With the BMW i range, the Bavarian manufacturer was among the first to develop 100% electric models. While the i3 city car was based on a specific architecture, with a carbon structure placed on a separate chassis, the new iX3 SUV is much more classic. Indeed, it is purely and simply a X3 converted to electricity. The recipe has already been applied by the longtime competitor, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, closely derived from the GLC. At BMW, however, the aesthetic differentiation is only in the detail, by kidneys and specific rims, for example.

If the thermal versions of the X3 are made in the United States, at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, the electric iX3 come from China. This could a priori tarnish the image of this battery-powered SUV. No reason to worry, however: the build quality is at the rendezvous, our test model did not appear less well finished than its petrol or diesel brothers. The counterpart of this choice of factory, on the other hand, concerns longer delivery times, which have made it necessary to limit the diversity of the catalog. Result, there are only two finishes, three colors and no options. A bit tight for a model aimed at a high-end clientele, precisely accustomed to choice.

The BMW iX3 is able to plan a route with a load stop. A real luxury!

The BMX iX3 hardly differs from the X3, and this also applies to on-board technology. So much the better, since the Bavarian manufacturer is today one of the most advanced in the field. Ergonomics, quality of gesture control and voice control shine by their efficiency, the competitors can not say the same. The good news is about the route planning, very relevant. We indicated Nantes as the destination in the GPS, and it calculated the charging time required on an Ionity fast terminal, which turned out to be the most advisable on our route. Today, few electric cars offer such ease of use. A long journey, that is precisely the goal of this test which coincides with the start of deliveries in Europe, after a first contact last fall with a pre-production iX3.

. While the i3 city car was based on a specific architecture, with a carbon structure placed on a separate chassis, the new iX3 SUV is intended to be much more classic. Indeed, it is purely and simply a X3 converted to electricity. The recipe has already been applied by the longtime competitor, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, closely derived from the GLC. At BMW, however, the aesthetic differentiation is only in the detail, by kidneys and specific rims, for example.

If the thermal versions of the X3 are made in the United States, at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, the electric iX3 come from China. This could a priori tarnish the image of this battery-powered SUV. No reason to worry, however: the build quality is at the rendezvous, our test model did not appear less well finished than its petrol or diesel brothers. The counterpart of this choice of factory, on the other hand, concerns longer delivery times, which have made it necessary to limit the diversity of the catalog. Result, there are only two finishes, three colors and no options. A bit tight for a model aimed at a high-end clientele, precisely accustomed to choice.

The BMW iX3 is able to plan a route with a load stop. A real luxury!

The BMX iX3 hardly differs from the X3, and this also applies to on-board technology. So much the better, since the Bavarian manufacturer is today one of the most advanced in the field. Ergonomics, quality of gesture control and voice control shine by their efficiency, the competitors can not say the same. The good news is about the route planning, very relevant. We indicated Nantes as the destination in the GPS, and the latter calculated the charging time required on an Ionity fast terminal, which turned out to be the most advisable on our route. Today, few electric cars offer such ease of use. A long journey, that is precisely the goal of this test which coincides with the start of deliveries in Europe, after a first contact last fall with a pre-production iX3.

The electric BMW iX3 to the test of the highway - The electric BMW iX3 to the test of the highway - Reuters

Our first kilometers are on the road. Unlike its main competitors which are called Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model Y, the BMW iX3 is satisfied with a single synchronous motor with wound rotor. Located at the rear, it develops 286 hp and a torque of 400 Nm. Faced with a mass of 2.185 kg empty, this cavalry is not too much: the times remain comfortable (we measured a 0 to 100 km / h in about 5 seconds), but are not as impressive as those of direct rivals, starting with the Jaguar I-Pace. The price, high (72,950 € minimum), gave hope for superfluous, with a real kick in the buttocks when you press the accelerator.

On the highway, the BMW iX3 relaxes with its silence on board. The soundproofing appears particularly neat on our top-of-the-range Impressive finish, fitted with insulating glazing as standard. Another reason for satisfaction: a rather reasonable consumption for a model of this size. At 130 km / h real (which corresponds to 135 km / h on the odometer), we thus noted a average of 26 kWh / 100 km. It’s much better than the Ford Mustang Mach-E, for example. So that, despite the battery of only 80 kWh (including 74 kWh useful), the autonomy remains respectable. We can count at this rate on 285 km until running out of fuel, however, it is better to count on 260 km not to play with fire. Obviously, on the road, we can expect more with an average of 21.6 kWh / 100, which allows us to hope for a range of 340 km, compared to the 459 km promised on the WLTP cycle.

An impressive peak load, but that does not last long

It is with a remaining 20% ​​battery that we arrived at the Parcé sur Sarthe area, where there is an Ionity station. The load starts strong, with 154 kW observed at the very beginning, which corresponds to 590 km of autonomy recovered per hour, in peak. Very quickly, we fall back to 145 kW. Then the power drops in stages: 124 kW from 29%, 93 kW from 36%, 74 kW at 51%, 57 kW at 76%, then 40 kW at 80%. It took us 32 minutes to reach this threshold, the power drops slowly afterwards: going from 80% to 100% requires about twenty minutes. The charging speed therefore appears to be reasonably fast, but not excessively. If the power peak is impressive, the fall is too fast to create a real difference compared to the Mercedes-Benz EQC, which however tops out at 108 kW according to our measurements.

1616406315 405 The electric BMW iX3 to the test of the highway - The electric BMW iX3 to the test of the highway - Reuters

The range and charging speed of the BMW iX3 are therefore quite satisfactory, but in no way revolutionize the category of electric family SUVs. The Bavarian made in China is able to claim a certain versatility, with characteristics strangely comparable to those of the Mercedes-Benz EQC. But the iX3 is as expensive as the latter (€ 79,300 in impressive finish, comparable to the € 79,800 of the EQC AMG Line), without offering all-wheel drive and the same performance. The arrival of the Tesla Model Y (from 63,000 €) and Volkswagen ID.4 (49,910 € in the Family finish with the 77 kWh battery) is likely to undermine the Bavarian. The comparison with the X3 xDrive30d Luxury powered by a six-cylinder diesel is no more flattering: the latter is more than 10,000 € cheaper and the difference is found in the rents in LLD (1,035 € against 800 €). In short, the BMW iX3 is far from a bad electric SUV, but it does not offer enough for its money.

BMW iX3
  • Correct autonomy
  • Controlled consumption
  • Reasonably fast charge
  • Neat soundproofing
  • Excessive price
  • Any performance
  • Limited customization choice
  • Ionity network still sparse
  • Autonomy / versatility3/5
  • Comfort4/5
  • Road behavior4/5
  • Performance2/5
  • Presentation quality4/5
  • Practical aspects4/5
  • Price / equipment1/5