Yes, BMW took a long time for its first SUV with electric drive. Produced in China, it will not reach its first customers in this country until the beginning of 2021. The competition was faster: The Audi E-Tron started at the end of 2018, Mercedes got it with the E QC tries from 2019 (and supposedly comes up with noteworthy numbers in the next few months ), not to mention Tesla.
But BMW has had the i3 on the market since 2013. Anyone who thinks that the small carbon car is not a serious car because it has too little range, too small, too expensive, could in view of the iX3 suspect that it is not a real electric car because it is not like the VW ID.3 Or the i3 is based on an architecture that was specially developed for the new drive type. But firstly, this also applies to Audi and Mercedes, secondly, BMW's goal was the implementation of the continuously developed electric drive in existing series and thirdly, the result is quite impressive .
New battery, new electric drive
In the adapted X3 floor pan, the iX3 has a flat lithium-ion battery made up of 188 prismatic cells, whose energy density is according to the manufacturer that previously used (by BMW) is 20 percent higher The battery weighs a total of 518 kilograms, the entire car 2,185. That is 310 kilograms less than the slightly longer Mercedes EQC with the same size battery. For comparison: the X3 30d weighs 1,930 kg, the plug-in hybrid X3 30e 1,990 kg. BMW specifies the battery capacity as 80 kWh (74 kWh usable). That would correspond to an energy density of 154 Wh /kg. 159 Wh /kg can be calculated for the Tesla Model 3.
With the 74 kWh net capacity, the BMW iX3 can travel up to 460 kilometers according to WLTP. The efficiency of the self-developed electric drive, in which the motor, transmission and power electronics are combined into one unit (BMW speaks of Generation 5, also comes in i4 and iNext), should help. According to BMW, the power density of the electric motor is 30 percent higher than previous fully electric vehicles from the BMW Group (i.e. i3), and the efficiency is 93 percent. BMW puts the consumption at 18.5 to 19.5 kWh (according to WLTP).
The intensity of the braking energy recovery adapts to the traffic situation with the help of navigation data and the sensors of the driver assistance systems. When approaching an intersection, a speed-limited section of route or a vehicle ahead, the iX3 recuperates as much as possible; it sails on an open route as soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator pedal. If this is too externally determined, you can set a high, medium or low recuperation in gear position D and those who want to adjust the propulsion without a brake pedal (one-pedal driving), as in the i3, can set the selector lever to 'B' and thus a special one choose high recuperation performance. Good for thatEfficiency in winter: a further developed heat pump is standard.
The fifth generation of electric drive technology also includes a new charging unit. In addition to supplying the 400 volt high-voltage battery, it also supplies the 12 volt on-board network. It allows single- and three-phase charging with up to 11 kW. DC fast charging is possible with up to 150 kW. This means that the high-voltage battery is charged from zero to 80 percent of the total capacity within 34 minutes, and 100 kilometers of WLTP range are recharged in 10 minutes.
Driving performance worse than diesel
The performance of the BMW specifies iX3 with 286 hp, the maximum torque is 400 Nm - from a standing start. This means that the rear-wheel drive car should spurt to 100 km /h in 6.8 seconds. The maximum speed is limited to 180 km /h. For comparison: the equally powerful X3 30d xDrive accelerates to 100 in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 245 km /h. The better acceleration is certainly not only due to the better traction due to the four-wheel drive in the diesel, the diesel also has 250 Nm more torque to offer. For the 400 Nm of the iX3, however, one drive axle should be sufficient. For most customers too; BMW suspects that their main group is in China and there is little demand for all-wheel drive there. But even in Europe, many buy SUVs that are primarily concerned with the higher seating position and space. And the iX3 should be largely identical to that of the X3 30i. BMW specifies the trunk volume of the E-SUV at 510 to 1560 liters, for the gasoline engine it is 550 to 1600, while the PHEV X3 30e only has 450 to 1500.
Aerodynamics in spite of the effort as with the combustion engine
Admittedly, there was little scope for adjustments to the body and design. Compared to the combustion models, the front apron and BMW kidney grille, as well as the underbody, are largely closed. BMW has already unveiled the aerodynamically designed light alloy wheels in advance. They should ensure a controlled flow around the vehicle and thus a reduction in the drag coefficient by around 5 percent. That brings ten kilometers more range (WLTP). Fine-tuning on the underbody, in the area of the rear diffuser and the landing gear struts, as well as an air flap control should further improve the wind slippage. However, BMW calls a drag coefficient of 0.29 - which is also achieved by the X3 30i.
In return, the battery between the axles lowers the center of gravity by 7.5 centimeters, which should have a corresponding effect on the driving dynamics. In terms of chassis technology, the only difference between the iX3 is a special rear axle carrier that offers enough space for the drive unit. Electronically controlled adaptive dampers are standard, the M suspension (also adaptive) is optional.
Two equipment lines and the price question
The basic 'Inspiring' equipment is anything but sparse: Metallic paint, 19-inch aerodynamic wheels, LED headlights, panoramic glass roof, automatic tailgate operation, the Driving Assistant Professional including cruise control with Stop & Go function, steering and lane guidance assistant as well as lane change and lane departure warning, Park Distance Control with sensors Front and rear, alarm system, electrically adjustable seats with memory function (driver's side) and the automatic air conditioning operated with heat pump technology including 3-zone control, auxiliary heating and auxiliary air conditioning function - all as standard. In addition, the so-called BMW Live Cockpit Professional including optimized navigation, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, the smartphoneIntegration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto preparation, the remote software upgrade, the digital services of BMW Connected Charging, wireless charging for the phone and an audio system including DAB radio. If that's not enough, you can upgrade to 'Impressive' for a surcharge and get 20 inchers, adaptive LED headlights, comfort access as well as Vernasca leather upholstery and sports seats including lumbar support for driver and front passenger, a head-up display, high-beam assistant, reversing camera, reversing assistant and surround view on board, gesture control, Harman Kardon surround sound system, WiFi hotspot and acoustic glazing for the driver and front passenger side windows.
The latter do not help against the Hans Zimmer composed driving sounds (only with Impressive Equipment), which is supposed to provide acoustic feedback so that the missing six-cylinder in the bow does not leave behind any phantom pain. BMW describes its iconic sound as follows: 'Load changes are accompanied by a flowing, modulated sound, the recuperation in overrun and braking phases is accompanied by gently filtered acoustic feedback'.
The basic price does not include acoustic glazing or noises. It is 69,800 euros (including 19 percent VAT), only the M models cost more. The electric X3 is a good 12,000 euros more expensive than the equally powerful X3 30d, but the e-car subsidy reduces its purchase price by 7,900 euros.