BMW iX3 (2021) Review

BMW iX3 (2021) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The BMW iX3's brilliance is its simplicity. It takes a gimmick-free approach, providing a decent range and enough space for all the family. The interior really is superb, with fine materials and BMW's excellent latest media system.

+Fun to drive. Just as practical as a regular BMW X3. 279-mile range and 150kW charging.

-Harsh ride quality. Not cheap (but neither are rivals).

The majority of buyers spending upwards of £60,000 on an electric SUV are looking to make a statement. Take the Jaguar I-Pace, for example, with its incredible concept car styling, or the Tesla Model X with its Falcon Wing doors. Then there's the Audi e-tron with its digital door mirrors and the Mercedes-Benz EQC with its bespoke body styling (despite being based on the GLC).

Not only is BMW late to the party, it's played it straight with a dull 'casual shirt and chinos' approach. The iX3 is based on the standard X3 SUV and looks exactly the same, save for some natty alloy wheels or blue exterior trim.

We don't think that's a bad thing, though. The BMW X3 is a perfectly handsome car (particularly compared to some of the brand's more recent models) and not everyone wants to shout about their eco credentials.

It's an even bigger challenge to spot the difference inside. There's a blue engine start button and a few other bits of blue trim here and there, but generally it looks just like the standard X3. That means you get a practical cabin with lots of soft-touch materials and the brand's excellent navigation system.

You lose a tiny bit of boot space compared to the standard car, but only in the underfloor boot area that most of us don't bother using anyway. The iX3's clever layout actually means it's got a bigger boot than the plug-in hybrid X3.

It's certainly practical enough to use as your main family car – while a 279-mile range will be more than enough for covering the school run or popping to see the grandparents. If you want to travel further afield, the iX3 has that covered, too. A 150kW rapid charger can add 62 miles of range in just 10 minutes, while the battery can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent in a little over half an hour.

Like most electric cars, it's both easy and fun to drive. More fun than a lot of competitors, in fact. There's just one electric motor, producing 286PS and 400Nm of torque. That means it's pretty nippy, with instant responses the second you touch the accelerator (no waiting for the gearbox to drop down a gear or for the revs to build).

The electric motor is positioned on the rear axle, which means – like many good BMWs – the iX3 is rear-wheel drive. It'd be interesting to see how the iX3 copes in snowy conditions compared to its four-wheel-drive competitors, but it means it's very agile and fun to drive on a twisty road. It's not got the most compliant ride, but it is a heavy SUV that's loaded with batteries.

It's also loaded with kit, although it's a little surprising that you need to opt for the top-spec Premier Edition Pro for features like adjustable lumbar support and adaptive LED headlights. We reckon the majority of buyers will go for this top-spec model, though – the £3000 premium representing good value for money, even if it doesn't look as flashy as alternatives.

What does a BMW iX3 (2021) cost?