Like most car makers, BMW is ramping up its electric car plans – and this will be one of the first new vehicles it will add to its line-up.
It’s an early preview of the iX3 – the company’s first zero-emissions SUV that’s due to be on sale in 2020 to take on rivals such as Tesla and Jaguar’s new I-Pace
The concept car, which is expected to be closely mirrored by the one that goes into production in two year’s time, was unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show, with the German brand confirming it would be built in China at its Shenyang factory that’s 430 miles east of the capital.
BMW’s electric future: This is the preview of the new iX3 that’s due to go on sale in 2020
If the iX3 is to be a direct replacement for the petrol and diesel-powered X3, prices in 2020 will need to start from around £40,000, although it is likely to be priced at a premium.
The I-Pace’s list price is £63,495
With BMW already selling the i3 supermini and i8 supercar – both of which have been relative successes for the German manufacturer – it, like many automotive groups, will be accelerating its electric vehicle programme in the coming years.
With nations now considering bans on diesel cars in their cities and the UK proposing that only new electrified vehicles (hybrid and pure electric) are sold from 2040, BMW hopes the iX3 will be an early stepping stone for those wanting to switch to a zero-emissions family car.
And it’s not the only electrified offroader you should expect to see from the German giants – it has already trademarked every name from iX1 to iX9, suggesting a range of plug-in SUVs are in the pipeline.
Powering the iX3 is a fifth-generation eDrive powertrain, which BMW claims features more powerful and lighter batteries that will extend the range while sapping less juice with extra weight.
Under the newest fuel efficiency test cycles introduced last year, BMW says it covered 249 miles – that’s slightly short of the ‘up to 298 mile’ distance the Jaguar I-Pace can cover between charges.
The Concept iX3 was unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show this week, with BMW confirming the production car will be built in China
When it launches in two years’ time it will go head-to-head with the new Jaguar I-Pace (left). A bigger rival is the Tesla Model X (right)
Under the newest fuel efficiency test cycles introduced last year, BMW says it covered 249 miles between charges
When the iX3 arrives in production form, it will support 150kW fast charging, which means it will be able to charge up to 80 per cent of the batteries in less than half an hour – given you’re charging it from an ample power source.
It says the battery capacity is over 70kWh and the electric motor produces 266bhp – which is slightly more than the most potent 3.0-litre xDrive 30d diesel X3 currently on sale.
However, if this is to be a fully-fledged off-roader with all-wheel drive, it is likely to need two motors – one for each axle – which could see total power increase to an impressive 432bhp, eclipsing the 395bhp of its Jaguar rival.
BMW already has a range of electric cars, including the i8 coupe (left) and i8 Roadster (right)
The other model currently in BMW’s ‘i’ range is the i3 supermini (right). The front-end of the new iX3 shares many of the same styling cues
The German brand confirmed the production iX3 would be built at the Shenyang factory that’s 430 miles east of Beijing
As far as looks go, it’s very in-keeping with what we’ve seen so far from electrified BMWs and doesn’t move too far away from the silhouette of the conventional X3.
The trademark kidney grille is filled, this time with a honeycombed material and is flanked by LED lights and air intakes in the bumper to channel air down the side of the vehicle.
The blue accents to signify the electric heartbeat are retained in a similar fashion to that of the i3 and i8, with the charging port positioned behind the left side front wheel arch.
When the iX3 arrives in production form, it will support 150kW fast charging, which means it will be able to charge up to 80% in less than half an hour. The charging port is just behind the left-side wheel arch
BMW has already trademarked every name from iX1 to iX9, suggesting a range of plug-in SUVs are in the pipeline
While it might use a zero-emissions powertrain, it is very similar to the conventional X3 (right). If it is to be a direct replacement it will need to cost from around £40,000
However, the remainder of the design is still very much in the ilk of the popular family SUV.
What’s the interior like? That’s still under wraps for now.
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING