BMW has announced a range of updates to its new iX3 electric SUV – before the first UK buyers even see their cars.
The iX3 was unveiled in July 2020 as BMW’s first electric SUV and a potential rival to the Jaguar i-Pace. It’s based on the conventional fossil-fuelled BMW X3 but employs a rear-mounted electric motor and 74kWh battery pack, giving an official driving range of up to 285 miles between charges.
In September BMW announced UK specifications for the model, which was due to cost from £58,850 and be with its first buyers in the “summer of 2021.”
Now that initial delivery date has been pushed back to December 2021, and at the same time a range of mainly subtle styling changes have been announced. According to BMW these create “a more visually striking appearance” and bring the car into line with its fellow electric models, the iX and i4.
The major change is to the front end which has evolved into a far more complex structure, with an even larger version of the already prominent grille. This is now a single-piece frame and finished in a pearl-effect chrome with blue accents.
Other styling tweaks include slimmer headlamps but a larger lower air intake, and blue-painted L-shaped ‘air curtains’ on the edges of the intake, along with various detail and colour changes along the flanks of the car.
The two specification levels originally announced for UK buyers, ‘Premier Edition’ and ‘Premier Edition Pro’ have also been dropped, BMW deciding instead to apply its widely used perofrmance-pitched styling treatment, M Sport, to its new EV.
Some things remain the same, including most of the specification. Both M Sport and M Sport Pro versions will be available in a choice of four exterior colours, but the trim detailing will be in a high gloss black as standard – previously brushed aluminium was also on offer. The standard-fit wheels have also shrunk, now 19 inches in diameter instead of the 20 originally announced.
Equipment levels do follow the original announcement with M Sport cars including an automatic tailgate, adaptive suspension, heated steering wheel and panoramic sunroof.
There remains a choice of four colours for the standard leather trim, while other standard equipment includes electric and heated front seats, wireless phone charging, and BMW’s latest assistance technology stretching to semi-autonomous driving, parking assistance and a digital cockpit.
iX3 M Sport Pro versions add a head-up display, surround sound audio, gesture control allowing controls to be changed without actually touching them, darkened headlights with an auto high-beam, and a ‘Comfort Access’ package providing extra seat adjustment.
BMW claims that the addition of the M Sport package has “further enhanced the already high specification,” of the iX3 and so it is perhaps no surprise that prices have risen too by almost £1,000 – the entry model now costs from £59,730 and the M Sport Pro £62,730.