By on April 27, 2020

BMW’s i4 Concept may be the EV the brand currently has to promote, but it’s the iX3 that’s poised to become the brand’s all-electric cash cow. It’s entering a market space most other manufacturers agreed showed enough promise to launch other reasonably sized, plug-in crossovers (e.g. Tesla Model Y, Mercedes EQC, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi E-Tron). These are the vehicles seen as helping EVs pitch into the mainstream, offering both the planet’s preferred body style and adequate range for most commuters.

Up until now, we’ve seen most of what the industry has to offer in the premium electric crossover segment. Even the iX3 has been thrice teased by the manufacturer since announcing its existence at Auto China in 2018. But those were typically issued to us as conceptual renderings between spy shots of a vehicle that looked very much like the standard BMW X3. Recently leaked online, the production-ready iX3 hasn’t altered that opinion. In fact, it’s probably destined to end up being the most normal-looking EV on sale for a while. 

Two official press photos were apparently posted to a dummy Instagram account before being scooped up by car-spy website CocheSpias.

“@scott26.unofficial has shared the first photos of the BMW iX3 on his account,” the outlet wrote on Monday (translated from spanish), “What do you think? You like?”

Visually, it’s extremely similar to the gas-powered X3 — with a few embellishments to help indicate that it’s not that model. As with other BMW EVs, the crossover has blue accent lighting running along its flanks. There are likewise some blue-hued trim bits on the bumper (where exhaust ports would be) and grille. The front clip is also different, closing up some ducting (presumably to improve aerodynamics) and removing space for things like fog lamps. The only other items signaling that this isn’t a standard X3 is the large silver cap near the driver-side door and a unique wheel design that’s highly reminiscent of other BMW i vehicles.

Those items also help us compare the car in question with spy shots of BMW test vehicles, giving us high confidence that these images are either legitimate or top-tier forgeries.

BMW has previously said the iX3 would use a 74-kilowatt-hour battery with a single electric motor driving the rear wheels. Presently, that unit is estimated to make 286 horsepower and 296 pound-feet of torque. Under Europe’s WLTP testing cycle, that’s supposed to be good for a maximum range of 273 miles. EPA figures will likely tamp that number down, though BMW has said it doesn’t intend on entering the model in the North America market right now.

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