BMW has revealed an updated version of the iX3 battery-electric sport utility, after less than a year on the market. The reason for such a quick update is that the iX3 debuted well into the product cycle of the underlying X3 model, which was due for a mid-cycle refresh anyway, so the iX3 will get a fresher look in the process. The updated version will receive an official debut at the Munich IAA in a matter of weeks.
What’s new for the iX3?
The most noticeable changes are on the outside, with a larger kidney grille and revised lights front and back. BMW has also updated the sculpting of the front apron with this update, which has also added the M Sport styling details as a standard item offering 19-inch wheels, a sport steering wheel and unique front and rear fascias. The automaker did not neglect the interior, adding the latest 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, along with a redesigned center console housing the BMW Controller and the gear selector lever.
As the iX3 debuted only a short time ago, the drivetrain will carry on without changes, offering 281 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a single motor positioned at the rear axle, drawing juice from an 80-kWh cycle. That’s right: this isn’t an all-wheel drive model at all, but the lukewarm performance combined with a 0 to 62 mph launch time of 6.8 seconds is enough for a 286-mile range in the WLTP standard.
And these stats perhaps answer why this model isn’t offered stateside at all: the EPA range could seem on the mild side given the price, and the lack of all-wheel drive capability could limit its sales potential as well. The price, however, would still be analogous to a very well-equipped BMW sport utility, as this electric model starts at a sobering 67,300 euros with the ever-popular VAT, which translates to about $78,950 before any incentives.
Just how much longer such a model will remain competitive in Europe and China is an open question, so perhaps it’s best to think of it as a transitional, bench-warmer model before a fresh crop of battery-electric models arrive in all SUV segments.
BMW will begin production of this updated iX3 in Shenyang, China, starting next month, having set up a joint venture with automaker Brilliance Automotive. The updated iX3 will be produced there for the Chinese domestic market and for exports to Europe, BMW notes.
If the iX3 still seems familiar to you even though this model is not bound for North America, you’re probably thinking of the very different yet similarly named iX. That particular battery-electric SUV is indeed on its way here next year, alongside the i4 Gran Coupe, with a lot more range and power yet very similar pricing to the iX3, landing just north of $80,000. The iX was designed solely as a battery-electric model, and will feature very distinct exterior styling, along with a more generous footprint. The SUV will arrive stateside in early 2022.
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