BMW’s X3 goes all-electric

BMW's electric iX3 is a “green” SUV that won’t let you down. Nicole Garcia Merida reports

Seven years after the launch of the i3, BMW has finally brought out its second fully electric car, says Top Gear. The X3 is BMW’s biggest-selling model and this electric version, the iX3, is intended to meet the needs of the average driver. It is more efficient than rivals, has a smaller battery and can accept high charge power. That means you can start at full power after an overnight charge, stop after 220 real-world miles at a 150kW charger and add about 180 real-world miles in half an hour, then go on to complete a 400-mile trip. What’s more, it feels “ridiculously normal” to drive. The power “comes in with urgency… but is never brutal” and “keeps on going determinedly” up to its limited top speed of 112mph. The “top-spec” model even has an in-cabin sound generator that produces an “electronic hum that rises and falls in pitch as you change speed, and in volume as you press the pedal harder”, but otherwise the car is silent. It is “superbly easy” and relaxing to drive too.

The iX3 looks “normal” on purpose, says Jonathan Burn on AutoExpress. It is designed to “feel entirely conventional” and appeal to those delving into electric vehicles for the first time. It might not look all that special, but “it’s spacious, quiet, well built and packed with clever tech”. “This is simply an X3 that also happens to be electric.” One “neat piece of tech” is the car’s digital key, which allows owners with iPhones to share access to the car with others without them needing a key. Owners can set restrictions on speed, power, even music volume for each driver.

The car is too expensive and will do little for your “street cred”, says Georg Kacher in Car. But it is “remarkably efficient and dynamically up to scratch”. Three things stand out: the “superb” handling, which delivers “plenty of old-school emotions”; the long range between charges for peace of mind; and the low cost of ownership, meaning you won’t have to pay a “hefty penalty for saving the world”. Switch the energy-recuperation technology to its lowest setting and it is fun to drive when “pushing on” too.

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The iX3 is BMW’s first model to be made in China, but this has had no effect on quality, says Greg Kable on AutoCar. “If you’ve decided that it’s time for an electric car… you would be foolish not to give it a good look.”

Price: £58,850; Engine: 80kWh battery, one electric motor; Power/torque: 283bhp/400Nm; 0-62mph: 6.8 seconds; Top speed: 112mph; On sale: summer 2021

Nicole García Mérida

Nic studied for a BA in journalism at Cardiff University, and has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She joined MoneyWeek in 2019.