BMW iX3: Melding practicality, electromobility and thrilling dynamics

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Now in its third-generation, the BMW X3 has come to represent what a modern day BMW is. Luxurious, well-built, practical and engaging to drive. Now built in South Africa, the mid-size SUV has a number of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, all with varying degrees of performance and economy.

But soon, an electric derivative will join the range, completing the offering and providing customers with plenty of choice.

Dubbed the iX3, it shares the same basic styling and body shell as the conventionally powered SUV, but with a few styling changes. Unique BMW i accents are placed all across the body work, the blue detailing found on the lower parts of the rear bumper, the door sills and the front bumper. The iconic Kidney grille (not needed on an electric vehicle) has been redesigned, with a mesh-like structure which features detailing. This is specific to BMW i models only. 20-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels finish everything off nicely.

Inside, it’s a similar story. The iX3 uses the same cabin architecture as the SUV on which it is based, but has myriad bespoke touches. The starter button, now in signature BMW i blue, lets driver’s know this isn’t a regular X3. Similarly, the classy ambient lighting preset to the i Blue, creates an elegant, modern environment for passengers. Aside from these tasteful features, the iX3 also boasts a unique set of gauges in the instrument cluster.

The main concern South Africans have surrounding electric vehicles is load shedding. With the BMW iX3, you never have to worry. The manufacturer’s charging network provides access to more than 50 charging points across the country. According to BMW SA, you can charge your iX3 up to 80% in just 34 minutes. If you only have a few minutes to spare, 100 km is available in 10 minutes. BMW claims an electric range of up to 460 km.

Performance wise, the iX3 can hit 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds; faster than the 18d, 20i and 20d derivatives of the conventional X3. This is courtesy of 210 kW and 400 Nm of torque, plenty of power - delivered silently. The iX3 is every bit a BMW.

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