BMW has avoided the temptation to over-endow the iX3 with twin motors for blistering acceleration at the cost of weight and range so it is brisk rather than exciting, achieving 0-62mph in a decent 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 112.5mph. WE’re not exactly sure why the extra half mile-per-hour is necessary but that’s what BMW quotes so we’ll report it accurately. Much like grunty V8s and big turbodiesels, electric power is well suited to SUVs, the torque allowing them to feel brisk on most everyday roads and traffic conditions. However, with just a single motor powering the rear wheels in the iX3 the result is not extreme acceleration like its more expensive rivals from Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar but smooth, capable and relaxing progress.
Don’t expect any low grip shenanigans from the rear end however as the tyres are wide and grippy enough to quell the 400Nm (295lb ft) of torque available. The advantage of lacking a motor on the front axle is better weighted and more fluid steering than is common with all-wheel-drive SUVs and the iX3 in general does a better job of disguising its mass than the competition. Less weight also means a better range and the iX3 manages a commendable claimed 280-mile range from a relatively small 74kWh battery.
BMW has also managed to avoid the inconsistent brake pedal weight and retardation that often accompanies EV regen systems, so stopping power is consistent and confidence inspiring. Speaking of regen, the iX3 has an AI-controlled automatic setting which uses cameras and mapping to recognise approaching roundabouts, junctions and so on, automatically altering the severity of the system to theoretically allow one pedal driving in 90 per cent of circumstances. We didn’t spend long enough with the car to really test out the system but we did find the standard regen to be quite harsh in its application although this can be dialled down in the menu system.