Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
If you’re expecting the BMW iX3 to deliver Tesla-esque performance, you’ll be mildly disappointed. It’s plenty quick enough (0-62mph takes 6.8sec), but acceleration is strong rather than especially thrilling.
However, if you switch to Sport mode in the range-topping M Sport Pro, you do get an eerie electronic soundtrack dreamt up by German film score composer Hans Zimmer. Put your foot down and the noise gets louder and the pitch rises as your speed increases, just like it would if there was a petrol engine under the bonnet.
You can adjust the stiffness of the suspension, tightening things up for country road driving or softening them off for long motorway jaunts, so, while it’s certainly firmer than the wafty E-Tron and I-Pace, it deals with bumps in a perfectly agreeable manner, both around town and on faster roads. In fact, anyone who suffers from car sickness may prefer the iX3’s well-tied-down feel to its floatier rivals.
You get a bit more tyre and suspension noise with the iX3 than you do with its main rivals, but anyone coming from a petrol or diesel X3 will be pleasantly surprised. Not only is the electric motor quiet (unless Herr Zimmer’s work has been activated), you won’t feel the vibration of an engine, either.
Of course, the iX3 needs to do the electric car bits well too, and it certainly impresses with how far it can travel between charges; its official range of 285 miles beats both the E-tron (up to 249 miles) and EQC (252 miles). Granted, you’ll have to drive extremely gently and wait for warm weather in order to match any of those official numbers, but we’d expect 220 miles to be easily achievable in fair conditions.
Even on an exceptionally cold winter’s day, we calculated that the BMW would cover 192 miles on a charge with the cabin temperature set to a toasty 21deg C, compared to 211 miles for the I-Pace. That’s based on each car’s indicated energy consumption and the usable size of its battery pack.