In-depth reviews

BMW iX3 SUV - Engines, drive & performance

In its pursuit of handling, BMW has made the iX3 rather stiff for a family SUV

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Range
  • Refinement
  • Practicality

Cons

  • Firm ride
  • Faster rivals
  • Unadventurous design

Unlike its rivals, the iX3 gets a single electric motor powering the rear wheels. This means it isn't as quick as the dual-motor Jaguar I-Pace in a straight line, but it still feels fast and gets a sporty setup in typical BMW fashion.

In fact, it would have been better if BMW had made the suspension softer because in its pursuit of agile, fun handling, ride comfort has been compromised. Even in the softest Comfort mode, the iX3 fidgets and seems to find bumps in the road that look inconsequential from behind the wheel. This is more of an issue around town, because the suspension works better at higher speeds, like when on the motorway.

The firm chassis setup and the low-slung battery does at least mean the iX3 corners with little body lean and plenty of grip, while the steering is fast to respond, if lacking in feel. Even in poor weather, we found the iX3 had no trouble getting its 282bhp to the tarmac, including from a standing start. Sport mode makes the steering heavier but also renders the suspension too bouncy, so we quickly turned it off.

BMW iX3 electric motor

The iX3 is powered by a single 282bhp electric motor at the rear axle, giving it a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.8 seconds. This should be plenty quick enough for most SUV (and EV) buyers, but it's some way off rivals. The Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC all feature front and rear motors, providing more power and four-wheel drive. 

The iX3 accelerates very quietly, with just a distant whine from its electric motor. If you prefer, you can also choose a louder sound thanks to 'balanced' and 'sporty' settings. The iX3 glides away from a standstill smoothly, with instant pulling power doing a good job of disguising its 2,185kg weight.

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