BMW’s first all electric soft-roader, the iX3, packs a 450km range, 286hp and a price that’s lower than any of its gasoline-powered counterparts in Singapore
SINGAPORE – BMW Singapore announced the beginning of local sales for its new battery electric vehicle (BEV), the iX3, which is an all-electric version of BMW’s extant X3 sports utility vehicle (SUV).
At the price of S$252,888 with COE, it makes headlines as the cheapest version of the X3 on sale today, since the least expensive gasoline-powered X3 is the X3 sDrive20i, which goes for S$254,888 with COE, while the X3 xDrive30i M Sport is S$38k more expensive.
That makes the iX3 one of the least expensive luxury electric SUVs on the market. Compare it to similarly sized BEV SUVs – Jaguar I-Pace (S$380k with COE), Audi E-Tron 50 Sportback (S$331k) and the just-launched Mercedes-Benz EQC (S$300k with COE). It isn’t the cheapest luxury BEV SUV around – the Lexus UX300e is slightly cheaper, S$247,800 with COE, though that car is one segment down.
But the price also gives the iX3 the honour of also being the first fully-electric car which is more competitively priced than its equivalent brand-mates – technology being where it is, electric cars are more expensive than comparably-sized gasoline-powered ones.
It’s been seven years since BMW launched Singapore’s first publicly-available BEV, the i3. BMW says the iX3 packs far more advanced tech, using its fifth-gen electric car tech. That means a vastly more efficient motor, batteries that are 20 percent more power-dense, and 400V electronics for more performance and faster charging.
A gross battery capacity of 80kWh (nett 74kWh) gives a claimed range of 459km on the WLTP cycle. In Singapore, the car has been homologated with a 19.4kWh/100km combined efficiency, which should deliver a range of 380km here.
The car accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, with a 180km/h top speed. Acceleration should be plentiful, with the motor packing 286hp maximum output and 400Nm of torque. Interestingly, the 0-60km/h time is only 3.7 seconds.
The purchase price includes a BMW i Wallbox and a wall-socket compatible charging cable. The wallbox can charge at up to 11kW, which should top-up the iX3’s battery in under seven hours. The cable, which is not normally used and should be considered a backup charging solution, will take more than 10 hours.
The iX3 is capable of DC fast charging at a maximum rate of 150kW, which delivers a full charge in 34 minutes, says BMW. However Singapore’s fastest public chargers are only 50kW, which means a full charge in just under two hours.
Also included is a BMW ChargeNow membership, which gives access to the Greenlots charging network, which includes Shell Recharge stations that have 43kW AC and 50kW DC fast charging.
Unlike competing luxury midsize electric SUVs mentioned above which are new additions to their model families, the iX3 is more conventional as an electric version of an existing model. As shown in our preview story, the iX3 has the signature blue highlights on the badge and grille with special-design 20-inch aerodynamic wheels that reduce drag by five percent.
What you don’t see are other aero improvements, including a flat underbody and active air-flap system (on the kidney section and lower air intake), which reduce the coefficient of drag to 0.29 cD (impressive for an SUV) and extend range especially at higher speeds.
The iX3 will debut ‘BMW IconicSounds Electric’, a synthesised sound that accompanies the driving experience and changes depending on acceleration, braking, or ovverrun, to help deliver some ’emotional’ feedback for the driver. There’s also a special Start/Stop sound made in conjunction with movie composer Hans Zimmer.
Read about the time Ju-Len met Hans Zimmer and kept talking about the Spice Girls (ok he didn’t but he may as well have)
The interior of the iX3 will be almost identical to any normal X3, besides blue accents on the shifter, start button, and steering wheel. The equipment loadout is ‘Impressive’ (yes, that’s the term) with a full suite of active safety systems (adaptive cruise, forward collisions warning/avoidance, lane keeping/warning, and more), acoustic-glaze on the front windows, panoramic sunroof, three-zone air conditioning, and more.
The central touchscreen (10.25-inches) has the latest iDrive 7 infotainment system, capable of OTA updates and is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable, in addition to the usual suite of BMW services including the excellent voice command system (Intelligent Personal Assistant). There’s also a Harman Kardon surround sound system for blasting your tunes.
The drawbacks are slightly reduced boot space and increased weight. The normal X3 can pack 550-1,600-litres of space, while the iX3 handles 510-1,560-litres. Because of the battery, the iX3 is the heaviest X3 of them all, at 2,185kg without a driver, heavier than the PHEV X3 xDrive30e at 1,990kg and X3 M at 2,010kg.
The iX3 was first previewed at BMW’s brand showcase, BMW World, earlier this year, along with the BMW M3 and M4, as well as the 116i hatchback. CarBuyer was on the scene there – watch our video (at the start of this article) or read out roundup to find out what was exciting on show and how the iX3 illustrates BMW’s ‘Power of Choice’ philosophy when it comes to BEVs.