BMW Debuts IX3: INext, Please

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
bmw debuts ix3 inext please

BMW revealed the production version of the iX3 crossover this week, adhering as closely to the 2018 concept as possible. More aerodynamic than your standard X3 and adorned with visual cues hinting at its status as a zero-emissions vehicle, Bavaria’s newest electric seems adequate transportation for those with modest expectations.

But this is supposed to be the first vehicle in the brand’s upcoming product offensive, a strategy aimed at helping it transition into the next Tesla or whatever fantasy scenario corporate leadership has deluded themselves into. Forget the i3 — this is what it looks like when BMW gets serious about electrification. That’s the marketing line being used to stir interest, at least. However, it starts to unravel a bit when you look at the vehicle’s capabilities and planned trajectory.

The iX3 will launch in the Chinese market first, with Europe not seeing deliveries until 2021. It uses the company’s flexible vehicle architecture, allowing it to be manufactured alongside hybrid and internal-combustion X3s in Shenyang as part of its joint venture with Brilliance Automotive. That likewise makes the model a swell opportunity to prove BMW’s commitment to the region, allowing it continued access China’s vast consumer market and affordable labor force.

That said, the rear-drive crossover isn’t worth writing home about. The standard four-cylinder or inline-six motors found in the X3 have been supplanted by an electric unit outputting 210 kW/286 hp, with peak torque coming in around 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). BMW estimates a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds with a range of 285 miles (based on the European WLTP test cycle) and an electronically limited top speed of 112 mph.

On paper, this makes the iX3 a worse performer than Hyundai’s all-electric Kona — which starts at $37,000. The BMW is said to retail around €69,000 when it drops in Europe.

Granted, it’s a larger vehicle and comes with a fancier emblem. But it doesn’t break away from other EVs in its own segment and will certainly be outclassed when Ford’s Mach-E goes on sale. The competition isn’t likely to weaken after that.

The iX3’s 80 kWh battery can be recharged swiftly, however. BMW estimated it takes just 34 minutes to regain 80 percent of its maximum charge if a DC fast-charging station can be found to utilize its 150 kW capacity. While not groundbreaking, it will help to make the model more livable as a daily conveyance.

If that doesn’t endear you to the car, you probably won’t have to confront it in person unless you’re a frequent traveler. While BMW wants to export the car globally from China, there are no plans in place to send it to North America at present. Even if that changes, we don’t imagine seeing more than a handful milling around select Californian cities before it’s replaced with something better (iNext perhaps) or just pulled off the market.

[Images: BMW]

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  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jul 15, 2020

    Well it's no Tesla, meaning it will probably be painted correctly, have actual switchgear, and an interior befitting a luxury car. And it doesn't look like a jelly bean. Give me Tesla's drive train in a BMW body/interior, for 50 large. Then you'd have something...

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jul 15, 2020

    I get why BMW priced it this way. They know that there will be no market to sell water pumps every 60k miles and all flavor of gaskets every 90k miles, so they had to price those missed repairs into the MSRP of a vehicle. Good news - from BMWs perspective - is that there will still be a robust market for blower motors, window regulators, door lock actuators, etc, etc.

  • Tassos I knew a woman in the area, a journalist (at least she claimed to be a reporter of some kind) who owned one of these tiny pickups with a manual transmission. SHe was only 40 at the time, but she must have been hard of hearing, because she would routinely forget to shift and we would go at fairly high speeds in very low gear, which made a huge racket, which did not seem to bother her (hence my deafness hypothesis). Either that, or she was a lousy driver. Oh well, another very forgettable, silly car from the 80s (and if my first and LAST VW, a 1975 Dasher wagon, was any indication, a very unreliable one too!)
  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.
  • Tassos I clearly have no sentimental attachment to any cars from the 80s. I myself drove a Dasher (passat) wagon with horrible reliability, and then a Pontiac 2000, very fuel efficient for its time with its 1.8 lt and 5 speed, but a small econobox crudely made, with no luxuries inside. But most other cars of the era were really CRAPPY, unsafe, both in terms of passive AND active safety, had very few options modern cars have, etc etc. The best car I owned then was a 1991 Honda Civic 5-sp hatch, but that was also an 80s design that was on sale from 1987-1991. Not just the domestics were crappy then, but so were m ost of the imports. As you can see, I have ZERO "nostalgia" for any of these, especially not for the unreliable, poorly made JUNK from DATSUN-NISSAN, which is widely reviled overseas as a maker of small pickup trucks that are the favorites of Gypsies selling watermelons from their bed.
  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).