BMW has added another full-electric car to their mix of existing EVs. It’s called the iX3 and yes, it is basically an electric version of the current X3. While the X3 is built in three BMW plants around the world; USA, Germany and South Africa, the iX3 is currently only manufactured in China. We get a single version, which is the rear-wheel-drive model, simply designated iX3.

With the X3 and iX3 looking very similar to the average Jane and Joe, it is perhaps useful to point out some visual differences. Up front the iX3 has a blocked off, double kidney grille with a solid centre. It carries the letter “i” on the right. The side view is mainly given away by the 20-inch semi solid alloy wheels in aluminium and ET black colours. On the driver’s side is the fuel door, which in this case only admits electric chargers.

At the rear there is only iX3 to the left, while the rear LED lights are darkened. Because the car has no petrol or diesel engine, it emits no exhaust smoke. Therefore there are not exhaust tailpipes to speak of. Generally speaking then, the iX3 looks just like any other X3.

This continues on the inside where normalcy prevails. Apart from some blue touches – such as the Start/ Stop button, parts of the gear lever and blue stitching on the seats, one could very be sitting inside an X3 20d. That also means features are what you might expect from the sister car, such as a 31.2cm touch screen for the iDrive infotainment system. BMW has kept the rotary knob at the centre console, surrounded by access buttons. Features include Apple Carplay, Android Auto, satellite navigation, radio, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as BMW Connected Services such as Concierge and Live Traffic Maps.

Powering the iX3 is an 80kWh battery system and an electric motor that drives the rear axle only, meaning this is not a 4×4 at all. Maximum power is 210kW, while peak torque is said to be 400Nm. These figures reminded me of the old-generation 540i (E39) with a 4.4-litre V8 engine. BMW says the iX3 can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 180km/h. Not bad for a family SUV.

What is most important though, is the range. How far can one drive the car before needing to charge? The company says it has a 460km range, which is about the same as the Jaguar I-PACE. Game on then? Looks that way. I drove the iX3 around the Gauteng area, using mixed road conditions, and found it to be, well, a normal X3. There was never a time when I felt range anxiety, which is what people who drive EVs with short ranges feel. I reckon the average buyer can drive this car daily for at least three days at a time before needing to recharge.

With the price of petrol and diesel being what it is at the moment, more and more people are asking about EVs. Pricing is still a factor in the segment, but the iX3 is priced reasonably well against the X3 20d. However, the latter will give you about double the range.

BMW iX3 Price

R1 290 000

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