the iX3, which may put it at a disadvantage against its competitors like Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and others that offer all-wheel drive.

Should the car run low on power, the iX3’s  battery can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in 34 minutes as long as 150 kW DC fast-charger is used. If in a pinch, an iX3 driver can muster a 100km driving range from a 10-minute charge.

A 11kW AC charging is also available for charging via a home wallbox, when time isn’t of the essence.

Inside, premium interior ambiance with model-specific accents welcomes the iX3’s occupants. The user-friendly, variable-usage cabin readily provides a high level of comfort for five people regardless of the journey’s distance. For those hauling cargo instead of passengers, load capacity can be expanded from 510 liters to as much as 1,560 liters when the rear seats are folded down.

Standard cabin specs are as futuristic and upscale as they can get including metallic paintwork, LED headlights, panoramic glass sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control with pre‑heating and pre-conditioning, automatic tailgate operation, ambient lighting and driver assistance. Optional equipment to the range-topping “Impressive” variant also brings 20-inch light-alloy wheels, sport seats, acoustic glazing, Vernasca leather trim, Parking Assistant Plus, BMW Head-Up Display, and Harman Kardon Surround Sound.

For infotainment, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional comes standard with the BMW Maps cloud-based navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The system also allows for smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air software upgrade, and a bevy of digital services from BMW Connected Charging.

The 2021 BMW iX3 starts selling in many western markets beginning the middle of next year. The company will release more specs and pricing details closer to the launch date.

Photo/s from BMW

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