BMW will launch an electric version of its X3 in 2020 and we got our first taste on Wednesday in the form of a concept at the 2018 Beijing auto show.
The Concept iX3 on show in the Chinese capital hints at some of the subtle styling cues BMW plans for electric versions of its core models, of which there will be many, but more importantly the concept also features some of the specs we can expect for the production iX3.
The Concept iX3 is powered by a single electric motor rated at 270 horsepower. The motor is tightly packaged with the transmission and power control units within a compact modular unit that BMW says can be scaled up and fitted in a number of its core models. In the near future, most BMW models will have the option of internal combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or pure electric when it comes to powertrains.
BMW is known to be working on a fifth-generation battery that will offer more than 400 miles of range, though this won't be ready until early next decade. Instead, the Concept iX3—and likely the production iX3—uses BMW's fourth-gen tech. There's still a reasonable 70 kilowatt-hours of capacity and roughly 250 miles of range. Fast charging at 150 kilowatts using the CCS standard can yield an 80 percent charge in around 30 minutes, BMW says.
BMW Concept iX3Enlarge Photo
Styling cues that signify this as an electric car include a new take on the BMW kidney grille: you'll notice the kidney elements are joined at the center. The grille is also sealed off to reduce air resistance and the wheels also feature an aerodynamic pattern. The designers also added blue accents around the car along with several BMW i badges.
The iX3 is currently doing the rounds in prototype form and should arrive in showrooms in late 2020 as a 2021 model. Potential rivals will be the Jaguar i-Pace and upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model Y.
The iX3 will be one of 12 electric cars the BMW Group will launch by the end of 2025. The first will be an electric Mini Hardtop due in 2019. The iX3 will follow in 2020 and the much-hyped iNext in 2021. Another will be an i4 small sedan due early next decade.
For more from the Beijing auto show, head to our dedicated hub.