Of course, it had to be an SUV. Everything is an SUV these days. BMW doesn’t comment on the rise of the SUV – or ‘SAV’, in this case – merely stating the introduction of the all-new iX3 is “well timed, with the enduring appeal of SAV models”. Save your groans for later.
Principally because this is quite an important car. It’s the first fully electric BMW SUV; a giant leap forward from the company’s game-changing i3 city car and i8 hybrid sports car. And – for an SUV – it’s plenty fast, too. BMW quotes 0-62mph in 6.8secs, and a top speed of 112mph, the former number on par with a petrol X3 30i. Also, it’s rear-drive.
Underneath the X3’s bonnet lies BMW’s fifth-generation ‘eDrive technology’. This comprises the latest motor, battery, electronics and charging tech the company has to offer; indeed, they’ll be fitted to the production iNext and i4 from 2021 onwards.
We’re told the motor, transmission and electronics are arranged in a single housing, and the motor itself does without the use of magnets (Something Something current-excited synchronous motor). It basically means no rare-earth materials are needed in its construction.
That motor is 30 per cent more power dense than any existing BMW Group motor, 93 per cent more efficient, and is able to generate 282bhp and 295lb ft of torque “which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs”.
There’s an 74kWh battery attached to it – again, more energy dense than anything BMW has previously done – consisting of 188 prismatic cells. We’re all about the prismatic cells here. The charging unit – feeding energy into both the 400V battery and 12V on-board supply – is similarly quick, if you’re at the right station. Stick it in a 150kW rapid-charger, and you can get from 0-80 per cent charge in 34 minutes. You can even buy your own Wallbox charger.