It is not our first encounter with the X3 ‘LCI’, as the facelifts are called at BMW. Finally, the X3 M Competition has already made a guest appearance in our editorial office. This extremist puts out a whopping 510 horsepower with its biturbo inline-six engine! For this test, we are at the other end of the spectrum. While the X3 M produces a deafening noise from its four exhausts in sport mode, the iX3 quietly roars away. Inside the electric SUV, the “IconicSounds Electric” sound package, for which BMW enlisted the services of renowned film composer Hans Zimmer, continues to deliver a sonic experience. This is especially useful because the iX3 drives imperceptibly faster than you feel it, but more on that later.
First the facelift. A new-series iX3 is best recognized by the modified front and rear lights. The headlights have been streamlined and reinterpreted with LED daytime running lights, and will resemble those of other BMW models in the future. Even more noticeable are the taillights, which have darker glass. Here the display is located in a separate LED strip that runs through the center of the light units. Another element BMW has changed on the iX3 is the grille, which is now slightly more angular and larger than before. One special feature of the iX3 is that the radiator grille is largely sealed off. This is also logical, because the electric motor is located in the rear.
If you go to the configurator, you’ll immediately notice that the iX3 can now only be ordered in conjunction with the M package and at least 19-inch alloy wheels. Our test car is a High Executive (6.000 €) and therefore stands on 20-inch alloy wheels. These wheels are also new and exclusive to the iX3. Our test car also stands out for its carbon black color (no extra charge) and the M Shadow Line package (€695).
If you’re used to current BMWs, you won’t have to adjust when you step into the redesigned iX3. The interior design was not revised as much as in the revised 3 series. The climate controls are now in a different control panel, and the iX3 has a new and larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, but that’s about it. On the touchscreen, iDrive 7 runs.5, which can also be controlled via the familiar rotary knob in the center console. In practice, we mainly use the touchscreen when the car is stationary and reach for the control knob while driving. In any case, it’s nice that both options are still available, something BMW has sadly said goodbye to with the new X1 and the 2 Series Active Tourer.
iDrive 7.5 is a tried-and-tested concept and works even a little more intuitively in practice than the new iDrive 8. With the new screen, which has a razor-sharp resolution, iDrive 7 feels more intuitive.5, by the way, does not look outdated at all. You can read and write with the system right away, and it works very well that you still have separate buttons for climate control, seat and steering wheel heating, and audio control. A rather traditional structure, but a familiar and good one.
Otherwise, the interior of the iX3 is spacious and practical to use. Both the front and rear seats are comfortable for a car of this size, although the middle passenger in the back seat is not exactly to be envied. The reason for this is the large transmission tunnel that is located there. In the case of the iX3, it’s even superfluous, since the electric motor sits in the rear and thus no drive shaft is needed. It’s a shame you can’t take advantage of this potential extra space in this case. Pleasing is the relatively large trunk with 510 liters of volume and an additional storage space under the loading floor for the charging cable.
And the iX3 feels familiar in yet another respect: the powertrain. This is the same 286 hp and 400 Nm rear-wheel drive as in the previous iX3. Thus sprints the 2.SUV weighing 160 kilograms to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and stops accelerating at 180 km/h. Thanks to the battery, which has a net capacity of 74 kWh, you can get 453 to 461 kilometers on one charge, according to 453. You can charge at a rate of 11 kW at a charging station, and up to 150 kW at a fast charger, charging the battery from 20 percent to 80 percent in half an hour.
In practice, at temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius, about 350 to 380 kilometers remain of this promised range. A nice choice, but the number – like the iX3’s performance – is not groundbreaking. From our point of view, it is a missed opportunity that BMW does not offer the iX3 with all-wheel drive. You can indeed get that from the competition, and a car like the iX3 in particular is perfect for it. In the Netherlands, you can get by just fine with rear-wheel drive, but a little more choice in drives would have been nice.
By the way, driving the iX3 in daily use is excellent. You do get the feeling that you’re driving a relatively heavy car, but thanks to the lower center of gravity compared to a normal X3, it still goes around corners pretty quickly. The adaptive M suspension keeps the weight of the car in check, even if the damping is sometimes a bit too hard on short bumps.
Prices and equipment BMW iX3 Facelift
Uh-oh, here we go again with the options list,” you may think after reading the prices earlier in this article. Fortunately, this is not so bad in practice. The BMW iX3 facelift is available from 71.488 Euro and for this money the equipment list is already quite complete. In addition to the M package, the standard equipment of the iX3 includes M sport seats with heated seats, digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen, three-zone automatic climate control, power liftgate, heat pump, Driving Assistant Professional (semi-autonomous driving), adaptive chassis and ambient interior lighting.
In other words: The iX3 is already very complete in the standard version. In addition, the High Executive offers a Harman Kardon audio system, Comfort Access, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof/tilting roof, wireless smartphone charging, leather upholstery, a black headliner and parking assist, among other features. So you hardly need to tick anything at all. In addition, our test car only has a heated steering wheel rim (288 euros), the interior trim “Rhombicle dark” (160 euros), the M Adaptive chassis (523 euros), the Shadow Line Pack (695 euros) and a hitch with electrically retractable ball (1.175 Euro). In other words, even with all the options, you’ll stay well below 80.000 euros and have for this money a very well equipped car.
Conclusion BMW iX3 facelift
With the facelift of the iX3, BMW ensures that the electric SUV can continue to drive for a few more years until the new X3 comes on the market. But is it still relevant in the face of increasing competition? In terms of the overall package, it certainly is, as the iX3 is an incredibly pleasant car to drive, perfect for everyday driving. The specs just aren’t that impressive anymore, especially when you put it next to the smaller but still 313-hp BMW iX1. For this reason alone, it’s high time BMW launched a completely new generation of the (i)X3, although they certainly aren’t wrong with the current model.