The first fully electric-powered BMW X model has broken cover. The BMW iX3 (WLTP combined test cycle: 0.0 l/100 km; electric power consumption combined: 19.5 – 18.5 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km) combines emissions-free travel, dynamic handling and performance with the comfort, functionality and spaciousness that customers would expect of a BMW Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). The iX3 sees the BMW Group pressing ahead with its electrified model offensive set out in its NUMBER ONE > NEXT corporate strategy. The technological expertise amassed in the development of BMW i models is now coming to the fore in a fully-electric model from the core BMW brand.
The BMW X3 will be the brand’s first model to be available with a pure-electric drive system, a plug-in hybrid system or highly efficient petrol and diesel engines. This embodies the BMW Group “Power of Choice” strategic approach, with the company supporting the broad spread of customer requirements and statutory regulations around the world.
The new BMW iX3 is the result of many years of development work in the electric mobility field. The advances achieved since the market launch of the BMW i3 in 2013 now culminate in the company’s fifth-generation eDrive technology which comprises of a highly efficient electric motor, optimised energy density high-voltage battery and a high charging capacity. Thanks to the BMW Group’s longstanding investment in electric mobility, the use of disproportionately large batteries, which have a negative effect on vehicle weight, driving dynamics and electric power consumption, has been avoided in the development of this vehicle.
UK Launch in 2021.
The new BMW iX3 will launch with an exclusive Premier edition for the UK market in summer next year. Pricing and standard specification details will be revealed in autumn 2020, with pre-ordering opening at the same time.
The iX3 will be launched in some worldwide markets later this year. It will be the brand’s first model to be built for export at the Shenyang plant in China, which is operated by the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive.
Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology.
The premiere of the new iX3 marks the introduction of BMW Group’s fifth generation eDrive technology. Combining the latest electric motor, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery, the fifth-generation system demonstrates clear progress in its performance characteristics, electric power consumption and range. These components, developed in-house by BMW Group, will also be fitted in the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 models from 2021.
The new BMW iX3 has been designed for the current requirements of the electric vehicle market and with future advances in mind. BMW eDrive technology provides an outstanding basis for economically sustainable applications in volume production models.
The introduction of iX3 is well timed, with the enduring appeal of SAV models and rising worldwide demand for all-electric premium cars.
Highly integrated drive system technology.
The highly integrated drive system technology at the heart of the new BMW iX3 plays a particularly important role in optimising efficiency and power development. The electric motor, transmission and power electronics are now arranged together in a single housing. The electric motor in the new BMW iX3 works according to the principle of a current-excited synchronous motor, without the use of magnets. This design eliminates the use of rare earth materials of the motor.
The power density of the electric motor in the iX3 is 30 per cent greater than that of existing fully-electric vehicles within the BMW Group portfolio. The motor is up to 93 per cent efficient, compared with under 40 per cent for combustion engines. The new drive system unit generates maximum output of 286 hp and peak torque of 295 lb-ft which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs. The new BMW iX3 sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, putting it in the same territory as the conventionally powered BMW X3 xDrive30i. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph. Sending power to the rear wheels creates a characteristic BMW driving experience with outstanding traction ensured thanks to the standard-fit ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation).
Cutting-edge battery-cell technology plays a headline role in the latest development stage of high-voltage batteries. The storage capacity of the battery has been substantially increased, relative to the installation space required and its weight. The gravimetric energy density of the 188 prismatic cells in the new BMW iX3 is around 20 per cent higher than that of the battery cells used by the BMW Group in its fully-electric vehicles up to now. A gross energy content of 80 kWh – of which 74 kWh is utilised – and the high efficiency of the drive systems allow the new BMW iX3 to offer a range of up to 285 miles (WLTP test cycle).
Another technical highlight making its debut in iX3 thanks to BMW Group’s fifth-generation eDrive technology is the innovative new charging unit, which sends power to both the 400V battery and the 12V on-board power supply. When charging using alternating current, it enables both single-phase and three-phase charging at up to 11 kW. Plugging the vehicle into a direct current rapid-charging station opens the door to charging outputs of up to 150 kW, meaning the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in 34 minutes. Drivers can inject the power required to add 62 miles to the car’s driving range (in the WLTP cycle) in just 10 minutes.
Optimised efficiency enhances capability over long distances.
The outstanding efficiency of its electric motor and its high charging capacity give the new BMW iX3 exceptional long-distance capability. On a trip, a BMW iX3 would need to make fewer charging stops than a comparable electric vehicle whose efficiency is compromised by the presence of larger and heavier high-voltage batteries. And the iX3 stops would be shorter.
Adaptive recuperation enhances efficiency and driving comfort during a journey. The intensity of the Brake Energy Regeneration is adapted to the road situation using data from the navigation system and the driver assistance system sensors. For example, when approaching a junction or a vehicle on the road ahead, recuperation is fully utilised. On the open road, the coasting function is activated whenever the driver takes their foot off the accelerator. As an alternative to adaptive recuperation, in driving position D the driver can choose a high, medium or low Brake Energy Regeneration setting. Engaging driving position B provides the signature one-pedal feeling of BMW Group’s electric vehicles thanks to particularly strong recuperation.
An enhanced heat pump included as standard on the BMW iX3 underscores the efficiency-oriented approach taken to the vehicle’s development.
Sporty handling and supreme traction.
