2021 BMW iX3: The first all-electric X model

The first fully electric X model in the BMW line-up, the 2021 BMW iX3, made its official debut recently, signalling the brand’s EV onslaught for this decade. First revealed in concept form at the 2018 China Auto Show, the production model not only closely resembles the concept car but is also faithfully based on its big brother the X3. However, the ride height is a little lower than the standard X3 by 7cm.

With the introduction of the new BMW iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), the X3 becomes the first model in the company’s line-up that is available in all petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric.

Powering the 2021 BMW is just a single motor, which generates 282 horsepower (210 kilowatts) and 400 Newton-meters (295 pound-feet) of torque. Surprisingly, the automaker is not offering the dual-motor xDrive variant (at least for now), so the initial model will power the rear wheels. This modest powertrain still has the thrust to take the electric crossover from zero to 96 km/h in just 6.8 seconds. BMW says this acceleration performance is in the range of the X3 i30. However, the top speed is limited to 180 km/h to maximise the range.

Powering the single motor is an 80-kWh battery pack with a 74-kWh usable capacity delivering 460 kilometres (286 miles) of drive range on the WLTP cycle. This range is better than what the iX3 concept came with and is marginally higher than BMW’s early range calculations for the production car, as well.   

To juice up the 2021 iX3, BMW has installed a newly developed Charging Control Unit, which can connect up to 150-kW charging stations. On such a fast-charging station, you can juice the vehicle up to 80 per cent from zero in exactly 34 minutes. According to the Bavarian automaker’s calculations, the charging station is capable of adding 100 kilometres of range in only 10 minutes on the WLTP cycle.  

The 2021 BMW iX3 is currently being developed at the BMW/Brilliance Automotive joint venture plant in Shenyang, China, along with its sibling BMW X3 to attain “high efficiency and flexibility in production”, according to Robert Küssel, BBA Plant Director Dadong. Experts believe that the new iX3 will first arrive in the left-hand-drive markets, followed by the right-hand-drive markets next year. For the South African market, we are expecting it in the last quarter of 2021. Let’s hope load shedding has eased up by then, making an electric vehicle a sensible choice!

With the Jaguar I-Pace already available in South Africa and the Audi e-Tron and Mercedes Benz EQC hitting the roads very soon, the iX3 is going to face stiff competition when it arrives here.

Comparing the BMW iX3 with its German rivals, e-Tron, and EQC, we see BMW has adopted an old-fashioned approach by making it look very similar to the X3 SUV. On the other hand, its German rivals have added unique design features in the e-Tron and EQC that stand them apart from their traditional models.

BMW certainly has played a big gamble, and only the time will tell if they will be able to outclass its competition.

It’s quite a wait between now and the end of 2021, so if you have your eyes set on a new car, keep checking in on the Reviews section of the MotorHappy blog. Every month we review at least two of the latest vehicle models available to South Africans.


Please note the imagery supplied in this blog was taken off www.bmw.co.za

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