2024 BMW iX3 Review

Toby Hagon

Posted June 27, 2024

The BMW iX3 is an all-electric version of the BMW X3 medium SUV, and combines its luxury features with electric power, at a price that slots in under the luxury car tax.

BMW’s early electric cars were a lesson in innovation, but the BMW iX3 marks a return to the mainstream for the luxury brand making big waves in the EV space.

Utilising the body and basics of the BMW X3 medium SUV, the iX3 replaces all the oily bits with batteries and an electric motor to create an electric car that slots neatly into the BMW family without styling that radically stands out.

Built in China, the only thing that separates the BMW iX3 visually from the regular X3 is a unique grille and wheels and the distinctive “i” badging.

On this page:

The BMW iX3

The BMW iX3 shares the same body and a lot of the same features as the X3 but switches conventional engines for all-electric propulsion. Image: Supplied.


How much does a BMW iX3 cost?

When the BMW iX3 arrived late in 2021 it started at a pricey $114,900 plus on-road costs.

Then the federal government introduced tax incentives that allow salaried employees to package an EV into a novated lease using pre-tax income without paying fringe benefits tax.

It’s an incentive that can save buyers thousands per year, but it’s only available on EVs priced below the luxury car tax threshold, which at the time of writing was $89,332. No surprises then, that BMW got to sharpening the pencil.

It stripped out some equipment to create a BMW iX3 priced from $89,100 for the M Sport model.

Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, three-zone ventilation, smart key entry, panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, electrically adjusted heated front seats and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It also gets the BMW Live Cockpit Plus infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen.

There’s also an M Sport Pro model that picks up 20-inch wheels, black design highlights, surround view camera, a fantastic 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with gesture control, head-up display and some fake motor sounds to ramp up the aural experience. But it’s a big step up, at $104,900.

There’s also a five-year subscription to Chargefox, allowing free charging across the network. The M Sport only gets a one-year subscription.

The BMW iX3 interior has the familiar feel of a conventional BMW
The BMW iX3 has a claimed range of 461km but you're likely to see closer to 400km

BMW iX3 exterior design

On first glance the BMW iX3 looks like a regular X3 mid-sized SUV and that’s a plus for those who don’t want something futuristic looking. But its distinctive grille is the first give-away there’s something different going on beneath the skin.

The closed grille is designed to smooth the air flow at the front of the car, with less of a requirement to feed fresh air beneath the bonnet. The BMW iX3 also get unique wheels and some blue design highlights.

What is a BMW iX3 like inside?

The BMW iX3 is just like any other X3 inside, which for many buyers will be ideal.

That means high quality finishes and materials along with some blue highlights as part of the BMW EV positioning. That sense of normality is comforting for those who want traditional luxury traits rather than an EV that’s futuristic.

While it’s sourced from China - other BMW X3s come from the US and South Africa - there’s no difference in the attention to detail and quality of finishes on the BMW iX3, all of which are top notch.

There are great sports seats up front and that sense of normality elsewhere flows through to the controls. The iDrive multimedia controls are intuitive with physical buttons for selection of main menus. Plus there’s gesture control for adjusting the volume or swiping between songs.

In the rear, it’s the same as any other BMW X3, which includes the hump on the floor that robs the middle seat of some foot space. Those in the outboard positions get a better deal.

There’s a 40/20/40 split-folding back seat to increase boot storage, which sits at 510 litres; that’s 40 litres down on other BMW X3s due to a slightly higher floor but its small underfloor compartment is perfect for storing cables.

The rear seat is more comfortable for passengers on the outer seats

The rear seat in the BMW iX3 is more accommodating for passengers on the outer seats.


Is the BMW iX3 good to drive?

Many luxury electric SUVs have two electric motors but the iX3 gets just one and it drives the rear wheels. The BMW iX3 uses a single electric motor to drive the rear wheels. That’s different to most luxury SUV rivals powered by petrol or diesel, with most driving all four wheels.

All up there’s 210kW and 400Nm to play with - and there are some solid hints of BMW’s traditional DNA. The e-motor is claimed to rev up to 17,000rpm but BMW claims the 210kW power peaks “early and can be sustained over a wide rev band”. That helps the BMW iX3 slink to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, with plenty of the acceleration and flexibility we've come to associate with electric cars.

Press the throttle and there's immediate power delivery with the BMW iX3. It calls for finesse if you do want a quick power hit, just to make things smoother for passengers. Even at country road speeds there’s ample in reserve for a quick overtake, an indication the BMW iX3 lives up to the badge.

Claimed WLTP driving range between charges is 461km and in the real world you can expect less than that; think closer to 400km. A Sport drive mode livens the throttle response and you can also adjust the regenerative braking on the BMW iX3.

However, that regen - which alters the feeling you’re pressing the brake when lifting off the accelerator - is adjusted through the main screen or using the B (for brake) button on the gear selector.

On the road, the BMW iX3 is slick and athletic.

At 275mm wide, the rear tyres are broader than those up front (245mm), which helps in getting the torque to the ground. If you’re too enthusiastic the early torque hit can trigger some stability control electronics to contain things, but it’s nicely calibrated and seamless in the way it steps in.

Having the battery pack low in the car also helps give the BMW iX3 a planted and secure stance. It’s the sort of medium SUV that trundles around town effortlessly but has capability in reserve for longer and regional drives.

There’s also minimal leaning in bends, the BMW iX3 instead retaining its composure nicely. And while the iX3's suspension is taut, it’s well suited to the sporty nature but still delivers on comfort. Ditto the steering, which is well weighted and adjusts depending on the selected drive mode.

When it comes time to charge the iX3 will accept up to 11kW of AC charge. A full charge of the 74kWh battery would take around eight hours. DC charging can be done at up to 150kW, and BMW says it will add up to 100km of range in as little as 10 minutes. A more meaningful 10-80 per cent charge is claimed to take as little as 32 minutes, although that can vary depending on ambient conditions and the temperature of the battery pack.

BMW iX3 on road

The BMW iX3 is suited to town and country driving


What is the BMW iX3 like off-road?

No BMW X3s are designed to go too far off-road and especially not the iX3.

It drives only two wheels and has no spare tyre.

What safety features does a BMW iX3 have? 

The BMW X3 and iX3 previously scored a five-star ANCAP rating to less stringent 2017 protocols but the ratings expired at the beginning of 2024 because they were six years old. That means the X3 and iX3 are now unrated.

Safety features include seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, blind spot monitoring and tyre pressure monitors.

The BMW iX3 has a 74kW battery capable of fast charging at upto 150kW

BMW says the iX3 will add up to 100km of range in as little as 10 minutes.


How does the BMW iX3 compare?

The iX3’s biggest rival is arguably the petrol X3 that sits alongside it in a BMW showroom. While it doesn’t have all-wheel drive, the driving benefits elsewhere and the sharp value argue make it the better fit for many,

However, the more traditional electric rivals include the Audi Q8 e-tron and Lexus RZ, both of which are a lot more expensive. Otherwise the iX3 is competing with more expensive variants of the Tesla Model Y; they’ll give you a lot more performance and tech but with that stark minimalist interior that for many doesn’t live up to luxury expectations.

Should I buy a BMW iX3?

The BMW iX3 is a great car and well worth sticking on your shortlist if you’re after a luxury mid-sized electric car. Often EV adaptations of petrol-powered models can be compromised and underwhelming, but BMW has infused enough of its distinctive driving personality traits and enough luxury into the iX3 to ensure it delivers.

What makes the BMW iX3 better is a sharp price tag that sees it undercutting many key rivals. Its biggest shortcoming is the lack of an all-wheel drive variant.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.