The latest-generation high-voltage battery has a particularly slim construction. Positioned low down in the underbody, it has been integrated into the SAV’s flexible vehicle architecture. This lowers the car’s centre of gravity by around 7.5 centimetres compared with its conventionally powered BMW X3 siblings, noticeably enhancing lateral dynamics. Among the bespoke elements of the iX3’s chassis construction is a rear axle subframe, which provides the required space for the drive system unit. The standard adaptive suspension includes electronically controlled dampers, with characteristics that adapt to the road surface at any given time. This enables carefully judged optimisation of the car’s ride comfort and dynamics. The alternative Adaptive M suspension is tuned to deliver an even sportier damper response.
The instant power development of the electric motor and chassis-specific tuning infuse the new BMW iX3 with sporty, agile driving attributes. The innovative ARB traction system, introduced in the BMW i3, and a high level of directional stability ensure good traction in adverse weather conditions and on loose ground for a Sports Activity Vehicle with a single-driven axle.
Trailblazing: Digital services and outstanding environmental credentials.
BMW assumed a leading role in driving forward electric mobility when it unveiled innovative solutions for charging at home or on the move alongside the introduction of BMW i3 in 2013. This trend continues with the BMW iX3, which includes a newly developed Flexible Fast Charger cable which can be hooked up to both standard domestic and industrial sockets using optional adapters.
Recharging at home is further enhanced with a personal Wallbox. Available through our partner, Smart solutions are also possible to monitor energy usage and cost, as well as keeping a historic record of home-charging energy expenditure, making it very convenient for company car users.
The new cloud-based BMW Maps navigation system enables route and arrival times to be calculated with even greater speed and precision. Services already familiar from the BMW i3, such as navigation with range display on the map and detailed information on public charging stations – covering everything from address, availability and connector type through to charging rate and Chargepoint Operator – are now joined by additional functionality that can be accessed from the car. This capability includes navigation planning with recommendations for charging stops, information on points of interest near public charging stations and the ability to filter search results by fast-charging points.
The exceptionally efficient drive system, extensive use of secondary raw materials in the manufacture of aluminium castings and thermoplastics, absence of rare earths and across-the-board use of green electricity in production, including the cells for the high-voltage battery, are all contributory factors in the impressive CO2 assessment for the new BMW iX3. During the customer use phase, the iX3 outperforms the diesel-powered BMW X3 xDrive 20d by more than 30 per cent when drawing on average European electricity sources or roughly 60 per cent when powered by green electricity.
Proportions and versatility of an SAV, innovative aerodynamic wheels.
The exterior design of the new BMW iX3 displays the typical proportions of a Sports Activity Vehicle, which means it provides a visual showcase for the robust premium character and all-round talents espoused by BMW X models. Model-specific design features optimise the car’s aerodynamic properties at the same time as lending visual expression to its sustainability-focused drive concept. The front apron and BMW kidney grille have a largely enclosed design, while the rear end has also been sculpted with a view to reducing air resistance.
Innovative, aerodynamically designed light-alloy wheels help to control the flow of air around the vehicle. The aerodynamic wheels making their debut on the new BMW iX3 reduce its drag coefficient by around 5 per cent over an equivalent vehicle with conventional light-alloy wheels. This is achieved with the help of sophisticated inserts in the V-spoke base wheel whose surfaces keep the air flowing smoothly. The resulting improvement in efficiency adds around 6 miles to the range of the new BMW iX3 (WLTP test cycle).
This combines with aerodynamic enhancements to the underbody’s rear diffuser and chassis strut area, as well as with the air flap control system, to give the all-electric SAV a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.29.
Premium ambience and BMW IconicSounds Electric in the interior.
Understated blue accents for both the exterior and interior of the new BMW iX3 allude to the presence of its electric drive system. The clearly structured controls, high-quality materials and stylish surfaces combine to create the premium interior ambience associated with BMW SAV models. The versatility of the iX3 is confirmed by spaciousness on a par with that of conventionally powered BMW X3 variants. Thanks to the 40 : 20 : 40 split/folding rear seat backrest, boot capacity can be increased from 510 to a maximum of 1,560 litres.
The debut of BMW IconicSounds Electric in the BMW iX3 provides acoustic feedback to enrich the electric driving experience by lending it added emotional depth. Load changes are signalled by a smoothly modulated sound, and recuperation during overrun and braking is accompanied by a gently filtered acoustic response, meaning that every driving state is accompanied by a matching sound pattern. A newly introduced short sound composition, which is the result of a collaboration between Hans Zimmer and BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, can be heard when the Start/Stop button is pressed. The drive sound is an original work by BMW’s sound designers and acoustic engineers. Drive soundtracks from the collaboration with Hans Zimmer will be available in electrified BMW models at a later date.
BMW Operating System 7 and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The BMW iX3 is equipped with the latest generation BMW Operating System 7, which allows for every line of software code in the car to be updated over the air in the future.
The standard-fit BMW Live Cockpit Professional offers a fully-digital screen grouping comprising a high-resolution 12.3 inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch Central Control Display.
The enhanced intuitive multimodal interaction allows the driver to take their pick of control interface for the situation at hand: Control Display touchscreen, iDrive Controller, multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, voice control or BMW gesture control.
The latest version of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant takes the connection between driver and car to a new level in the new BMW iX3. Activated by a spoken prompt (for example “Hey BMW”) or at the touch of a button, this digital companion acquires new capabilities all the time. The system helps the driver, learns their preferences and is familiar with their favoured settings – e.g. for the seat heating or the places they drive to frequently using the navigation system (“Take me home”).
Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
BMW Live Cockpit Professional comes with optimised smartphone integration; in addition to Apple CarPlay, the new iX3 is also compatible with Android Auto. The latter enables customers to access digital services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music, and the WhatsApp messaging service.
Full UK specification and pricing will be announced in autumn 2020.