The first fully electric-powered BMW X model has been revealed. 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 petrol and diesel engines. BMW says this embodies the Group’s “Power of Choice” strategic approach, with the company supporting the broad spread of customer requirements and statutory regulations around the world.
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, which combines what BMW describes as the latest electric motor, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery. These components, developed in-house by BMW Group, will also be fitted in the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 models from 2021.
Highly integrated drive system technology.
BMW says 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 282 bhp 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 is said to create a characteristic BMW driving experience with outstanding traction ensured thanks to the standard-fit ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation).
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 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.
Handling and 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. 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. The alternative Adaptive M suspension is tuned to deliver a sportier damper response.
The BMW iX3 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 BMW’s 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 convenient for company car users.
The new cloud-based BMW Maps navigation system enables route and arrival times to be calculated with greater speed and precision. Services already familiar from the BMW i3 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.
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 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.