2022 BMW iX3 Impressive Review : Electric Blue
Singapore - David Khoo had just put some good hours in the BMW iX3, and had barely warmed the seat, before BMW came back to tell us that they had given the car a midlife refresh. This draws some parallels to ‘Back to the Future II’ when Doc sent Marty off to 1985, and he re-appeared almost immediately.
The iX3 might be the newest edition to BMW’s X3 range here, but when introduced, the model range was already due for a mid-life model refresh. So, here we have it… the LCI-ed BMW iX3. A welcome change, which is more in-line visually with the rest of the X3 range, and more importantly, it has a few good things to offer.
So what is new outside?
We get new front and rear bumpers, the omission of that odd silver fin plastered onto the front fender, and a new set of tail lights. Over here in Singapore, BMW has decided to have just one offering, the ‘Impressive’, where they had also thrown in the M Sport package for good measure. So this means that you get a ten-stage active air flappy-flap up front, blackened trim and sporty 20-inch M-badged alloys.
BMW iX3 - interior
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. This really sums up the interior tweaks.
Over here, you get a new gear shift lever, over a re-designed centre console, to where it now houses the blue ‘Start’ button; visually bringing the iX3 in-line with the rest of BMW’s newer car range.
Atop the dash, the Control Display touchscreen has grown from a more-than adequate 10.25-inches, to a ginormous 12.3-inches, which matches the instrument panel in size. The size increase translates to an easier-to-read screen, and oh yes… an avenue for even longer finger streaks.
BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is arguably the best voice-activated system you can put your money out for, where you can simply tell it your destination, or you can even have your fun with it too; from playing with the air-conditioning, switching up to ‘Sport’ mode, or even to lower any of your windows. BMW has also included their Gesture Control function here, for greater flexibility in operating the infotainment unit.
Overall, the iX3’s interior bits feel well put together, and like its liquid dinosaur-consuming brethren, it also has good interior legroom for both front and rear occupants.
Cargo space is also class-leading, boasting 510 litres on normal days. With the individual rear seatbacks folded, you are looking at up to 1560 litres worth of space to swallow that bicycle habit.
BMW iX3 - the drive
At the heart of the iX3, you get the same fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology which drives both the larger iX SAV and i4 four-door coupe. The single electric motor which powers the rear wheels, generates 286hp and 400Nm. BMW says that consumption is rated at 19.4kWh/100km combined, but we topped their figure with 15.5kWh/100km. The 80kWh battery, according to BMW, will give the iX3 a range of up to 461km.
One of the first things that would need adjusting before your first drive, is the amount of regenerative braking which you would want. The iX3 offers this forward-lurch action in three different levels of intensities; or it can decide this for you, using its front-facing camera and radar. While I am a fan of zero recuperation till I deploy the brakes (simply because I like to glide the vehicle), the ‘Low’ setting is rather pleasant and feels almost natural. Possibly the closest feels you can get here with an engine, is the X3 xDrive20i, since it is rear-wheel drive only.
The iX3 operates with just a hint of simulated driving sound to counter any awkward silence you would have with your partner. There is some road noise from below, and occasionally, the suspension doing its work; that is just about all you get when driving. Squeeze on the throttle in ‘Sport’ drive mode, and brisk forward momentum gets paired with a pronounced Hans Zimmer soundtrack. The motor sends the iX3 to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, and with instant torque available, you can easily stay ahead of the pack, once you’re off the lights.
We particularly loved that the iX3 felt very nimble around the bends, and that familiar bit of forward inertia before a car obliges your initial steering inputs, is no more. This is because there is no longer a 100-ish kilo engine up front. Compared to the class-equivalent Mercedes-Benz EQC, you do not get that unsettling sense that the underfloor battery wants to lift the inner side of the vehicle as you pitch it in a spirited manner from turn to turn. The adaptive suspension feels like it is well-sorted, though those large 20-inch rims and thin tyres would not be your best friend when you hit bumps.
I feel that BMW has gotten many things right with the iX3. The most important to me, is them keeping to their brand promise of bringing us “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, as they cross into the electric age. And now, with the re-worked exterior, and improved kit, it is even better than when it was first launched.
TEXT Clifford Chow
PHOTOS Clifford Chow and BMW Singapore
BMW iX3 Impressive
Battery 80kWh, Li-Ion, 400V
Electric Motor 286hp, 400Nm
Electric Range up to 460km (WLTP)
Top Speed 180km/h (electronically limited)
LxBxH 4734 x 1891 x 1668mm
Kerbweight (DIN) 2185kg