The production BMW iX3 has been revealed, with an electric range of up to 285 miles and a UK market launch in summer 2021.
The BMW X3 will be the brand’s first model to be available with a pure-electric drive system, a plug-in hybrid system or petrol and diesel engines. It will also just be rear-wheel drive.
The new BMW iX3 will launch with an exclusive Premier edition for the UK market in summer next year. Pricing and standard specification details will be revealed in autumn 2020, with pre-ordering opening at the same time.
The iX3 will be launched in some worldwide markets later this year. It will be the brand’s first model to be built for export at the Shenyang plant in China, which is operated by the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive.
The premiere of the new iX3 marks the introduction of BMW Group’s fifth generation eDrive technology. Combining the latest electric motor, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery, the fifth-generation system demonstrates progress in its performance characteristics, electric power consumption and range. These components, developed in-house by BMW Group, will also be fitted in the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 models from 2021.
The highly integrated drive system technology at the heart of the new BMW iX3 plays a particularly important role in optimising efficiency and power development. The electric motor, transmission and power electronics are now arranged together in a single housing. The electric motor in the new BMW iX3 works according to the principle of a current-excited synchronous motor, without the use of magnets. This design eliminates the use of rare earth materials of the motor.
The power density of the electric motor in the iX3 is 30 per cent greater than that of existing fully-electric vehicles within the BMW Group portfolio. The motor is up to 93 per cent efficient, compared with under 40 per cent for combustion engines. The new drive system unit generates maximum output of 286 hp and peak torque of 295 lb-ft which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs. The new BMW iX3 accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, putting it in the same territory as the conventionally-powered BMW X3 xDrive30i. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph. Sending power to the rear wheels creates a characteristic BMW driving experience with outstanding traction ensured thanks to the standard-fit ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation).
Cutting-edge battery-cell technology plays a headline role in the latest development stage of high-voltage batteries. The storage capacity of the battery has been substantially increased, relative to the installation space required and its weight. The energy density of the 188 prismatic cells in the new BMW iX3 is around 20 per cent higher than that of the battery cells used by the BMW Group in its fully-electric vehicles up to now. A gross energy content of 80 kWh – of which 74 kWh is utilised – and the high efficiency of the drive systems allow the new BMW iX3 to offer a range of up to 285 miles (WLTP test cycle).
Another technical highlight making its debut in iX3 thanks to BMW Group’s fifth-generation eDrive technology is the innovative new charging unit, which sends power to both the 400V battery and the 12V on-board power supply. When charging using alternating current, it enables both single-phase and three-phase charging at up to 11 kW. Plugging the vehicle into a direct current rapid-charging station opens the door to charging outputs of up to 150 kW, meaning the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in 34 minutes. Drivers can inject the power required to add 62 miles to the car’s driving range (in the WLTP cycle) in just 10 minutes.
The latest-generation high-voltage battery has a particularly slim construction. Positioned low down in the underbody, it has been integrated into the vehicle’s flexible vehicle architecture. This lowers the car’s centre of gravity by around 7.5 centimetres compared with its conventionally powered BMW X3 siblings, noticeably enhancing lateral dynamics. Among the bespoke elements of the iX3’s chassis construction is a rear axle subframe, which provides the required space for the drive system unit. The standard adaptive suspension includes electronically controlled dampers, with characteristics that adapt to the road surface at any given time. This enables optimisation of the car’s ride comfort and dynamics. The alternative Adaptive M suspension is tuned to deliver an even sportier damper response.
BMW claims that the instant power development of the electric motor and chassis-specific tuning delivers ‘sporty, agile driving attributes’. The innovative ARB traction system, introduced in the BMW i3, and a high level of directional stability ensure good traction in adverse weather conditions and on loose ground for a Sports Activity Vehicle with a single-driven axle.
The efficient drive system, extensive use of secondary raw materials in the manufacture of aluminium castings and thermoplastics, absence of rare earths and across-the-board use of green electricity in production, including the cells for the high-voltage battery, are all contributory factors in the impressive CO2 assessment for the new BMW iX3. During the customer use phase, the iX3 outperforms the diesel-powered BMW X3 xDrive 20d by more than 30 per cent when drawing on average European electricity sources or roughly 60 per cent when powered by green electricity.
Innovative, aerodynamically designed light-alloy wheels help to control the flow of air around the vehicle. The aerodynamic wheels making their debut on the new BMW iX3 reduce its drag coefficient by around 5 per cent over an equivalent vehicle with conventional light-alloy wheels. This is achieved with the help of inserts in the V-spoke base wheel whose surfaces keep the air flowing smoothly. The resulting improvement in efficiency adds around 6 miles to the range of the new BMW iX3 (WLTP test cycle).
This combines with aerodynamic enhancements to the underbody’s rear diffuser and chassis strut area, as well as with the air flap control system, to give the all-electric iX3 a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.29.
The BMW iX3 is equipped with the latest generation BMW Operating System 7, which allows for every line of software code in the car to be updated over the air in the future.
Full UK specification and pricing will be announced in autumn 2020.