The BMW iX3 Premier Edition is good because it’s normal.
- Quiet and refined to drive
- Plenty of space inside
- Familiar design
- No front storage space
- Less powerful than some rivals
- No spare wheel
BMW iX3 Premier Edition Introduction
The BMW i sub-brand has been in existence since 2011 and during that time it has ushered in the transition to electrification. However, most of the electrified models that BMW has introduced thus far have been plug-in hybrids, other than the revolutionary i3 city car. The BMW iX3 is interesting because not only is it fully electric, but visually it doesn’t diverge a great deal from the regular X3 which comes in petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions. It also packs in a big battery and efficient motor technology to make it one of the more efficient premium electric SUVs available.
Design and Specs
One of the big draws for buyers to the BMW iX3 Premier Edition is that it doesn’t stand out from the crowd that much. A quick glance makes it appear identical to the popular BMW X3; only when you take a closer look do you begin to spot the subtle differences. The company’s signature kidney grilles are blanked off and finished in a gloss black coating. A metallic garnish aft of the front wheels contains the ‘i’ denoting that this is part of BMW’s electric range. The 20-inch wheels are also aerodynamically optimised to help cut through the air more cleanly.
This model has two specification grades: Premier Edition and Premier Edition Pro. Both offered a much higher level of standard equipment compared to a regular X3 with features that include adaptive suspension, auto-folding door mirrors, front sport seats and lots of in-car tech. The infotainment aspect includes a DAB radio, BMW’s Connected Package Pro, built-in WiFi hotspot and the Live Cockpit Professional which is a fully digital instrument display.
Other cosmetic elements include the high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim with matching roof rails. Velour floor mats, anthracite headlining and a high quality feel from the rest of the cabin materials galvanise the premium credentials of the iX3.
Battery and Range
For its size, BMW has slung quite a large 80kWh battery (74kWh usable) into the floor of the iX3 and that is enough for a single-charge driving range of up to 458 kilometres in WLTP conditions.
Rapid charging is another strong point with the iX3 thanks to a peak DC rate of 150kW. That means it is possible to add 100 kilometres of driving range in as little as ten minutes and up to 80 per cent in 34 minutes – great when you only want to make a brief stop along a motorway journey. BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive charging unit can send power to both the 400-volt battery and 12-volt on-board power supply by either single-or three-phase AC charging at up to 11kW.
There is little in the way of compromise with the BMW iX3 Premier Edition when it comes to interior space and the practical aspects. Even though there’s a sizeable battery sandwiched into the floor, the BMW’s interior remains spacious. The driver can enjoy plenty of adjustment for both the seat and the steering wheel, and those sitting in the rear aren’t robbed of room either. At 510 litres, the boot gets a slight reduction when compared to the standard X3 though the difference is negligible. The only thing that the iX3 doesn’t have is an additional storage compartment under the bonnet due to the electrical hardware.
To describe the BMW iX3 Premier Edition as polished is something of an understatement. A great deal of effort has gone into ensuring that this is an electric SUV that remains enjoyable to drive. That is partly thanks to the fitment of adaptive suspension as standard and with the bulk of the weight set low in the car the centre of gravity is 70mm lower than a regular X3. What all that translates into is a car that feels very surefooted and has little body roll from side to side during quicker changes of direction.
Lumps and bumps on the road are soaked up impressively well considering that this car is running on 20-inch wheels. Equally impressive is the sound suppression inside the cabin. Yes, being electric does help to keep the decibel level to a more pleasing threshold and BMW doubles down on interior ambience with ambient lighting and some specially curated sounds to augment the electric powertrain created by celebrated movie composer Hans Zimmer. The latter is, of course, a novelty, but it adds another thin layer of distinction for the iX3.
Another area where the BMW makes a positive impression is in how it uses its energy. Tipping the scales at 2,185kg means it isn’t what you’d call light yet it does manage to remain reasonably efficient on the move. Energy consumption on this version with the larger wheels is 19.5kWh/100km and that’s quite an attainable figure in real-world conditions.
BMW has also moved away from using rare-earth minerals and permanent magnets in the electric motor which results in less friction thus benefiting its ability to sail. Drivers can choose between three stages of energy recuperation or leave it in an automatic ‘Adaptive’ mode. The latter is the best as it can detect its surroundings and adjust accordingly. For example, it will know through the sat nav data that it’s approaching a roundabout and therefore will have to slow down anyway so it begins to harvest energy to slow rather than the friction brakes. The resulting one-pedal driving is a joy to use and with the electric motor being capable of slowing the iX3 for 90 per cent of the time you should have a smaller bill when it comes to maintenance costs.
When you aren’t as concerned about prolonging your driving range the iX3 will gallop to 100km/h from rest in 6.8 seconds, which, when you consider its size and weight, isn’t too shabby. At almost any speed the BMW will surge forward as soon as the accelerator pedal is jabbed, making swift overtakes that bit easier.
BMW iX3 Premier Edition Summary
There’s plenty to like about the BMW iX3, not only for this Premier Edition specification. The installation of an electric powertrain that delivers on both performance and efficiency grounds in what was already one of the best models that BMW produces marks this out as one of the better battery-powered premium SUVs that is currently on the market. The fact that it looks largely identical to other X3 models is sure to add to its appeal.