Beijing’s Auto China 2018 show opened this week, and manufacturers are already unveiling their latest entries into the electric-vehicle onslaught. BMW’s big news, aside from the world debut of the M2 Competition, is the Concept iX3, a streamlined, fully electric interpretation of the current-generation X3.
Previous BMW i vehicles were capable performers (anyone who’s tossed an i3S around an autocross can attest to that), but the new car adds considerable range compared to existing electric-only models. It retains about 270 horsepower, but BMW predicts a range of WLTP range (I didn’t know what that meant, either) of more then 249 miles, bringing it on par with, or ahead of, entry-level offerings from Tesla (the Model X, for reference, claims a range of 239 to 289 miles, depending on option load-out). And of course, the new electrified kidney grille is making headlines as well.
The iX3’s range is roughly what we anticipated, although it’s worth mentioning that competitors like Jaguar’s I-PACE electric crossover can go around 300 miles in a charge. That said, BMW has historically been more conservative in electric-vehicle development, focusing on practical, usable features and developing the technology fully before implementation, so we’re anticipating a practical and proven car when the production iX3 reaches market.
I would be remiss if I did not note the marketing imagery for the new concept as well. BMW hasn’t let anyone forget that the iX3 is part of an ultra-modern electrified-product offensive, sharing space in its own release announcement with the BMW i Vision concept that made its debut last year in Frankfurt; for the first time, we’re able to see what the BMW garage of the next few years might look like, with a sleek electric sedan on one side and what’s sure to be a hot-selling electric crossover on the other.
We’re curious what the BMW enthusiast audience thinks about the new iX3. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and keep an eye out for more BMW news out of the Beijing auto show.—David Rose