BMW Concept iX3 All-Electric SUV Revealed in Beijing
First Full-Electric Vehicle From Core Brand to Be Based on Popular X3
BMW will expand its full-electric powertrain technology into its core lineup, as evidenced by the Concept iX3 SUV seen today at Auto China 2018 in Beijing. Interestingly, the Concept iX3 will be the first electric-only vehicle from BMW’s core brand (as opposed to its i sub-brand), and it will take the form of a small luxury crossover rather than a space-pod compact hatch.
Working in the Concept iX3’s immediate favor is its inoffensive, attractive styling, which represents an about-face from BMW’s polarizing i3 and i8 electric cars. Clearly based on the production-spec 2018 BMW X3 SUV, the iX3 gets a closed, two-element version of BMW’s classic kidney grille—squint and you’ll see influences from the futuristic i Vision Dynamics concept. The iX3 also gets aerodynamic enhancements, such as reshaped front and rear bumpers, a rear diffuser, unique side skirts, and lightweight alloy wheels with a wind-cheating design. The Concept iX3 also gets signature BMW i Blue accents throughout.
Underneath the skin, the Concept iX3 gets BMW eDrive technology, now in its fifth iteration. eDrive groups the electric motor, transmission, and powertrain electronics into a single unit, allowing BMW engineers to integrate the flexible component into different vehicle architectures. The power unit is also modular, which facilitates adding performance as appropriate (a larger or M-Sport–branded machine, for example).
Thanks to eDrive and a 70-kWh battery, the Concept iX3 has a theoretical driving range of nearly 250 miles, and BMW claims it can be recharged from a fast-charging station in as little as 30 minutes. With 200 kW (or 270 hp) on board, the Concept iX3 should slot in just above the X3 xDrive30i, performance-wise.
BMW maintains that it will continue building dedicated electric vehicles through its i sub-brand, but machines like the iX3 will allow the company to introduce even its more mainstream customers to the virtues and advantages of all-electric motoring. When the iX3 makes the transition from concept to production—possibly sometime next year—it will likely be built by BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, China, using parts supplied from other BMW production facilities (including our own Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant). Pricing is still an unknown, but we expect it’d demand less than a base Tesla Model X, which starts at $78,300 before destination charges or tax incentives.