2018 BMW X3
2018 BMW iX3. Photo: Supplied
2018 BMW X3
2018 BMW iX3. Photo: Supplied
2018 BMW X3
2018 BMW X3
Greg Kable | Apr, 26 2018 | 0 Comments

BMW says lessons from its seven-year-old i sub-brand and technology originally developed for its upcoming iNext model have allowed it to provide the new Concept iX3 with “a new dimension in performance, operating range, weight and packaging”.

The new pure electric SUV, unveiled at the 2018 Beijing motor show, closely previews a new third-generation X3-based model being developed as a rival to the likes of the Telsa Model X, Audi e-tron quattro, Mercedes-Benz EQ C.

The production version of the iX3 is planned to be the third pure electric model from the BMW Group, following on from the recently facelifted i3 and an upcoming production version of last year’s Mini E concept due out in 2019.

It is planned to go on sale in Australia in 2020, preceding the launch of a production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics sedan revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show featuring a similar powertrain that BMW chairman, Harald Kruger, says is due out in 2021.

The styling of the Concept iX3 leans heavily on the standard X3. Among the unique design elements serving to differentiate it from existing petrol and diesel versions of the third-generation SUV is a newly styled grille, re-profiled bumpers, aerodynamically optimized wheels shod with low rolling resistance tyres, subtle additions to the sills and a new rear diffuser element.    

At the heart of the Concept iX3 is a newly developed electric powertrain. Mirroring the unit set to be adopted by the production version of the new SUV due out next year, it combines the German car maker’s fifth-generation electric motor with fourth-generation battery cells supplied by Samsung.

BMW says the new electric motor develops over 200kW, while the battery is claimed to possess an overall capacity of over 70kWh. Together, they are claimed to provide the new SUV with an overall range of more than 400km on the latest WLTP cycle.

As with the upcoming Audi e-tron quattro, the new BMW iX3 features a control unit that allows its battery to charge at so-called fast-charging stations generating up to 150kW. This, says the German car maker, allows it to be fully charged in just 30 minutes.

Further details made official by BMW at the launch of the iX3 reveal its powertrain is distinguished by a more compact design than that used by the existing i3 with the electric motor, transmission and power electrics grouped together in a single component.

In a breakthrough that it suggests will allow it to significantly reduce production costs over the unit in use today, BMW also says its new electric motor can be produced without any rare earths.

The components for the new fifth-generation powertrain are supplied by production facilities in Germany, China and the United States.

At the unveiling of its new concept at the Beijing motor show, BMW confirmed it would establish Chinese production for the iX3 at a joint venture factory run in co-operation with Brilliance Automotive and located in Shenyang, China. The iX3 for Australia is expected to be produced at BMW’s Spartanburg factory in the USA.

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